Federally Subsidized Apartment Complex Hit With Third Lawsuit In Two Months

Jerry Urban. Galveston Daily News. January 25, 2003. p.B7

Another lawsuit has been filed against a federally subsidized apartment complex in Galveston alleging that it wrongfully denied a person a place to live.

The lawsuit, prepared by Lone Star Legal Aid and filed in County Court-at-Law No.3, is the third lawsuit in the last 60 days to be filed against Sandpiper Cove Apartments in the 3900 block of Winnie.

The latest lawsuit was filed earlier this week on behalf of Sonjia Simmons. Stephen C. McIntyre, the Lone Star Legal Aid attorney representing the woman, said Sandpiper management denied shelter to the homeless woman and her three children without providing an explanation and written denial as required by federal law.

Lone Star Legal Aid filed similar lawsuits against Sandpiper Cove on Jan. 13 and Nov. 25.

Karen Hicks, manager of Sandpiper Cove, said she was not manager of the complex when the plaintiffs in the lawsuits were denied residency.

Today, Hicks said, she strictly is following federal guidelines.

However, McIntyre said the owners and operators of the complex could correct their prior actions against the plaintiffs in all three lawsuits and they have made no attempt to do so.

“This is the third lawsuit filed in the last 60 days concerning the illegal way poor applicants for shelter are being denied a home,” said McIntyre. “If there are anymore illegal denials someone may consider a class action lawsuit or a complaint with HUD.”’

McIntyre said it’s his understanding that the unmarried woman in the most recent case was denied residency because of questions about the identity of the children’s father.