RICHMOND, Texas – Shayla Anderson’s home at the Grand Fountain apartment complex in Richmond used to be her sanctuary
“When I first moved here, it was wonderful,” she said.
However, Anderson says the last two years have been difficult.
“It was the worst thing I ever experienced in my life,” she said.
Anderson says it started when she and her husband made a noise complaint. She says it was never addressed by management so she went to speak with the property manager.
“I went to her office, and she said, ‘I’m not going to speak with you about this,’” Anderson recalled. “‘I’m not going to speak with you about this, sir.’”
Anderson is a transgender woman.
“Being a Black transgender woman, post-operative, it kind of took me back,” she said. “She took my womanhood and crushed it by calling me ‘sir.’”
Anderson says she contacted SunRidge Management Group, the company that owns the apartment complex.
“They never reached out to me,” she said.
That’s when she filed a discrimination complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and she says the situation got worse.
She and her husband posted one of their interactions with management online. The video went viral.
She says it shows the property manager questioning her husband and son while playing basketball.
“It was a group of African American men in the basketball court, playing basketball,” Anderson explained. “She felt like they were not residents.”
She says the property asked her to take the video down and once she did she received an eviction notice.
Anderson says prior to that, she hadn’t received any notices or warnings and her attorneys advised her not to pay rent because of the ongoing litigation.
“Because, you’re a big corporation [and] you can not treat the little people wrong,” she said. “We have a voice as well.”
Sun Management Group sent us the following statement about the lawsuit and the allegations of discrimination:
“We fully disagree and deny all claims made against Grand Fountain team members individually and the management company as a whole. We adhere to the highest standards of managing the Grand Fountain community and comply with all fair housing laws.”
“A lot of people say, ‘Well, why don’t you move? Why don’t you get out of there?,’ because then I give them the power,” Anderson added.