KATY, Texas — A couple says they wanted to buy condos in Katy but were turned away because they were Black.
Misty and James Ra-Amari have filed a federal lawsuit, saying their civil rights were violated.
“We’re hoping in this situation everyone will learn, discrimination is just not acceptable," said James Ra-Amari.
He and his wife live in Katy and are also in the real estate business. They wanted to invest in three condos at Grand West. The new development in Katy sits on prime real estate at I-10 and 99.
“We went inside, she was reluctant to show us, she asked irrelevant questions," he said. “She told us quote, ‘My gut feeling tells me not to sell to you because we wouldn’t get along with you.'"
In a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court, the Ra-Amari’s are suing the agent Josie Lin, Re/Max and EXP Realty. The lawsuit claims the marketing materials for the condos are a violation of the Fair Housing Act.
It’s advertised as “...a new option for a safe and simple Asian life" and says, “Katy Asian town is within walking distance."
“It was utterly mind-blowing when I saw this," said Justin Moore, the couple's attorney.
“It shows a lack of organizational oversight by Re/Max and EXP to have one of their own associates strongly put this in one of their marketing documents," said Moore.
KHOU 11 reached out to Re/Max and EXP. Re/Max told us in a 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."
“My wife and I have been brokers for 17 years, but we have been Black all our life and I have never in my life experienced discrimination of this magnitude," said James.
The couple says they want the agent to be stripped of her license and is worried if she’s allowed to continue, it will happen again.
“This is 2022, we should not be dealing with this," said Misty Ra-Amari.
KHOU 11 reached out to Josie Lin. Her office told us she has no comment because of the ongoing litigation.