IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
United States of America,
Civil Action No.: 1:00-cv-00276-SM
Richard Mills; Richard Mills
d/b/a Chestnut Properties;
and Albert Beland,
This action was filed by the United States on June 7, 2000 to enforce the provisions of
Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (the Fair Housing Act), as amended by the Fair
Housing Act Amendments of 1988, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq. In its complaint, the United States
alleges that defendants engaged in a pattern or practice of sex discrimination, in the form of
sexual harassment, in the rental of apartments at 236 Douglas Street, Manchester NH, 03102,
("Haru Gari Apartments") in violation of the Fair Housing Act. Defendants Richard Mills and
Richard Mills d/b/a/ Chestnut Properties are and have been at all times relevant to this action the
owner of the Haru Gari Apartments. Defendant Albert Beland served as on site manager and
Mills' agent at the Haru Gari Apartments from 1986 until 1999.
In its complaint the United States alleges specifically that Defendant Beland subjected
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. The United States further
alleges that defendant Mills knew or should have known of the discriminatory conduct of
defendant Beland but failed 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. Defendants have filed an answer to this complaint in
which they deny the United States' allegations.
The parties have agreed that in order to avoid protracted and costly litigation, this
controversy should be resolved without further litigation. Therefore, without a trial or
adjudication of any of the facts alleged by the United States, the parties consent to the entry of
this Decree. This agreement constitutes full resolution of the United States' pattern or practice
claim brought pursuant to § 42 U.S.C. 3614, and resolves such claim on behalf of those
persons-identified or unidentified-who were aggrieved by those actions of Defendants that
formed the basis of the United States' claims in this lawsuit. However, this Decree shall not
affect the rights, to the extent any such rights exist, of any unidentified aggrieved person under
other sections of the Fair Housing Act.
- Defendants Mills and Beland
It is hereby ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND AGREED that defendants, their agents,
employees, successors, and all persons in active concert or participation with any of them, are
hereby permanently enjoined from:
- Discriminating on the basis of sex against any person in any aspect of the rental of
- 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
- Failing or refusing to take such affirmative steps as may be necessary to 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;
- Making requests for sexual favors, or conduct of a sexual nature, when
submission to such requests is made explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of
an individual's rental of a housing unit; or when submission to, or rejection of,
such a request by an individual forms the basis for any housing decision affecting
- Making any unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors or conduct
of a sexual nature when such advances or requests have the purpose or effect of
substantially interfering with an individual's housing rights or creating an
intimidating, hostile, or offensive housing environment; and
- Coercing, intimidating, threatening, or interfering with any person in the exercise
or enjoyment of, or on account of having exercised or enjoyed, or on account of
having aided or encouraged any other person in the exercise or enjoyment of, any
right granted or protected by the Fair Housing Act.
- Defendant Mills
In addition to the injunctive provisions outlined in I.A.1-6, it is hereby ORDERED that
for a period of seven (7) years from the date of the entry of this Consent Decree defendant Mills,
his agents, employees, successors, and all persons in active concert or participation with him,
- Provide to the United States in writing the name and address of any residential
rental property that is owned in whole or in part by Defendant Mills and not
already listed in this Consent Decree, or that is acquired by him in the future,
within fifteen (15) days of the date of entry of this Decree or within fifteen (15)
days of his acquisition of the property, whichever is later. Defendant shall serve
written notice on the United States of any company, entity or individual selected
to manage, and/or perform duties and responsibilities of an on-site manager within
fifteen (15) days of the date of entry of this Decree or of the managing company or
agent's selection, whichever is later. Defendant shall also serve written notice on
the United States of the name of the purchaser of any of his rental properties
within fifteen (15) days of the date of sale. Defendant Mills shall send all
documents he is required to send to the United States pursuant to this paragraph,
and pursuant to any other provisions of this Decree with the exception of the
checks described in Section II of this Decree, to: U.S. Department of Justice, 10th
and Constitution Avenue, N.W., Civil Rights Division, Chief, Housing and Civil
Enforcement Section, NWB, Suite 7002, Washington, D.C. 20530.
- Implement a written policy against sexual harassment; notify all tenants of
defendant's written policy against sexual harassment, including formal complaint
procedures; and notify all tenants that all dwellings owned, managed or leased by
the defendant are available on an equal opportunity basis without regard to sex.
