Coincidence Stranger than Fiction


I am a local attorney, and I teach classes to real estate agents. I am also an acquaintance and friend of Elaine Mintzes (“Legacy of Giving,” Jan. 12). I was especially touched by a 2014 JT article about Ms. Mintzes and a support dog named Lincoln, who nurtured her back to health at the Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center. It was stated that Ms. Mintzes was greatly helped in her recovery by the companionship of Lincoln and created a fund to provide support dogs, like Lincoln, to future patients. However, I have a postscript for you.

In the 1960s, Elaine and Alvin Mintzes owned a very successful real estate company, Castle Realty, which was sued in 1968 by the Maryland Attorney General as a test case for a new federal law, the Fair Housing Act. This law, among other things, prohibited the practice of “blockbusting,” which is the unsavory practice of scaring homeowners into selling their property with the threat that minorities may move in and lower property values. Although Castle Realty was found guilty, no damages were assessed because the judge explained that it was a new law and he was not certain how to apply it. The plaintiffs (or victims) in the case were an African-American couple by the name of Lincoln.

I tell this story when I teach a continuing education class to agents rquired by the Maryland Real Estate Commission entitled “Fair Housing.” Sometimes life is stranger than fiction. Right?

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