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Ohio woman loses appeal on "White Only" pool sign

Kim Palmer Reuters 01/13/2012 18:50
Ohio woman loses appeal on "White Only" pool sign - law - USA - racism - Ohio

A Cincinnati landlord found to have violated state anti-discrimination laws after she hung a "white only" sign outside her swimming pool lost an appeal with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission on Thursday.

The ruling clears the way for the case to be referred to the state attorney general's office for possible state civil charges and the possibility of being forced to pay compensatory and punitive damages.

The commission ruled the sign, which read "Public Swimming Pool, White Only," violated state housing discrimination laws, and dismissed landlord Jamie Hein's claim that it was simply a decorative antique.

The commission's ruling followed a complaint by Michael Gunn, a former tenant who brought his 10-year-old biracial daughter to a Memorial Day weekend pool party on Hein's property attended by about 20 other guests.

Gunn said Hein later questioned him about the "chemicals" his daughter used in her hair and blamed the girl, the only non-Caucasian at the party, for making the pool water "cloudy."

Gunn told the commission that about a week later he saw the "white only" sign on the gate leading to the pool. He said he and his fiancé decided to move away immediately so "as not to expose my daughter to the sign and humiliation."