Belden landlord to pay couple for discrimination

Stanley Hoskins and his wife, Erica

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A federal agency says a Mississippi landlord will have to pay a settlement to an interracial couple after he evicted them from an RV park because of their skin color. The Department of Housing and Urban Development reached the settlement Tuesday but did not disclose the amount, The Clarion Ledger reported. In April, the agency charged Gene Baker of Belden with violating the Fair Housing Act. The newspaper reported Baker could not immediately be reached for comment about the settlement. Erica Hoskins is Hispanic and Native American, and her husband, Stanley, is African-American. In 2016, the couple rented at an RV park in the north Mississippi town of Belden, with Erica Hoskins giving a $275 check for one month's rent to the landlord, Gene Baker. “He was real nice,” she said. “He invited me to church and gave me a hug. I bragged on him to my family.” The next day, she said Baker telephoned her and said, ‘“Hey, you didn't tell me you was married to no black man.’” She said she replied that she didn't realize it was a problem. She said Baker told her that his church, his community and his mother-in-law had a problem with black and white people “shacking.” She said she told him they were married, and she said he replied, ‘“Oh, it's the same thing.’” HUD said Baker returned the couple's money and they moved out. Stanley Hoskins is a National Guard member who fought in Afghanistan. Erica Hoskins said she and her husband wanted Baker to learn that “you can't openly be racist and discriminate against people.” The newspaper reported Baker could not immediately be reached for comment about the settlement.

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