The Shopper's Guide in Great Barrington got slapped with a $15,000 consent judgment on Monday over some 146 purported discriminatory rental ads. On top of that, the 42-year-old free publication will have to provide $30,000 worth of free advertising to the entity that came after it — the Housing Discrimination Project of Holyoke.
The project, part of the nonprofit Massachusetts Fair Housing Center, complained to Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination that the Shopper had been running rental property advertisements, both print and online, "that unlawfully discriminated based on family status, sex, marital status, receipt of public housing assistance, and disability." The ads had reportedly run between January 2007 and mid-September 2009.
The attorney general's office filed the complaint on Jan. 29; the shopper Superior Court Judge John A. Agostini entered the consent agreement on Monday.
Now it will have to not only offer up free advertising, but also train its staff on the federal Fair Housing Act, sponsor a community fair housing traning for the public and adopt screening-mechanisms to ensure that discriminatory advertisements are not published.
Publications as well as landlords can get in trouble for ads that discriminate against people of any, creed, sex or ethnicity. Just saying "no children" can land you in hot water.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Quality Printing Co. has acquired a franchise of EZ Local Savings Co., a marketing consultant focusing on small and medium-sized companies.
The franchise covers Berkshire, Hampden, Hampshire and Franklin counties, Southern Vermont and New York. Kaylin Quadrozzi Choquette, formerly a national sales consultant with Iredale Cosmetics, has been hired as sales manager.
EZ Local Savings' platform is geared toward consulting to local businesses and includes direct mail and online coupon books, e-mail and text marketing, online ordering and print services.
Local businesses place ads or coupons in the books, which are distributed, free of charge, to residential addresses within a specific area and community. Books have been mailed out in the Pittsfield area and additional books will be published in other territories in Berkshire County in 2010.
Choquette earned her bachelor of science degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 2003. She will handle all of Berkshire County, Southern Vermont and Rensselaer County, N.Y. For further information: 413-358-0538 or firstname.lastname@example.org.