- Associated Press - Friday, October 17, 2014

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A company that manages several low-income apartment buildings in Kansas City is accusing city officials of trying to force black residents to move out of their apartments.

Eagle Point Cos. filed a federal fair housing complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban development against Kansas City government, Councilman Jim Glover, the Planned Industrial Expansion Authority and Peter Cassel of MAC Property Management, The Kansas City Star reported (https://bit.ly/1FaBFfq ).

The company alleges the defendants tried to force black residents out of apartments in a central Kansas City neighborhood known as Hyde Park. City officials contend the apartments were a source of crime in Hyde Park.

Glover denied the accusations, and City Attorney Bill Geary said the city would have no comment. Messages seeking comment with Cassel and the industry authority were left Friday.

Eagle Point’s complaint stems from a clash between officials with the company and city over a blight study. Planned Industrial Expansion Authority commissioned the study on behalf of Kansas City.

The study found that some Eagle Point properties in the neighborhood were not physically blighted but were a “social liability.” The analysis could have paved the way for the city to end Eagle Point’s management of the properties, which were a part of a federal low-income program, through eminent domain, or the right of a government to take private property for public use.

Eagle Point officials defended their management and challenged the study over its methodology, fairness and crime conclusions. The city didn’t pursue condemnation, and city officials said the study prompted productive talks on possible solutions with Eagle Point.

But Eagle Point says discussions have stalled on a memorandum of understanding with the City Council. They say they filed the complaint to protect their residents from any attempt to get them to move.

HUD typically investigates and determines if there’s reasonable cause behind fair housing complaints before referring the case to an administrative law judge for a ruling or to a federal court.

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Information from: The Kansas City Star, https://www.kcstar.com

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