Lakewood pays $507,500 to settle Hidden Village racial discrimination lawsuit
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Lakewood City Hall.jpg
Lakewood city officials have agreed to pay more than $500,000 to settle a lawsuit filed against the city claiming racial harassment.
LAKEWOOD, Ohio – The city will pay $507,500 to settle a lawsuit with the owners of Hidden Village Apartments, who claimed racial harassment against black tenants.
The suit, filed in federal court in 2008, was the city’s longest pending civil lawsuit. City Council Monday night agreed after a closed-door session with attorneys to pay the owners of the apartment complex on Clifton Boulevard.
The city has always disputed the allegations and admits no wrongdoing as part of the settlement, Mayor Michael Summers said. The suit was filed before Summers became mayor.
"We believe the resolution of a very old, very time-consuming and potentially costly case was in the best interests of our citizens," Summers said.
The settlement comes only a few weeks before an Oct. 27 jury trial was to begin in U.S. District Court in Youngstown. The city unsuccessfully sought to have the case dismissed prior to trial.
The owners of Hidden Village Apartments claimed in legal documents that Lakewood waged a racially motivated harassment campaign at some of its black tenants. The dispute rose from incidents in 2006 and 2007.
In 2006, the Youth Re-Entry Program, run by Lutheran Metropolitan Ministries, began housing clients at Hidden Village. The program helps young people released from foster care or juvenile detention…