Woman who inherited apartment accuses St. Regis complex of racial discrimination

By Charmaine Little | Oct 11, 2018

ST. LOUIS – A St. Louis County woman recently filed a federal suit against St. Regis Apartments Inc. and its board of directors for violating the Fair Housing Act, accusing the St. Louis apartment complex of racially discriminating against her after she was awarded a stock certificate for a unit.

In her suit filed Oct. 11 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, Patricia Von Zur Muehlen named the following as defendants: St. Regis Apartments Inc.; its board of directors; the president of St. Regis Apartments Inc., (William J. Kuehling); the secretary of St. Regis Apartments Inc. (James Joseph Schafly III); the vice president of St. Regis Apartments Inc. (Gregory A. Vogelweid); and Patricia A. Penkoske, Robert Parks, Maura Rafuse, Louis Vlasaty and Katharyn B. Davis Esq., who are also members of the board.

The suit accuses each of the defendants of not allowing her to enter the building and threatening her with trespassing charges if she attempted to do so. The suit alleges St. Regis and the defendants didn’t allow her and her relatives to use the facilities or enjoy other privileges that owners take part in.

The suit alleges the plaintiff believe she was treated this way because she is African American and accused St. Regis of attempting to uphold a Caucasian elite environment. Her suit claims violation of the Fair Housing Act, conversion of personal property and civil conspiracy to violate the Fair Housing Act. 

According to the suit, on April 10, the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis, Probate Division, ordered Martin Lipsitz,  the special fiduciary of the Albert L. Simpkins Living Trust, “to transfer St. Regis Apartment Inc., Stock Certificate No. 267, herewith attached, and all rights, title, and property interest in the St. Regis Cooperative and commonly known as Center Court, Floor Seven, East Side of St. Regis Apartments  Inc. … to Patricia Von Zur Muehlen.” While Lipsitz followed order, the suit said St. Regis raised issues and refused to transfer ownership of the apartment to her.

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