Black real estate investors in the Houston area file lawsuit after ​they say they were denied​ property units

By Justin Gamble and Brandon Tensley, CNN

Three black real estate investors have filed a discrimination lawsuit in a Houston-area federal court, alleging that a real estate agent denied them an option to purchase three condos in a newly built community in August.

They say they were denied units because of their race.

In the lawsuit, James Ra-Amari, his wife Misty Ra-Amari and Misty’s sister Rosemary Afful say that realtor Josie Lin “showed no will to interact with them” “immediately” when the trio expressed interest in buying three condos in Grand West Condos in Katy, Texas just west of Houston.

According to the lawsuit, Lin told the Ra-Amaris that due to the “owner occupancy” nature of the condominiums, they could not obtain a mortgage loan from Fannie Mae on the unit.

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In the court documents, the plaintiffs say they never expressed a desire to fund Fannie Mae.

“I’ve been in real estate for over 15 years and I’ve never experienced anything like this,” Misty Ra-Amari told CNN.

Lin and Grand West Condos declined CNN’s requests for comment.

The lawsuit

The Ra-Amaris and Afful filed a federal discrimination lawsuit against Lin on Friday; Lin’s company, UMRE; Grand West Condominiums; Grand West Residential Condominium Association, Inc.; United Property Management; and RE/MAX and EXP Reality, two real estate agents.

In the lawsuit, plaintiffs allege that an information pack from Grand West Condos marketed the complex as a “new option for Chinese and Asian communities.”

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According to the lawsuit, Lin told the plaintiffs that “all of the current owners were personal friends and knew each other.”

Plaintiffs say they have $2 million in economic damage and additional, special and punitive damages for extreme mental anguish and emotional distress.

Included in the court documents obtained by CNN is an undated flyer advertising an open house at the condominium and naming Lin as a United RE/MAX representative.

RE/MAX told CNN in a statement that Lin was in no way affiliated with the company as of December 2021 and that she “was in no way affiliated with the RE/MAX brand at the time of this alleged incident.”

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CNN has reached out to United Property Management and EXP Realty for comment. They are among the accused because the plaintiffs allege that Lin was acting as their agent when the incident occurred.

The Ra-Amaris say their interest in buying units in Grand West Condos has not waned.

“We’re still interested in buying from this community because there’s growth there,” James Ra-Amari told CNN. “I will not allow anyone to stop my wife and I from achieving the goals that we have set for ourselves.”

The CNN Wire
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