The written policy and complaint procedure are attached to this Consent Decree as
Exhibit A. Defendant shall disseminate such policies and procedures to all Haru
Gari tenants within ten (10) days of the date on which the Court enters this
- Post an "Equal Housing Opportunity" sign in all rental offices and common
areas of the Haru Gari Apartments, including the laundry facilities, which
indicates that all apartments are available for rent on a nondiscriminatory basis.
An 11 x 14 poster substantially equivalent to the reduced sample appended to this
Decree as Exhibit B will satisfy this requirement. Such poster shall be placed in
a prominent, well-lit, and easily readable location in all rental offices and common
- Implement a fair housing training and education program for any and all
individuals who have an ownership interest in, or have responsibility for
managing or performing managerial duties or responsibilities at the Haru Gari
Apartments, whether individually or as part of a management company or other
entity, at any time during the term of this Decree. As part of this program, within
three (3) months of the date of entry of this Order, all such persons including but
not limited to Defendant Mills and any and all individuals currently serving as on-site managers at any property owned by Defendant Mills, shall attend fair housing
training conducted by a qualified civil rights organization to be selected by
Defendants subject to approval by the United States. Any person who is subject
to this training requirement who is hired after the entry of this decree shall attend
such training within two (2) months of the date on which he or she assumes such
responsibilities. Any individual with regular responsibility for receiving repair or
maintenance requests directly from tenants, or with duties and responsibilities of
collecting rent from, showing apartments to, investigating the qualifications of,
and/or determining whether or not to rent to potential tenants, and each individual
who supervises the work of any such individual or entity, shall be required to
participate in this program. Any and all costs and fees associated with the
training program shall be borne by defendant.
Elements of the fair housing training program shall include, but not be limited to;
- Providing training on the non- discrimination requirements of the federal Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq.;
- Providing each individual with a copy of this Consent Decree and
information concerning the individual's duties and obligations under the
Fair Housing Act and this Decree; and
- Furnishing to each individual a letter in the form set forth in Exhibit A
summarizing defendant's policy of nondiscrimination, and sexual
harassment complaint procedures; informing each such person of the
duties of defendant, his agents and employees pursuant to these policies;
and specifying what disciplinary measures may be taken in the event of
noncompliance, including possible termination and/or sanctions by the
- Upon completion of the training, each individual shall sign a written statement in the form set forth in Exhibit C attesting to the date on which the training was
completed, and to the fact that (1) he or she has received, read and understands the
statements of nondiscrimination outlined in Section I(B)(2) above; 2) he or she
has received the instructions described in Section I(B)(4-5) above; and 3) he or
she will comply with this Decree.
- Provide letters of apology to the four identified aggrieved persons in this action
who will be receiving monetary damages in accordance with this settlement.
Defendant Mills has sent the letters of apology to the United States, who will
forward them to the aggrieved parties.
- Maintain the following records for Haru Gari Apartments and any other rental
properties owned, managed, or acquired by Defendant Mills during the term of
- Name and apartment number of each tenant, the date the tenant signed the
lease, a copy of the signed lease, and date of renewal or termination. For
individuals who moved out of the apartment prior to the expiration of their
lease, the reasons for termination, eviction, or vacation of the apartment;
- Copies of all brochures used and advertisements placed by the defendants,
including the dates and media in which they were published or distributed.
All brochures and/or advertisements shall include either a fair housing
logo, the words "equal housing opportunity provider," and/or the
We are an equal opportunity housing provider. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status or disability.
- Copies of statements of employees, agents, or entities retained by
defendant to manage or perform the duties and responsibilities of manager
at the Haru Gari Apartments in which they acknowledge that they
understand their obligations under this Decree, as required by Paragraph 6
- A log of all discrimination complaints made by tenants or applicants--in
writing, orally, or by any other means--against defendant Mills, his
employees or agents, or other tenants, including the name and address of
the complaining party, and the Defendant's response to the complaint.
- Allow the United States to inspect and copy all records described above, and other
records relevant to compliance with this decree, upon reasonable notice to
defendant. The United States shall attempt to minimize any inconvenience to the
defendant during the inspection and copying of such records.
