Neighborhood's 'whites only' deed sparks controversy in Charlotte

By Steve Crump - bio l email

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - An upscale Charlotte neighborhood association is paying out nearly $20,000 for sins from its past  - after the phrase "caucasions only" [sic] was found on its website.

The Myers Park Homeowners Association is making reparations to the North Carolina NAACP for its use of a racist language in an old neighborhood deed.

A complaint was filed in late 2009 with Charlotte's Community Relations Committee after the Myers Park Homeowners Association posted an original deed online.

The problem boiled down to two words within the deed: "Caucasions Only" [sic].

After months of negotiations, a financial agreement was reached between both parties.

"They would do a monetary settlement of $17,500," said Willie Ratchford who heads Charlotte's Community Relations Committee.

He said Myers Park Home Owners association agreed to settle with the NAACP for violating the fair housing law by using a sample deed on its web site that said homes there would be only sold to whites.

Assistant City Attorney Anna Schleunes worked on the case with both groups.

"Many, many years ago, the supreme court ruled that race based restricted covenants were illegal."

Both sides agreed to keep the housing matter out of court and let a third party work it out.

"We were able to sit down and take them through conciliation and where able to talk their way through it and came to a meeting of the minds," Ratchford said.

Neither the NAACP nor the Myers Park Homeowners association made a statement when the case was resolved last summer, but the city is now talking about it.

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of the restrictive deeds the point out race as an issue are at the Mecklenburg County office building. Anna Schleunes says the documents carry no weight.

"They are void - even though they still exist in many of deeds for properties in some of the older neighborhoods in Charlotte."

Copyright 2011 WBTV. All rights reserved.