The call came in to Tower 41 Condominium, a salmon-pink set of buildings on Pine Tree Drive, on February 22, 2006. Why, asked real estate broker Ricardo Herran, had his clients application to live there been rejected?
In a hushed voice, a curly-haired secretary told him: “It’s two men…. Residents are conservative.”
Herran’s client, Steven Bloomfield, is gay. He is also a dream tenant. The slight, bespectacled 48-year-old makes six figures, has stellar credit, and is about as imposing as a granny in a rocking chair. “My face got hot with humiliation and rage,” he says. “I felt like a piece of shit.”
The Miami-Dade Equal Opportunity Board EOB found this past August 22 that the Tower 41 Condominium Association had discriminated against Bloomfield and his partner Jose Gonzalez based on sexual orientation. This finding might cost the condo owners money in court. And on gay-friendly Miami Beach, it could damage the building’s reputation as a peaceful, welcoming place.
This case is just the beginning. Even as complaints about discrimination against gays have increased in Miami-Dade — up from five to a record 29 last year — county commissioners have chopped the board’s annual budget from about $600,000 to $300,000. Administrators recently laid off half of the discrimination investigators, bringing staff down to five. All of this comes at a time when “we’re up to our ears in cases,” says EOB Director Marcos Regalado.
via Miami New Times Gay Hate in Miami Beach