U.S. attorneys on June 23 filed a lawsuit against the city of New Berlin claiming city officials violated the Fair Housing Act when they would not permit construction of an affordable housing project last year.
According to the complaint, New Berlin has affordable apartments for seniors, but no developments that provide affordable units for the general populace.
The New Berlin Plan Commission approved the rental project in May, setting off a wave of complaints from local citizens and threats against Mayor Jack Chiovatero. The Plan Commission reconsidered the approval and in July 2010 voted against a zoning change for the project.
The lawsuit filed by U.S. attorneys claimed that the rejection of the project was motivated by a desire to discriminate against minorities who may live in the the apartments. The attorneys are asking a federal judge to force the city to approve the project and pay civil penalties and damages.