A.d.l. Requests Connecticut State Inquiry of Real Estate Bias in Greenwich

The Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith yesterday urged the Connecticut Commission on Civil Rights and the State Attorney General to extend the probe of a Greenwich real estate broker into “an investigation of the policies and practices of the Greenwich Real Estate Board” that allegedly lead to discrimination against Jews.

The League asserted that testimony of Mrs. Olive Braden before the Commission at a hearing last week raised the question “whether the Greenwich Real Estate Board has participated in a conspiracy to prevent Jews from buying property in the Greenwich area.” Mrs. Braden admitted writing a memorandum to her sales staff at Braden Associates, a member of the Board, that “we can do only one thing by cooperating with them (Jews) and that is to be liable to severe criticism by the board and our fellow brokers.” In a letter to Elmo Roper, chairman of the Commission, and to Attorney-General Albert Coles, Arnold Forster, general counsel of the League, declared that Mrs. Braden’s statements support “reports current for years that Jews encounter special difficulties when they seek to find homes in Greenwich.” Mr. Forster also asserted that her statements before the Commission “lend credibility to charges that the Greenwich Real Estate Board has had a policy of refusing membership in the Board to Jewish real estate brokers.”

He pointed out that in testimony two years ago before the U.S. Civil Rights Commission at hearings in New York City, the League had cited Greenwich as one of the Connecticut communities where housing discrimination against Jews was a “matter of concern.” Mr. Forster declared that, in the League’s view, Greenwich followed a pattern of discrimination prevalent in many suburban communities such as Bronxville, New York and Grosse Pointe, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. In the latter community, the Michigan State authorities have recently moved to outlaw such discrimination.

In a memorandum dated July 1, Mrs. Braden instructed all salespeople in her office that “when anyone telephones us in answer to an ad in any newspaper and their name is or appears to be Jewish, do not meet them anywhere.” Mrs. Braden also instructed her staff on how to screen prospective customers who walked into the office to determine if they were Jewish.

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