Free Legal Services in Discrimination Complaints

Mahala Va'Shem says she was treated unfairly by a local apartment complex but couldn't find anyone to listen. Monday she is celebrating and has a little known state agency to thank. Forty-four-year-old Mahala Vashem became visually impaired two years ago, but she says the real battle came about after being discriminated by a local apartment complex.

Va'Shem says when it came to representation, an attorney couldn't be found. That's when the 44-year-old sought help from the Florida Commission on Human Relations. Unable to discuss individual cases, director of communications Eugene Morris says it's tough to get the word out about their free services.

Va'Shem says she gave the FCHR depositions and brought in witnesses. Monday, she picked up an award check for $7,500 from the Players Club apartment complex, but Va'Shem says it's not about the money, it's about education.

The lawyer for the Players Club apartment complex says the matter was resolved satisfactorily without any admission of liability by anyone.

Meanwhile, if you feel you've been discriminated against, call the Florida Commission on Human Relations at 488-7082.