- Associated Press - Thursday, October 1, 2015

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - The president of an Alabama-based development company said Thursday that the firm is committed to addressing issues outlined in a federal housing discrimination suit.

Gateway Construction Corp. President Amy Montgomery said the company was cooperating with a Department of Justice investigation of properties throughout the Southeast when it was named in a lawsuit alleging violations of the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“To our knowledge nobody has complained about our housing - none of our residents, no applicants or anything like that,” Montgomery said.

The lawsuit alleges that Gateway and its affiliates used federal tax credit incentives to build complexes that posed significant barriers to the disabled, including improperly sloped pathways, bathrooms that presented maneuverability barriers and inaccessible parking.

The lawsuit lists 36 properties in Alabama, 25 in Georgia, nine in North Carolina and one in Tennessee.

Many of the issues mentioned in the lawsuit are minor and the company never intended to discriminate against anyone, Montgomery said.

“The kind of findings they have are, for example, a sidewalk, rather than having a maximum 5 percent slope, has a 6 percent slope or a 7 percent slope,” she said, later noting that federal ADA housing guidelines are very precise and the company wasn’t given a warning before the suit was filed.

“It’s been our desire to fix those things and cooperate fully with them. We’re proud of our work,” Montgomery said.

The DOJ is asking the company and its affiliates to bring the buildings into compliance and pay civil penalties.

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