KATY, Texas (KTRK) -- A couple filed a federal lawsuit against a condominium complex, alleging a violation of the Fair Housing Act after they said the complex did not sell to them because they are Black.
The three-story building is in what's known as Katy's Asia Town and was a place the Ra-Amari family thought was a great investment, but they said they were essentially told that their money was no good there.
The Grand West Condominiums are one to two bedrooms condos marketed to investors and homeowners. That was perfect for James and Misty Ra-Amari, who wanted to buy two to lease and one for a family member to call home. And despite an uncomfortable tour of the property, they said they did their homework and were ready to buy.
"This was a great investment opportunity for us, and I wanted to get the deal done," Misty Ra-Amari said. "I don't have to deal with you after I purchase, so it was no big deal for me."
But she and her husband James said the realtor, who they said also represented herself as the owner, suggested they could not qualify for the right type of financing.
When they told her they would pay cash for all three units, she told them she would not sell to them because she did not believe they could get along.
"I felt very dark," James Ra-Amari told ABC13. "I felt very upset. As you can feel my vibration now, I am still upset about this. She made it very clear."
The Ra-Amari's are convinced she refused to sell because they are not Asian and they felt they had to speak out. And that they had to do something.
"I was really flabbergasted because in this day and age, I know this is not happening, let alone to me," Misty Ra-Amari said.
They began recording the conversation with their phone and are now suing in federal court alleging a violation of the Fair Housing Act. Their attorney is Justin Moore.
"The fact that this agent found the gumption to post a marketing asset that directly promoted a specific race only buying into this community and that in conjunction with the Ra-Amari's interaction that they caught on camera, that led me to believe that there was pure racism," Moore told ABC13 from his office in Dallas, "and that the reason they were not allowed to buy into this condo community is because they were Black."
They are also suing the homeowner's association and the umbrella real estate agencies under which they say the realtor Josie Lin was working. ABC13 reached out to all of the defendants. The homeowner's association provided no comment.
RE/MAX Realty sent ABC13 the following statement:
"We can confirm that Josie Lin left RE/MAX as of December 2021, and had no affiliation with the RE/MAX brand in any way at the time of this alleged occurrence. Any use by Ms. Lin of any RE/MAX-branded materials after her departure from RE/MAX is impermissible and unauthorized. RE/MAX is committed to supporting homeownership dreams for everyone equally, regardless of race, creed, color, religion, nationality, disability, gender, sexual orientation, or family status."
The Ra-Amari's are asking the court for $2 million, and said they still want to buy in the Grand West Condominiums when the case is over.