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Judge orders landlord to stop discriminating against tenants

LEXINGTON, Neb. (AP) _ A judge has ordered a central Nebraska landlord to stop discriminating against black tenants of his apartment complex.

Dawson County District Court records say Judge Donald Rowlands said in a state lawsuit ruling filed Tuesday that Gerald Rich had discriminated against the tenants based on race, national origin and religion, violating the Nebraska Fair Housing Act. The people were black, had come from African nations and were Muslim.

The judge noted that Rich had frequently used racial slurs and derogatory language in conversations with his tenants at the Cottonwood Apartments in Lexington.

A jury earlier had exonerated Rowlands’ apartment manager of discrimination and retaliation allegations. But the jury deadlocked on whether Rich had discriminated. The state amended its complaint, and Rowlands ruled on the bias issues raised.

The judge declined to award any damages because Rich was deprived of a jury trial on the amended complaint.

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