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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF IDAHO


UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
     Plaintiff,

v.

CHERRYWOOD ASSOCIATES, LP
GERALD C. BAUMAN, THOMAS E.
DILLON, TOMLINSON & ASSOCIATES,
INC., and JULIE WINN,
     Defendants.

_____________________________________

COMPLAINT

The United States of America alleges:

  1. This action is brought by the United States to enforce the provisions of Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (the Fair Housing Act), as amended by the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601-3619. It is brought on behalf of Spencer D. and Toni Jones, and their minor children, Darian, Chelsea, and Brittanie Jones, and the Idaho Fair Housing Council pursuant to Section 812(o) of the Fair Housing Act ("the Act"), as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o).

  2. This Court has jurisdiction over this action under 28 U.S.C. § 1345 and 42 U.S.C. §§ 3612(o).

  3. Defendant Cherrywood Associates, LP, is a limited liability company and is located in the District of Idaho. At all relevant times, Cherrywood Associates, LP was the owner of the Saturn Village Apartments located at 740 Saturn Drive, Idaho Falls, Idaho 83402 in the District of Idaho.

  4. The Saturn Village Apartment complex receives Section 8 project-based funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development through the Idaho Housing Finance Agency. It is one of the few affordable housing complexes for low income families in the area.

  5. At all relevant times, Defendants Gerald C. Bauman and Thomas E. Dillon were the general partners of Cherrywood Associates, LP. Defendants Bauman and Dillon reside and do business in the District of Idaho.

  6. At all relevant times, Defendant Tomlinson & Associates, Inc. was the management firm for Saturn Village Apartments. The corporation is licensed to do business in the State of Idaho and is located at 242 North 8th Street, Boise, Idaho 83701 in the District of Idaho.

  7. At all relevant times, Defendant Julie Winn was the on-site property manager of Saturn Village Apartments and an employee of Tomlinson & Associates, Inc. Defendant Winn resides and does business in the District of Idaho.

  8. The apartments in the Saturn Village Apartments are dwellings within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 3602(b).

  9. Spencer D. and Toni Jones are husband and wife, the parents of Darian, Chelsea and Brittanie Jones, and at all relevant times were residents of the District of Idaho.

  10. The Idaho Fair Housing Council is a nonprofit organization that promotes fair housing practices for housing providers and consumers throughout the State.

  11. At all times relevant to the complaint, Defendants have stated, adopted, and enforced an occupancy policy at the Saturn Village Apartments that unreasonably and illegally limits occupancy to two persons per bedroom regardless of individual circumstances. This policy has had the effect of excluding families with children, including the Jones family, from the property, and has resulted in less favorable terms, conditions and/or privileges for families with children living at the property.

  12. Similarly, Defendants have stated, adopted, and enforced a policy that unreasonably and illegally prohibits children of the opposite sex from sharing a bedroom, regardless of age. This policy has also had the effect of excluding families with children, including the Jones family, from the property, and has resulted in less favorable terms, conditions and/or privileges for families with children living at the property.

  13. On or about April 1, 1998, Toni Jones, who at the time was seven months pregnant with her third child, inquired of Defendant Julie Winn about the availability of two-bedroom apartments at the Saturn Village complex for herself, her husband Spencer, the couple's two-year old son, Darian, their one-year old daughter, Chelsea and their unborn child. Defendant Winn declined to permit Jones to apply for an apartment, stating that because the Joneses wanted to occupy a unit with five persons, they could not rent a two-bedroom apartment at the complex, which had a two person per bedroom occupancy restriction. In addition, Winn advised Jones that she and her family were ineligible for a two-bedroom unit because the Joneses' two young children were of different genders and management policy precluded children of different genders from sharing bedrooms.

  14. Because there was a waiting list for three-bedroom units at the complex, the Jones family was precluded from living at the property. Shortly thereafter, because they could not find suitable, alternative housing, Jones and her family were forced to leave the State.

  15. In an attempt to remedy problems caused by Defendants' discriminatory housing policies, Spencer and Toni Jones contacted the Idaho Fair Housing Council for assistance.

  16. The Idaho Fair Housing Council diverted resources from its usual educational and enforcement activities to assist the Jones family.

