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Racist-lending claim is thrown out

Associated Press / January 8, 2010

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BALTIMORE - A judge has dismissed the City of Baltimore’s first-of-its kind lawsuit against Wells Fargo Bank NA. US District Judge J. Frederick Motz said the city’s claim that the mortgage giant triggered millions of dollars in damages with racist, predatory lending was not plausible.

The suit accused Wells Fargo of targeting black neighborhoods with unaffordable loans, which led to mass foreclosures, costing Baltimore tens of millions of dollars. The company denied the allegations.

Motz gave the city the option of filing a complaint, with claims limited to specific housing vacancies or their effects, by Feb. 3.

City Solicitor George Nilson said the city’s options will be reviewed.