Mayor Anthony Williams’ campaign to crack down on substandard housing in Washington, D.C., has sent many landlords scurrying for cover. It has also rankled many of the same people the mayor says he wants to help.

On March 19, the Washington Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, headed by lead counsel Lars Waldorf, filed a suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia claiming that the city discriminated against Vietnamese and Hispanics when it earmarked three Capitol Heights properties for imminent closure.