(September 17, 1994) - The London Free Press' biased coverage of Elieff's case offers a misleading and defensive perspective unrelated to Board of Inquiry decision. Though the article was written in response to our media release (a verbatim copy of our surrounding article), the paper was careful to avoid any mention of Freedom Party - or of its own role in creating the whole issue. Worse, the paper continues to label Elieff's comments 'racist,' despite the Board ruling. No mention is made of the complainant's credibility or of Susan Eagle's role in actively recruiting a complainant.
BY DAHLIA REICH
The London Free Press
The Ontario Human Rights Commission is "disappointed" with the conclusions of a board of inquiry that found former London landlord Elijah Elieff was not discriminatory in his poor treatment of tenants. The inquiry, called in 1992 to investigate a complaint of discrimination by tenant Chippeng Hom, a native of Cambodia, ruled this week in favor of Elieff because all the tenants, regardless of race, were treated poorly.
"Many incidents of disrepair and poor maintenance of municipal standards raise the spectre of discrimination on the part of Mr. Elieff because a large proportion of the tenants, like Ms. Hom, were Cambodian." the inquiry concluded. "However, at the time of the complaint, the poor conditions in the apartment (building) affected all tenants regardless of ethnic origin."
RACIST COMMENTS: The inquiry concluded that racist comments by Elieff reported in the London Free Press "were actually made as reported." A 1989 article quoted Elieff, previous owner of 95 and 105 Cheyenne Ave., saying his Cambodian and Vietnamese tenants were "like little pigs... they think they're still living in the jungle."
At the same time, the inquiry awarded Hom $2,500 in general and punitive damages, saving she was subjected to reprisals from Elieff for launching the complaint.
The inquiry, by an independent board, was called by the Ontario Human Rights Commission after a 1990 investigation by the commission into Hom's complaint. Hom alleged her right to equal treatment for accommodation and freedom of harassment was infringed upon by Elieff's comments and that her living conditions were "poisoned by discrimination."
REVIEW: The commission is not happy with the decision and "will be filing a notice of appeal ... to preserve the commission's rights in the event that they decide to pursue an appeal." said Geri Sanson, the commission's lawyer during the hearing.
The commission will review the decision and decide if there is basis for an appeal before making a final decision, Sanson said.
Community development worker Susan Eagle, who has been an advocate for the Cheyenne tenants for years, said Friday she is "completely mystified" by the inquiry's findings.
Hom said she is "not happy" about the findings and that, after nearly five years, the issue has not been resolved. She said she will consider appealing.
Elieff was not available for comment.
WHAT'S NEXT: Chippeng Hom, who still lives in the Cheyenne apartments, will decide whether to launch an appeal. She can do so independent of the Ontario Human Rights Commission.
The commission is reviewing the findings of the inquiry and will also decide whether to launch an appeal.
last updated on April 28, 2002