WASHINGTON — The Justice Department today filed a lawsuit against Darwin Kenneth Morgan and his company DK Morgan Consolidated LLC, for violating the Fair Housing Act in the rental of mobile homes and mobile home lots at Morgan Mobile Home Park in Bloomingdale, Ga.
The complaint, filed in federal district court in Savannah, alleges that Morgan engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination by denying rights protected by the Fair Housing Act to a group of persons based on race or color and sex. Specifically, the complaint alleges that Morgan refused to rent to inter-racial couples, made statements indicating a racial preference, and misrepresented the availability of units because of the race or color of the prospective tenants. The complaint also alleges that Morgan subjected female tenants and prospective tenants to unwanted verbal and physical sexual advances, granted and denied tangible housing benefits based on sex, and took adverse action against female tenants when they refused or objected to his sexual advances.
"The Fair Housing Act protects the basic right to rent housing without being subjected to race and sex discrimination," said Grace Chung Becker, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "Landlords should be on notice that the Justice Department steadfastly enforces the Act throughout the United States."
"Under the federal Fair Housing Act, applicants who face race and sex discrimination in their efforts to secure housing for themselves and their families are protected, " said Edmund A. Booth, Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. "We stand ready to seek enforcement of the Act’s provisions."
The government’s complaint seeks monetary damages to compensate the victims, civil penalties and a court order barring future discrimination. The government’s investigation and current lawsuit arose after the Savannah-Chatham County Fair Housing Council alerted the Civil Rights Division to Morgan’s discriminatory activities.
The federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability and familial status. Since Jan. 1, 2001, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division has filed 262 cases to enforce the Fair Housing Act, including 75 cases alleging race or color discrimination and 19 cases alleging sexual harassment. More information about the Civil Rights Division and the laws it enforces is available at http://www.usdoj.gov/crt.
Individuals who believe that they may have been victims of housing discrimination can call the Housing Discrimination Tip Line at 1-800-896-7743, e-mail the Justice Department at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development at 1-800-669-9777.