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Cyprexx: Discrimination charges “frivolous”

Fannie Mae contractor responds to charges from National Fair Housing Alliance

bank owned door

Cyprexx Services has responded to charges of racial discrimination levied by The National Fair Housing Alliance earlier this week.

Cyprexx, which provides property preservation services for Fannie Mae-owned homes, was accused of failing to properly maintain properties in African-American and Latino neighborhoods in Baltimore, Maryland; Kansas City, Missouri; Orlando, Florida; and Richmond, Virginia.

“Cyprexx is extremely disappointed that the National Fair Housing Alliance and two of its member organizations announced the filing of a federal housing discrimination complaint against the company without first engaging the company in supplying data, and discussing their concerns and allegations,” Cyprexx said in a statement released to HousingWire.

“These allegations appear frivolous, and without reasonable merit.”

The National Fair Housing Alliance, Housing Opportunities Made Equal, and Fair Housing Continuum announced on Tuesday that they would be filing a complaint with the Department of Housing and Urban Development, accusing Cyprexx of neglecting properties in minority neighborhoods.

When the allegations were announced, a Cyprexx source told HousingWire that the company was not made aware of any complaints and the NFHA, to his knowledge, never reached out to Cyprexx.

When asked whether Cyprexx was notified prior to the NFHA’s announcement, Shanna Smith, the NFHA’s president and CEO said, “We have contacted Fannie Mae about these types of issues in the past. We expected Fannie to contact their vendors to address these issues. We expect Cyprexx knew about this.”

That’s not the case, according to Cyprexx.

“It is somewhat alarming considering that NFHA did not communicate with the company, nor did they provide Cyprexx with a copy of the complaint,” Cyprexx said in its statement, which is signed by Ed Mullen, Cyprexx's chief operating officer, and Ronnie Ory, Cyprexx's chairman of the board.

“Cyprexx only learned about the allegations from the media and had to go to the NHFA’s website to obtain a copy of Complaint. One cannot help questioning whether this is a part of a publicity stunt rather than a good faith effort to determine if there is any basis for its charges.”

In its statement, Cyprexx said that it takes the allegations very seriously and is looking forward to an unbiased review of the facts.

“We believe any responsible agency that will take the time to objectively analyze the facts regarding how Cyprexx handles assignments from our clients, will come to the conclusion that the NFHA is factually incorrect in their complaint,” Cyprexx said.

Cyprexx’s full statement is below:

Cyprexx is extremely disappointed that the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) and two of its member organizations announced on July 23, 2014 the filing of a federal housing discrimination complaint against the company without first engaging the company in supplying data, and discussing their concerns and allegations.

These allegations appear frivolous, and without reasonable merit.

It is somewhat alarming considering that NFHA did not communicate with the company, nor did they provide Cyprexx with a copy of the Complaint. Cyprexx only learned about the allegations from the media and had to go to the NHFA’s website to obtain a copy of Complaint.  One cannot help questioning whether this is a part of a publicity stunt rather than a good faith effort to determine if there is any basis for its charges. Unfortunately this behavior has all the signs of an organization operating without fully understanding the industry, nor a clear understanding or basis of knowledge of the foreclosure process.

The question is if NFHA were really concerned with Cyprexx’s services, should they have contacted Cyprexx before filing this Complaint, investigated the processes and had an open dialogue about these allegations?

We take allegations of this nature very seriously, and are considering all the options available to protect our reputation as well as the livelihood of our employees and business partners.

Cyprexx has requested and demanded that the NFHA supply the metrics and data for which they based their allegations.

Cyprexx receives assignments from our clients with no information regarding neighborhood demographics.  Our clients have uniform standards to which all properties must be cleaned and preserved. We assign our vendors and instruct them according to the same set of standards.  After servicing, properties are frequently inspected by Cyprexx and our clients as well as by third party inspectors. The properties inspected are selected randomly without regard to the neighborhood demographics.

Cyprexx and its clients strive to remove neighborhood blight, and one of the company’s initiatives to help with blight and unsightliness is a clear polycarbonate alternative to plywood boarding of vacant properties.

We believe any responsible agency that will take the time to objectively analyze the facts regarding how Cyprexx handles assignments from our Clients, will come to the conclusion that the NFHA is factually incorrect in their complaint.

While the NFHA has a key role in this country in ensuring Fair Housing Laws are enforced, one would hope this does not give them clearance to make unfounded allegations and we fully expect that an investigation will find no basis for these claims against Cyprexx.

Cyprexx is looking forward to an unbiased review of the facts which will substantiate our position.

Ed Mullen | Cyprexx Services, LLC

Chief Operating Officer

Ronnie Ory | Cyprexx Services, LLC

Chairman of the Board

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