CINCINNATI (CN) - Racism is state policy in Ohio, whose county recorders repeatedly publish restrictive covenants barring black - and sometimes Mongolian - people from buying property in specified developments, two people claim in Federal Court.
John and Jane Doe, black residents of Hamilton County, sued all 88 county recorders in the state, represented by Cincinnati attorney Zachary Gottesman.
The complaint cites racist, unconstitutional covenants and declarations from 22 counties, most of them dated from the spring and summer of 2012.
Allen County, for instance, whose seat is Lima, on July 10, 2012, published a notice about a certified plat for the Grimm Subdivision in Shawnee Township. It said: "The premises herein conveyed shall not be sold, conveyed, or assigned to anyone of African or Mongolian descent," according to the complaint.
Greene County, whose seat in Xenia, in May 2012 published a plat for the Air City Estates in Beavercreek Township, "which includes a restriction at paragraph 7 that states 'That in consideration of the price at which the property is sold the purchaser agrees not to sell, transfer, lease or rent said property to any person of negro descent or any other than an American citizen of the Caucasian race.'"
Butler County, between Cincinnati and Dayton, published a subdivision plat in April 2012, stating, "Only members of the Caucasian Race to own or occupy land," the complaint states.
Hamilton County (Cincinnati) published a plat for Casa Loma Park, stating that "Said premises shall be used for residential purposes only and shall not be rented, sold, leased or transferred to any person of other than the Caucasian race."
And so it goes, for the 22 counties whose racist plats are cited in the complaint.
The plaintiffs say in the complaint that they filed anonymously "due to the nature of this case and the public attention it may attract."
They seek an injunction ordering Ohio's county recorders to sequester the documents and "to the extent necessary publish those documents only with the offending language redacted or obliterated," compensatory and punitive damages for constitutional violations, and court costs.
Co-counsel with Gottesman and Associates is Robert Thumann, with Crehan and Thumann.
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