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Indiana woman to pay $226K for racially motivated attacks on neighbors

The case was filed in April 2020 by the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana and Donata Banks, one of the woman's former neighbors.
Indiana woman to pay $226K for racially motivated attacks on neighbors
Posted at 3:31 PM, Jan 23, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-23 16:31:46-05

A federal judge has ordered an Indianapolis woman who was caught on video attacking and threatening her Black and Latino neighbors to pay more than $226,000 following a lawsuit.

The case was filed in April 2020 by the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana (FHCCI) and Donata Banks, one of the former neighbors. The lawsuit alleged Vicki New "engaged in a pattern and practice of harassing, taunting and threatening" others in the Twin Creeks Drive subdivision based on race and national origin. 

New lived in a home on Twin Creeks Drive, on the city's northwest side, before she put the home up for sale in September 2018.

Earlier that year, New was captured on video attacking neighbors with a "No Trespassing" sign and threatening their lives over a property line dispute.

That confrontation was part of a string of alleged racially motivated incidents involving New. The Twin Creeks Homeowners Association previously said it had received complaints of harassment by New from more than 20 residents.

Following a criminal investigation, New was charged with trespassing, battery and criminal mischief. But those charges were later dismissed.

A default judgment was entered on New's behalf on April 16 for the lawsuit. As part of a decision filed June 16, Banks will receive $150,000 in punitive and compensatory damages while the FHCCI will receive about $50,000 total in punitive and compensatory damages and attorney fees.

Also named as defendants in the lawsuit are Kirkpatrick Management Company and the Twin Creeks Homeowners Association. They agreed to pay $262,500 in damages, attorney fees and costs as part of a separate settlement. 

The lawsuit said the companies "failed to take prompt action to correct and end the News' discriminatory harassment and interference with residents of Twin Creeks."

No admission of liability or wrongdoing was made in connection with the allegations, according to the FHCCI.

Scripps News Indianapolis reached out to Kirkpatrick Management Company and the Twin Creeks HOA.

Wyatt Smith, the president of the HOA, released the following statement:

“Twin Creeks is a culturally and racially diverse community with a diverse Board of Directors. The community and homeowners' association welcome residents of all races, ethnicities, cultures, beliefs, sexual orientations, and identities. The settlement was not an admission of liability, and the Twin Creeks HOA continues to deny liability for the unfortunate actions of a former homeowner, who was never on the HOA Board, was never a HOA officer, and in no way was a representative of the Twin Creeks HOA. The Board took a number of steps to intervene in this matter, up to and including a formal letter to Ms. New, from the HOA attorney ordering that cease all communications with her neighbors and sell her home, which she did shortly after receiving the letter. No judicial ruling has been entered against the association and we wholeheartedly dispute that the HOA and its Board violated any fair housing laws. Nevertheless, for the sake of avoiding lengthy and expensive litigation, the Board, acting under the advice of legal counsel, believed it was in everyone's best interest, to settle claims without taking the matter to trial.”

Dan Quigley, Kirkpatrick Management Company community association manager and vice president of associations, said, “Vicki New has never been an agent or representative of Kirkpatrick Management Company or Twin Creeks HOA at any time.”

Quigley added they have no comment on the recent ruling regarding New since they are separate cases. 

This story was originally published by Lucas Gonzalez at Scripps News Indianapolis

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