Lawsuit accuses Richmond of targeting Latinos in mobile homes

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A discrimination lawsuit has been filed against the city of Richmond in Federal Court by dozens of mobile home residents.

At the Rudd’s Mobile Home Park off of Jefferson Davis Highway in Richmond, no trespassing and condemned notices hang on a number of now vacant mobile homes. The Legal Aid Justice Center says beginning early last year the city of Richmond started unfairly targeting mobile home parks with large Latino populations through aggressive inspections and unreasonable code violations, causing a number of families to be displaced.

“There has been so much suffering. I still worry that the city will condemn homes and that many of the neighbors will be left homeless,” said plaintiff Santa Olivia Leon-Vitervo.

“I feel bad because I feel the city wants to drive us out,” said plaintiff Gerardo Martinez-Fonseca.

Some of the 33 plaintiffs in the case spoke out Tuesday after the lawsuit was filed against the city. The Legal Aide Justice Center says non profits have been trying to work with the city to keep residents in their homes but accuse the city of doing its best to get rid of the mobile home parks.

“At a minimum the city doesn’t care what happens to these Latino residents,” said attorney Phil Storey, representing some of the plaintiffs in this case.

“Everybody got along, it’s ridiculous, it’s a crooked city,” said Danny Newman who’s not involved in the lawsuit but lives at the Rudd’s Mobile Home Park.

Newman says he’s lived here for more than 20 years and can’t afford to go anywhere else, worried he’ll be kicked out too.

“I’m on disability. I don’t know what in the hell I’ll do. I’ll probably be on the street just like most the rest of them,” said Newman.

“We are asking the city for a great favor, just to let us live in peace and not humiliate us,” said plaintiff Ojilivia Morena-Solano.

In the coming weeks many more people in the trailer park could be kicked out of their homes, but lawyers for the plaintiffs say they’re doing everything they can to avoid that. We reached out to the city for comment. A spokesperson says the city has a policy of not commenting on pending litigation.

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