“White only” swimming pool policy lands Cincinnati landlord in hot water

Photo: A fenced in pool with a sign that reads "Public Swimming Pool White Only." Photo source:  Michael Gunn, The Cincinnati Enquirer, Google Images

The “white only” sign posted at Gunn’s pool, denying his daughter access. | The Cincinnati Enquirer

A Cincinnati landlord, Jamie Hein, is under fire for posting a “public swimming pool, white only” sign on the gate of the pool of her duplex in May 2011. She posted the sign after the hair products of a bi-racial 10-year-old girl made the pool “cloudy” while swimming during a visit with her father, tenant Michael Gunn.

The day after the sign appeared, Gunn and his girlfriend Elizabeth Gerrard began looking for a new apartment.

Hein began harassing Gunn and his girlfriend Elizabeth Gerrard both electronically and in person. When Gerrard and Gunn would see their ex-landlord in public, she would spit on cars, make obscene gestures and yell expletives at them, Gerrard said to The Cincinnati Enquirer.

Gunn filed a complaint with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission, which found that Hein violated the Ohio Civil Rights Act by posting the sign.

On Aug. 3, 2012, a judge heard testimony about Hein’s discrimination and is expected to issue a ruling within four or five months. Hein did not attend the hearing, and she could be ordered to pay damages to the family or undergo anti-discrimination training.

Hein’s racist actions also have consequences for Cincinnati because they increased Cincinnati’s perception as “a racist city,” said Elizabeth Brown, executive director of Housing Opportunities Made Equal, to The Cincinnati Enquirer.


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