Nathan Connolly, a Black professor who teaches the history of housing discrimination in America at Johns Hopkins University, claims that he and his family were subjected to discrimination according to a story in the New York Times.
Connolly and his spouse, Dr. Shani Mott, thought that their home would be valued at a higher rate after putting in a new $5,000 tankless water heater as well as making $35k worth in renovations. Initially, the house was worth $450,000 when they paid for it back in 2017.
Maryland appraisal company, 20/20 Valuations, estimated that their home was worth only $472,000. In addition, loanDepot, a mortgage lender, refused the pair a refinance loan. However, Connolly knew that this was a racial matter.
Shortly after that first appraisal, he and Mott applied for another refinance loan. This time they took down personal photos and opted to have a white professor from Johns Hopkins pretend to own their house. The house was suddenly valued at $750k.
Connolly and his wife have filed lawsuits against loanDepot, and Shane Lanham, the owner of 20/20 Valuations, who were responsible for the first appraisal.
The complaint states:
“Dr. Connolly, Dr. Mott, and their three children were home during the visit, and their house was also filled with family photos, children’s drawings of figures with dark skin, a poster for the film Black Panther and literature by Black authors. It would have been obvious to anyone visiting that the home belonged to a Black family.
The complaint also explained that all of the surrounding homes were of much lower quality in comparison to Connolly and Mott’s home appraisal. To add insult to injury, the appraisal falsely stated that their home had not been updated for 15 years.