To the editors:
I read with great interest Robert McClory's article "Segregation City" [August 30], which outlined the efforts to bring an end to housing discrimination in the Chicago metropolitan community. I wish to bring to your attention a statement in that article regarding the National Association of Realtors which needs correction.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) has not contributed any funds in support of the appeal of the court decision in the Matchmaker Real Estate Sales Center case. The NAR is, however, writing an amicus curiae brief opposing the imposition of punitive damages against Erwin Ernst, the owner of Matchmaker. Ernst was found by the court to have taken several affirmative steps promoting fair housing within Matchmaker. The court also determined that Ernst did not have knowledge of the actions of his agents. While Ernst may appropriately be held liable for actual damages caused by the actions of his agents, assessing a punitive damage award against Ernst is, in NAR's opinion, unjustified.
The National Association of Realtors firmly supports the Fair Housing Act and its enforcement. Members of the NAR are committed by its Code of Ethics to provide equal professional service without discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, familial status, handicap, or national origin. McClory's article correctly pointed out that housing discrimination continues in the Chicago metropolitan community. The National Association of Realtors encourages its members and local Boards of Realtors to participate in eliminating discrimination from the housing market.
Staff Vice President
Office of Equal Opportunity
National Association of Realtors