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Here Are Mpls Homes U.S. Bank Is Accused of Neglecting Due to Racial Discrimination [PHOTOS]

This foreclosed home, at 726 Queen Ave. N., is one of many in neighborhoods of color that U.S. Bank is accused of illegally neglecting.

This foreclosed home, at 726 Queen Ave. N., is one of many in neighborhoods of color that U.S. Bank is accused of illegally neglecting.

The National Fair Housing Alliance has revealed the specifics of the racial discrimination claim it's making against U.S. Bank in Minneapolis.

NFHA officials came to town this summer to take a look at 28 foreclosed homes. They concluded that foreclosures in neighborhoods predominately populated by "communities of color" were 3.9 times more likely to have trash or debris on public display compared to foreclosures in white neighborhoods. Furthermore, they found that 78 percent of foreclosures in communities of color had overgrown or dead grass, and that such foreclosures were comparatively 2.8 times more likely to be covered by invasive plants.

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Shanna Smith, president of the NFHA, directed us to photos of specific Minneapolis foreclosures in neighborhoods of color that her organization alleges U.S. Bank has done an illegally inadequate job of maintaining. (All photos come from an NFHA slideshow you can view in its entirety on page three of this post.)

Here's one located at 2435 Ilion Ave. N.:


Here's another look at the same home:


And here's another example at 3331 Newton Ave. N.:


Compare that with the neighboring home:


And here's one last example at 726 Queen Ave. N.:


Again, compare with the neighbor:


On the other hand, here's how a couple U.S. Bank foreclosures in predominately white neighborhoods looked:



We told you yesterday about how U.S. Bank officials argue the NFHA conflates the distinction between trusteeship and ownership. Click to page two to read about why the NFHA thinks that argument is bogus.

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From the NFHA's slideshow:


Smith also cited a lawsuit in California where a court ruled trustees have a responsibility to maintain foreclosed homes, before going on to characterize U.S. Bank's alleged neglect of neighborhoods of color in Minneapolis and elsewhere as "a civil rights problem."

"Instead of addressing it they choose to simply say, 'We're not liable, we're not responsible,'" she continues. "We didn't look at very low income neighborhoods. We looked at working and middle class neighborhoods and stayed away from low income or high income neighborhoods altogether, so it takes away the economic argument."

Even if U.S. Bank doesn't directly own the foreclosed homes in question, Smith argues they have an obligation as trustee to take care of basic maintenance.

"It's not this hands-off situation that U.S. Bank would like you to think it is," she says. "The issue is that the trust is paying for these properties to have mowed lawns, removed trash, to make it presentable for sale.... It's the simple issue, if you have a crew out mowing the lawn they should be out mowing it for all homes, not just homes in the white areas."

We asked Smith if she thinks U.S. Bank officials are racist.

"It's hard to say, [but] somebody doesn't care what happens to communities of color," she replies. "I don't know who that is or why they're doing it, but [since the complaint with HUD was first filed in 2012] they've failed to do anything for two and a half years."

Finally, with respect to U.S. Bank's claim that NFHA is trying to extort money from it by generating inflammatory headlines, Smith says, "They know my door is open, I am more than happy anytime to sit down with them and work out a resolution, but it's something they've chosen not to do."

"We don't contact people before we file complaints because the few times I did that in the 1990s, they would say, 'You're trying to extort money from us,'" she continues. "I went, 'No, I'm just trying to let you know you have this problem.'"

To see the NFHA's entire slideshow for yourself, click to page three.

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NFHA Slideshow



Send your story tips to the author, Aaron Rupar. Follow him on Twitter @atrupar.