HUD complaint filed for alleged discrimination for BI housing

A complaint has been filed with Housing and Urban Development after a whistleblower was fired, and family members were denied low-income housing on Bainbridge Island.

The complaint alleges that brother Moises Licona and sister Coral Licona were first approved, but then stepmother Holly McCaughley, who was the manager, was fired allegedly after telling the property owners “how poorly the apartments were being ran.”

The application was then allegedly due to a lack of rental history. The Liconas wanted to appeal but were told there also was a waitlist issue. They allege some people who were allowed to move in were not on the waitlist at all.

In January, the Liconas said they were told they were next on the waitlist. On Jan. 22, “we heard from a long term-resident…that…the apartment manager told her he ‘will never rent to Holly’s stepchildren,’” the complaint claims.

Later, they allegedly were told they could get a unit, but there was reportedly mold in it that was just painted over, the HUD complaint says.

The Liconases said they asked for another unit, but then again were denied reportedly for having no rental history, and there also was an issue with employment. The complaint says there is nothing wrong with the sister’s job as she had been there for six months.

“We believe (the manager) was going through the motions by letting us apply again so he wouldn’t get himself in trouble for not renting to us,” the complaint alleges.

It goes on to say the Liconas believe they were discriminated against because they are Mexican. They allege others have moved in without rental history but are not Mexican. They allege they were discriminated against at the Island Terrace apartments at 821 High School Road NE in retaliation for McCaughley being a whistleblower.

The family alleges Housing Resources Bainbridge hired Ad-West Realty management company to run Island Terrace and has done nothing about years of complaints from tenants. That company in Issaquah is not accredited by the Better Business Bureau and has a D- rating.

Phaedra Elliott, executive director of HRB, would not comment on the situation.