A landlord’s claim has been dismissed by the Ohio Civil Rights Commission that a ‘white only’ pool sign was an historical antique sign and ruled that it was discriminatory.
“At this point, it means that we believe that it’s probable that discrimination has occurred,” commission spokeswoman Brandi Martin said.
Cincinnati landlord Jamie Hein had been accused of discriminating against an African-American girl back in December with a ‘white only’ sign posted at her swimming pool. Hein said that the sign was an antique and a decoration.
“I’m not a bad person,” said Jamie Hein. “I don’t have any problem with race at all. It’s a historical sign.”
The sign from the case says: “Public Swimming Pool, White Only.” The sign as the date 1931 on it and it is from Alabama.
The discrimination charge was filed by Micheal Gunn, who took offense to the sign. He filed the complaint with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission.
“At every step, we try to resolve the matter. We will attempt conciliation,” Martin said. “The goal is to resolve the matter, to find a means by which both parties would be satisfied in some sort of resolution or settlement.”
Neither Hein nor her attorney appeared in court, which Martin claims was unexpected, since Hein was asking that the original ruling be reconsidered by the commission.
Should a compromise not be met, and if Hein appeals the decision again, the issue will hit the state’s attorney general and both of the parties involved will be deposed.
Hein did not express any apologies for the racist origins of the sign that was displayed at the entrance to her pool. Hein claims she collects antiques and was given the sign as a gift. She also said in an interview that her pool is on private property and everyone getting in her pool must ask for permission first even though the sign appears to be about a public pool.
Gunn told the court that his family previously “had unrestricted access to the pool area.” Hein disputed this claim, saying that everyone, even her father, must ask permission before swimming in the pool.
“We invited my daughter, who is African-American, to visit and swim in the pool for the Memorial Day weekend,” Gunn wrote in the complaint. “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 claims that the sign was not related to Gunn’s daughter being in the pool and that the sign had already been posted when the party occurred. She also said that the sign cannot be seen when the gate to the fence is open.
Gunn wrote in the complaint that he moved out of the property Hein owns back in June “in order to not expose my daughter to the sign and the humiliation of the message.”
It was found on September 29 by the Ohio Civil Rights Commission that Hein violated the Ohio Civil Rights Act by putting the sign up at the pool. Hein then asked to have the decision reconsidered. Since then, the sign has been stolen.
“I’ve never said anything to that child,” Hein said. “If I have to stick up for my white rights, I have to stick up for my white rights. It goes both ways.”