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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW HAMPSHIRE

United States of America,
     Plaintiff,

v.

Civil Action No.: 1:00-cv-00276-SM

Richard Mills; Richard Mills
d/b/a Chestnut Properties;
and Albert Beland,
     Defendants.

______________________________


COMPLAINT

The United States of America alleges:

  1. JURISDICTION AND VENUE

  1. This action is brought by the United States to enforce the Fair Housing Act, Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, as amended by the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 - 3619.

  2. This Court has jurisdiction over this action under 28 U.S.C. § 1345, 42 U.S.C. § 3612, and 42 U.S.C. § 3614.

  3. Venue is proper under 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b) because the actions giving rise to the United States' allegations occurred in the District of New Hampshire and the subject property is located in the District of New Hampshire.

  1. PROPERTY AND PARTIES

  1. The subject property is an eleven unit residential rental property located at 236 Douglas Street, Manchester, New Hampshire, 03102, (hereinafter "Douglas Street Apartments") that was owned and/or managed by Defendants at all relevant times.

  2. The units at the Douglas Street Apartments are dwellings within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 3602(b). At all relevant times, the property apartment units were, at least, partially subsidized by the Department of Housing and Urban Development under the Section 8 program, and the majority of the units were occupied by low-income persons.

  3. Defendant Richard E. Mills is a resident of Meredith, New Hampshire. Defendant Richard E. Mills and Defendant Richard E. Mills doing business as Chestnut Properties have owned the Douglas Street Apartments from on or about 1986 continuing to the present.

  4. Defendant Albert Beland resides at 2555 Enterprise Road, #16, Orange, Florida, 32763. From at least on or about 1986 to on or about July, 1999, Albert Beland was on-site manager of the Douglas Street Apartments. The duties and responsibilities he performed as on-site manager included accepting tenant applications, collecting rents, providing maintenance, and forwarding notices to Defendant Richard E. Mills to initiate eviction proceedings.

  5. Defendant Albert Beland acted as an agent for Richard E. Mills and Richard E. Mills doing business as Chestnut Properties.

  6. Defendant Richard E. Mills supervised Defendant Albert Beland during the time that Defendant Richard E. Mills and Defendant Richard E. Mills doing business as Chestnut Properties owned the Douglas Street Apartments.

  1. FIRST CLAIM FOR RELIEF

  1. Plaintiff realleges and herein incorporates by reference the allegations set forth in paragraphs 1 through 9 above.

  2. On or about November 9, 1997, complainant Kelly L. Fyles submitted to the Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development ("the Secretary") a complaint alleging housing discrimination on the basis of sex. This complaint, filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3610(a), alleges that Albert Beland had sexually harassed complainant during her tenancy at the Douglas Street Apartments.

  3. Pursuant to the requirements of 42 U.S.C. §§ 3610(a) and (b), the Secretary conducted an investigation of the complaints, attempted conciliation without success, and prepared a final investigative report. Based on the information gathered in that investigation, the Secretary, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3610(g)(1), determined that reasonable cause exists to believe that discriminatory housing practices occurred. Therefore, on April 13, 2000, the Secretary issued a Determination of Reasonable Cause and Charge of Discrimination pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3610(g)(2)(A), charging Richard E. Mills, Richard E. Mills doing business as Chestnut Properties, and Albert Beland with engaging in discriminatory housing practices in violation of the Fair Housing Act.

  4. On or about May 8, 2000, complainant Kelly L. Fyles elected to have the charge resolved in a federal civil action pursuant to Section 812(a) of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3612(a).

  5. On or about May 11, 2000, the Secretary authorized the Attorney General to commence a civil action on behalf of the complainant, pursuant to Section 812(o) of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o).

  6. From at least 1986, Defendants Richard E. Mills, Richard E. Mills doing business as Chestnut Properties, and Albert Beland have discriminated against the complainant and other aggrieved persons on the basis of sex in connection with the rental of dwellings in violation of the Fair Housing Act. Defendant Albert Beland subjected complainant and other female tenants to extensive, continuous, unwelcome, and uninvited sexual harassment; conditioned tenancy on compliance with sexual favors; and created a hostile environment for complainants and other female tenants, in violation of Sections 804(a), 804(b), 804(c), and 818 of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3604(a),(b),(c) and 3617.

  7. Defendants Richard E. Mills and Richard E. Mills doing business as Chestnut Properties knew or should have known of the discriminatory conduct of Defendant Albert Beland but refused to take action to curtail and/or prevent the discriminatory conduct of Albert Beland, in violation of Sections 804(a), 804(b), 804(c), and 818 of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3604(a),(b),(c) and 3617.

