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SANFORD, FL-The Sanford Housing Authority, under investigation all year by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development for alleged fiscal irregularities, chalked up another dark mark on its performance record by losing a discrimination lawsuit with a 14-year employee.

The agency, 30 miles north of Downtown Orlando, is paying Thelma Mungen $40,000 and her lawyer $15,000. Mungen sued for $94,000 in 1999.

When an Orlando federal court judge refused to further delay the trial because the agency was unprepared with a legal defense, authority officials decided to settle out of court rather than risking getting hit with a $94,000 judgment plus undetermined punitive damages.

Prior to the suit’s filing, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Miami upheld Mungen’s claims for sexual discrimination.

The suit alleges Mungen was fired without being given additional time to find a new job. A male employee, also terminated at about the same time who was a staffer for only a year, was given 30 days with pay to find a job, the suit alleges.

Sanford Housing Authority manages 1,200 apartment units in six properties housing low-income tenants. HUD owns the properties and pays the Authority to manage the assets.

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