BALTIMORE (AP) — Baltimore’s housing authority is facing nine court judgments totaling nearly $12 million from lawsuits filed by people exposed to lead paint in the city’s public housing.

But the authority is refusing to pay any of them, even in cases where it agreed to the dollar amount or lost on appeal.

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Housing Commissioner Paul Graziano tells The Baltimore Sun the authority simply can’t afford to pay. He says paying for the harm caused by lead paint would make it impossible for the agency to adequately serve the 25,000 housing units it supervises today.

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But lawyers for the plaintiffs say the authority has plenty of money to pay the judgments.

Besides the judgments against it, the authority faces 175 more lead-paint cases with potential claims of more than $800 million.

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