  17. On or about October 8, 1998, Spencer and Toni Jones filed a timely complaint with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (hereinafter HUD) pursuant to Section 810(a) of the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 3610(a), alleging that Defendants discriminated in housing because of familial status. In their complaint, the Joneses alleged that on or about April 1, 1998, Defendants engaged in unlawful discrimination because of familial status by refusing the Joneses' application to rent an apartment at Saturn Village Apartments because of Defendants' policies limiting occupancy to two persons per bedroom and prohibiting children of different genders, regardless of age, from sharing bedrooms.

  18. On or about October 15, 1998, the director of the Idaho Fair Housing Council filed a timely complaint with HUD pursuant to Section 810(a) of the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 3610(a), alleging that Defendants discriminated in housing because of familial status. In its complaint, the Idaho Fair Housing Council alleged that its purpose of eliminating discrimination had been frustrated and its resources diverted from other activities because of discriminatory policies at Saturn Village Apartments.

  19. Pursuant to the requirements of 42 U.S.C. §§ 3610(a) & (b), the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development conducted and completed an investigation of the complaints filed by Spencer and Toni Jones and the Idaho Fair Housing Council, attempted conciliation without success, and prepared a final investigative report. Based on information gathered in the investigation, the Secretary, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3610(g)(1), determined that reasonable cause existed to believe that discriminatory housing practices had occurred. Accordingly, on September 20, 2000, the Secretary issued a Charge of Discrimination pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3610(g)(2)(A), charging Defendants with engaging in discriminatory housing practices in violation of the Fair Housing Act.

  20. On or about October 16, 2000, complainants Spencer and Toni Jones and the Idaho Fair Housing Council elected to have the Charge resolved in a civil action filed in federal district court, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3612(a).

  21. On October 17, 2000, the Chief Administrative Law Judge issued a Notice of Election of Judicial Determination and terminated the administrative proceeding on the complaints filed by Spencer and Toni Jones and the Idaho Fair Housing Council.

  22. Following this Notice of Election, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development authorized the Attorney General to commence a civil action, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o).

  23. Defendants, through the actions referred to in paragraphs 11 through 13, have:

    1. refused to rent, or to negotiate for the rental of, or otherwise made unavailable or denied, a dwelling because of familial status, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(a);

    2. discriminated in the terms, conditions or privileges of the rental of a dwelling because of familial status, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(b); and

    3. made, or caused to be made, statements with respect to the sale or rental of a dwelling that indicate a preference, limitation or discrimination because of familial status, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(c).

  24. Spencer and Toni Jones and their children and the Idaho Fair Housing Council are aggrieved persons, as defined in 42 U.S.C. § 3602(i), and have suffered damages as a result of the Defendants' conduct described above.

  25. The discriminatory actions of Defendants were intentional, willful and taken in disregard of the rights of others.

WHEREFORE, the United States prays that the court enter an ORDER that:

  1. Declares that the discriminatory housing practices of the Defendants as set forth above violate the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601-3619;

  2. Enjoins Defendants, their agents, employees, successors, and all other persons in active concert or participation with them from discriminating because of familial status against any person in any aspect of the rental of a dwelling;

  3. Awards such damages as would fully compensate Spencer and Toni Jones and their children and the Idaho Fair Housing Council for injuries caused by Defendants' discriminatory conduct, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 3612(o)(3) and 3613(c)(1); and

  4. Awards punitive damages to Spencer and Toni Jones and their children and the Idaho Fair Housing Council pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 3612(o)(3) and 3613(c)(1).

The United States further prays for such additional relief as the interests of justice may require.

JANET RENO
Attorney General

BILL LANN LEE
Assistnant Atorney General

JOAN A. MAGAGNA
Chief, Housing and Civil Enforcement Section

TIMOTHY J. MORAN
NANCY F. LANGWORTHY
Attorneys
Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Justice
P.O. Box 65998
Washington, DC 20035-5998
Tel: 202-616-8925

BETTY H. RICHARDSON
United States Attorney

D. MAC HAWS
Assistant United States Attorney
First Interstate Center
877 W. Main St., Ste 201,
Boise, Idaho 83702
Tel.: 208-334-1211


Document Filed: December 15, 2000.
General Information Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
 
Leadership
Steven H. Rosenbaum
Chief
Contact
Housing & Civil
Enforcement Section
(202) 514-4713
TTY - 202-305-1882
FAX - (202) 514-1116
To Report an Incident of Housing Discrimination:
1-800-896-7743
Mailing Contact
U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Housing and Civil Enforcement Section, NWB
Washington, D.C. 20530

Email: fairhousing@usdoj.gov

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