Henderson woman shares story as housing discrimination tester at Trump property

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Evan Vucci / AP

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump arrives to speak at a campaign rally, Friday, Oct. 21, 2016, in Newtown, Pa.

Tue, Oct 25, 2016 (7 a.m.)

A Henderson woman is coming forward to share her story as a housing discrimination tester at one of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s properties in the 1970s.

The woman, Sheila Morse, was sent to one of Trump’s New York properties by the Human Rights Commission after a black man was turned down after inquiring about an apartment for rent. Morse, who is white, said she went in the next day to inquire after the same apartment and was welcomed “with open arms.”

Morse shared her story in a video released by the pro-Clinton super PAC Correct the Record today. The organization has been releasing video testimonials about people’s encounters with Trump as part of it’s “The Trump Project” series.

As a housing tester, Morse’s job was to go to various locations where a person of color was turned down housing to see whether she would receive the same response.

In her retelling of the story, Morse said that when the black man had inquired about the “apartment for rent” sign hanging outside the building, he was told by the superintendent that the apartment had been rented and that the sign was hanging outside in error. When she showed up next day, the sign was still hanging outside, and Morse said she was welcomed into the building and immediately shown around the apartment.

She said that when she said she would take the apartment, the superintendent was “thrilled” and said he would have the lease ready the next day. “I guess I was the right color and the gentleman was the wrong color,” Morse said.

Earlier this year, the Washington Post, the New York Times, and others published detailed reports on the various housing testers at Trump properties, like Morse, as well as the 1973 lawsuit the Justice Department filed against Trump management, alleging violations of the Fair Housing Act of 1968.

Trump addressed the lawsuit in the first presidential debate, noting that it was settled without admission of guilt. Still, as part of the settlement deal, Trump management was required to place ads to let minorities know that they would be guaranteed equal access to housing at their properties.

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