- Provide the United States six (6) months after entry of this Decree, and every six
(6) months thereafter for a period of seven (7) years, a report containing the
- Copies of all records required to be maintained pursuant to paragraph 8 of
this Decree that have not previously been forwarded pursuant to this
- An affidavit from Defendant Mills affirming that all notices and signs
required pursuant to Section I(B)(3) of the Decree have been posted, and
specifying the locations in which they have been posted. If there has been
no change in the location of the posters, and all posters previously
affirmed remain visible in the same location(s), no new affidavit need be
- Copies of all letters and signed statements prepared or secured pursuant to
Section I(B)(6) that have not previously been forwarded; and
- Report to the United States in writing within ten (10) days of receipt of any
complaint that comes to the attention of defendant, whether communicated in
writing, orally, or by any other means, of sexual harassment or any statements or
conduct alleged to constitute sexual harassment, sexual assault, any unwanted
physical touching, or any unwanted verbal comments of a sexual nature at any
rental property owned, managed, or leased by the defendant involving allegations
against any employee, contractor, agent, owner, or tenant at such property. Such
report shall include full details of the complaint and any action taken or proposed
by defendant in response.
- Report to the United States in the event Defendant Mills sells or otherwise
disposes of his interest in any rental property owned, managed, or leased by him.
Such notification shall be made at least thirty (30) days prior to the sale or transfer
of interest and shall include the identity of the potential purchaser(s) or person(s)
to whom the interest in being transferred.
- Report to the United States the identity of any entity or individual retained or used
to manage or perform any of the duties and/or responsibilities of an apartment
manager at any rental property owned by Defendant Mills, including but not
limited to, collecting rent, receiving repair or maintenance requests directly from
tenants, showing apartments, and serving eviction papers or other notices to
vacate. Such notification shall include the name, address, and telephone number
of the entity or individual Defendant Mills intends to utilize.
- Defendant Beland
- In addition to the injunctive provisions outlined in I.A.1-6, it is hereby
ORDERED that defendant Beland is hereby permanently enjoined from owning,
wholly or in part, operating, consulting, managing, staffing, participating in,
working in (whether paid or unpaid), or otherwise having any involvement in
ownership or management of rental housing properties.
- Defendant Beland acknowledges his liability under the Fair Housing Act, 42
U.S.C. §§ 3604, 3614, and 3617. As part of this agreement Defendant Beland has
provided to the United States a letter of apology addressed to each of the
identified aggrieved persons for his actions and all of the harm that resulted from
those actions. The United States will forward the letters to the aggrieved parties.
- In order to settle the monetary claims of the United States on behalf of the aggrieved persons Defendants shall pay the sum of $90,500.00 in damages. Within thirty (30) days of the date of entry of this Decree, Defendants shall provide to the United States checks made payable to individual aggrieved persons, in amounts designated by the United States. In consideration of these payments, each aggrieved person shall execute a release of claims form substantially equivalent to that set forth in Exhibit D appended hereto signifying that the payment
she is to receive will constitute full settlement of any claims she may have relating to the subject
matter of this lawsuit. The signed release forms shall be provided to Defendants.
- In order to vindicate the public interest, Defendants shall also pay the United
States the sum of $15,000.00 to constitute a civil penalty. A check for $14,500.00 shall be made
payable to the United States Treasury and forwarded to the United States within fifteen (15) days
of the date of this order. The remaining sum of $500.00, to be paid in installments of $50.00 per
month for a period of ten (10) months, shall be paid to the United States directly by defendant
Albert Beland. Defendant Beland shall send the checks, made payable to the United States
Treasury, to the United States. Such monthly payments shall be due to the United States by the
15th day of each month.
The parties agree that the United States District Court for the District of New Hampshire
shall retain jurisdiction of this action for all purposes relating to the enforcement of this Decree.
The time limits for performance imposed by this Decree may be extended by mutual consent of
Ordered this ___________ day of __________, 2001.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
The undersigned apply for and consent to the entry of this Decree:
For the United States:
RALPH F. BOYD, JR.
Assistant Attorney General
Isabelle M. Thabault
Je Yon Jung
Ohio Bar No. 0067441
Catherine A. Bendor
DC Bar No. 442437
U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
Housing and Civil
P.O. Box 65998
Washington, D.C. 20035-5998
For the Defendant Richard Mills:
Andrew Dunn, Esq.
Devine, Millimet & Branch
11 Amherst Street
Manchester, NH 03105
For the Defendant Albert Beland:
Paul Kleinman, Esq.
Bouchard & Kleinman
369 Lafayette Road
Hampton, NH 03842
Document Entered: November 14, 2001.