Ohio landlord claims ‘White Only’ pool sign is ‘historical’

By David Edwards
Friday, December 16, 2011 10:07 EDT
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Jim Crow-era 'White Only' sign (Flickr/Nathan Rupert)
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A white Ohio landlord is calling on a state civil rights commission to reconsider its ruling that she discriminated against a black girl when she posted a “White Only” sign at the pool of one of her Cincinnati properties.

“I’m not a bad person,” Jamie Hein told ABC News Thursday. “I don’t have any problem with race at all. It’s a historical sign.”

Even though the 1931 Alabama sign reads, “Public Swimming Pool, White Only,” Hein insists that the pool is private and everyone must ask her permission before using it.

Michael Gunn, a 40-year-old tenant of Hein’s, filed the complaint and moved from the building to “avoid subjecting their family to further humiliating treatment,” according to a commission report.

“We invited my daughter, who is African-American, to visit and swim in the pool for the Memorial Day weekend,” Gunn wrote to the commission. “The owner, Jamie Hein, accused my daughter of making the pool ‘cloudy’ because she used chemicals in her hair. Days later, she posted a sign on the gate to the pool which reads, ‘Public Swimming Pool, White Only.’”

Hein was scheduled to formally request that commissioners reconsider their ruling Thursday.

“I’ve never said anything to that child,” Hein insisted. “If I have to stick up for my white rights, I have to stick up for my white rights. It goes both ways.”

If the commission upholds their ruling, it will be referred to the Ohio attorney general’s office. A judge could issue could a cease-and-desist order and punitive penalties.

Hein said that after the initial complaint was filed, the sign was been stolen.

Photo: Flickr/Nathan Rupert

David Edwards
David Edwards
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
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