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Feds accuse New Berlin of housing discrimination

NEW BERLIN, Wis. (AP) — The U.S. government is accusing the city of New Berlin of violating the Fair Housing Act.

Federal prosecutors released a lawsuit Thursday that accuses city officials of denying applications to a developer who wanted to build low-income housing.

According to the lawsuit, the city and mayor initially approved the application in May 2010. It said soon afterward, city officials began receiving negative communication from the largely white community that included threats and derogatory terms for blacks.

According to court documents, city officials responded by trying to withdraw their approval, even though the developer had an answer for every concern the city raised as justification for its denial.

A message left with City Attorney Mark Blum on Thursday was not immediately returned.

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