  8. The discriminatory practices described above resulted in the actual eviction and/or constructive eviction of complainant and other female tenants from their dwellings, thereby making the dwellings unavailable to them because of their sex in violation of Section 804(a) of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3604(a).

  9. The conduct described above, creating a hostile and abusive environment for complainant and other female tenants and conditioning tenancy upon the acceptance of sexual harassment and performance of sexual favors, constitutes a violation of Section 804(b) of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3604(b).

  10. The conduct described above, including propositioning and/or demanding sexual favors from complainant and other female tenants, constitutes a violation of Section 804(c) of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3604(c).

  11. The conduct described above of coercing, intimidating, threatening, and/or interfering with complainant and other female tenants in their exercise or enjoyment of rights granted by Section 804 of the Fair Housing Act, as amended, constitutes a violation of Section 818 of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3617.

  12. Kelly L. Fyles is an aggrieved person as defined in Section 802(i) of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3602(i). She has suffered damages as a result of Defendants' conduct as described herein.

  13. The conduct of Defendants described herein was intentional, willful, and taken in disregard for the rights of Kelly L. Fyles and other female tenants.

  14. Alternatively, the conduct of Defendants Richard E. Mills and Richard E. Mills doing business as Chestnut Properties described herein was either negligent or intentional, willful, and taken in disregard for the rights of Kelly L. Fyles and other female tenants.

SECOND CLAIM FOR RELIEF

  1. Plaintiff realleges and herein incorporates by reference the allegations set forth in paragraphs 1 through 23 above.

  2. The conduct of the Defendants described above constitutes:

    1. A pattern or practice of resistance to the full enjoyment of rights granted by the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3614(a); and

    2. A denial to a group of persons of rights granted by the Fair Housing Act, which denial raises an issue of general public importance under Section 814(a), 42 U.S.C. § 3614(a).

  3. In addition to complainant Kelly L. Fyles, there are numerous other female victims of Defendants' discriminatory housing practices who are aggrieved persons as defined in Section 802(i) of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3602(i), and who have suffered actual injury and damages as a result of Defendants' conduct as described herein.

  4. The conduct of Defendants, as described herein, was intentional, willful, and taken in disregard for the rights of the victims of the discrimination.

  5. Alternatively, the conduct of Defendants Richard E. Mills and Richard E. Mills doing business as Chestnut Properties, as described herein, was negligent and taken in disregard for the rights of the victims of the discrimination.

PRAYER FOR RELIEF

WHEREFORE, the United States prays that the Court enter an order that:

  1. Declares that Defendants' policies and practices, as alleged herein, violate the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 - 3619;

  2. Enjoins the Defendants, their agents, employees, and successors, and all other persons in active concert or participation with them from:

    1. Discriminating on account of sex against any person in any aspect of the rental of a dwelling;

    2. Interfering with or threatening to take any action against any person in the exercise or enjoyment of rights granted or protected by the Fair Housing Act, as amended; and

    3. Failing or refusing to take such affirmative steps as may be necessary to (1) restore, as nearly as practicable, the victims of the Defendants' past unlawful practices to the position they would have been in but for the discriminatory conduct; and (2) notify residents of their rental properties as well as the public that the properties will be operated in a manner so as not to discriminate on the basis of sex;

  3. Awards such damages as would fully compensate Kelly L. Fyles, and each other identifiable victim of Defendants' discriminatory housing practices for injuries caused by the Defendants' discriminatory conduct, pursuant to Section 814(d)(1)(B) of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3614(d)(1)(B);

  4. Awards punitive damages to Kelly L. Fyles, and each other identifiable victim of Defendants' discriminatory housing practices, pursuant to Section 812(o)(3) and 814(d)(1)(B) of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3612(o)(3) and 3614(d)(1)(B); and

  5. Assesses a civil penalty against each Defendant in order to vindicate the public interest, pursuant to Section 814(d)(1)(C) of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3614(d)(1)(C).

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

JANET RENO
Attorney General

BILL LANN LEE
Acting Assistant Attorney General

JOAN A. MAGAGNA
Chief, Housing and Civil Enforcement Section

BRIAN F. HEFFERNAN
JE YON JUNG
Ohio Bar #0067441
Attorneys
Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
Civil Rights Division
Department of Justice
P.O. Box 65998
Washington, D.C. 20035-5998
Tel.: (202) 305-1457
Fax: (202) 514-1116

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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