Tags: Sherrod | Won | Case | USDA

Sherrod Won Earlier Case against USDA

Thursday, 22 Jul 2010 03:44 PM

By Dan Weil

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Shirley Sherrod, the black Agriculture Department official who was forced out and then offered a new job by the department, was involved with an earlier lawsuit against the USDA.

Sherrod was forced to resign Monday after the spread of an incomplete video of remarks she made that sounded racist. It turned out her message was actually anti-racist, and she has been offered another job at the USDA.

Days before she was hired by the USDA last year, a group founded by Sherrod and her husband Charles, a civil rights activist, won a $13 million settlement in a discrimination suit against the USDA known as the Pigford case, FoxNews.com reports.

New Communities Inc. – created by the Sherrods with other black farmers -- reached the agreement, according to The Rural Development Leadership Network. The RDLN said the discrimination claim stemmed from the USDA’s refusal to offer new loans or restructure old loans to members of New Communities.

In addition to the $13 million won by New Communities, Shirley and Charles Sherrod each were awarded $150,000 for "pain and suffering."

Sherrod's hiring last year by the USDA had "nothing to do with" the settlement, a department official told FoxNews.com.

President Obama spoke to Sherrod Thursday. He expressed regret over her ouster and hope that she will accept the USDA’s new job offer.

A White House statement said, "This situation may present an opportunity to continue helping people if she's interested, and he hopes that she will do so."

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