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MAC Board votes to remove discriminatory covenants from MAC property deeds

The Metropolitan Airports Commission Board of Commissioners on Oct. 18 unanimously approved a resolution to cancel and condemn discriminatory covenants in deeds of properties purchased by the organization.

The MAC learned it had properties with restrictive discriminatory covenants through Just Deeds, a coalition that includes Mapping Prejudice, the Minnesota Association of City Attorneys, title companies, realtor associations, volunteer attorneys and several cities that together help homeowners remove discriminatory covenants.
Most of the properties were related to a housing development purchased by the MAC in the late 1990s to make room for construction of a fourth runway, 17/35, at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. The covenants were never enforced during the time the MAC owned the properties.
Up until the 1960s, many property deeds throughout the nation included discriminatory restrictive covenants barring use of the property by certain individuals – most often indigenous persons, people of color and non-Christians. While enforcement of such covenants has been illegal for decades, they remained embedded in property deeds.
The University of Minnesota’s Mapping Prejudice Project researched restrictive covenants and mapped their use in Hennepin County. Project participants identified more than 24,000 discriminatory covenants in the county, including more than 400 on properties purchased by the MAC. 
In 2019, the Minnesota Legislature passed a law permitting property owners to legally discharge discriminatory covenants. Upon filing the appropriate document, property owners can formally notate on the property record that the covenant is no longer effective.
The resolution contained these action items:
1. The commission disavows and condemns the past use of discriminatory covenants and prohibits discriminatory covenants on MAC-owned property.
2. Upon finding or identifying any real property owned by the MAC that contains discriminatory covenants, the MAC’s legal department is directed to submit an affidavit or request an examiner’s directive discharging such discriminatory covenants pursuant to Minnesota Statute 507.18, subd. 5.
This last action is what will allow the MAC Legal department to complete the work of identifying discriminatory covenants in MAC-owned property and filing the necessary paperwork to discharge them from the property records.