IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
CIVIL ACTION NO. 00-331-DRH
CITY OF FAIRVIEW HEIGHTS,
SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT
- This action is brought by the United States of America to
enforce the provisions of the Fair Housing Act, as amended,
42 U.S.C. §§ 3601-3619. It is brought pursuant to sections
814(a) and 814(b)(1)(A) of the Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3614(a) and
- This Court has jurisdiction over this action under
28 U.S.C. § 1345, 42 U.S.C. § 3614(a), and 42 U.S.C. § 3614(b).
- Defendant, the City of Fairview Heights, Illinois, is a
municipality of the State of Illinois, located within the
Southern District of Illinois.
- Defendant City of Fairview Heights exercises zoning and
land use authority over the land within its perimeters.
Defendant City of Fairview Heights has enacted and enforces the
Fairview Heights Zoning Ordinances, § 14 of the Ordinances of
Fairview Heights. Among its regular duties are to approve or
reject applications to build residential developments within the
- According to the 1990 Census, the City of Fairview
Heights has a population of 14,351, of whom only 1158 or 8.1% are
- Complainant T.R. Forte Investments, Inc., is a real
estate development and investment company based in DeSoto, Texas,
and run by complainant Rodney L. Forte. Forte is African-American.
- In partnership with The Lasker Construction Company, a
construction firm based in Conway, Arkansas, Forte developed a
plan to build The Villas at Lake Chester ("The Villas"), a 154-unit luxury apartment complex in Fairview Heights. The Villas
were to be sited on 26.5 acres of undeveloped land in Fairview
Heights zoned for multifamily housing. The owner of the Lasker
Construction Company, Greg Lasker, is also African-American.
- Pursuant to the development plans, an appraiser and a
real estate agent retained by Forte met with city officials in
the spring and summer of 1998 and discussed the proposed project.
Both the appraiser, Lee Hill, and the real estate agent, Chiquita
Kimari, are African-American.
- On October 9, 1998, Forte filed with the proper city
office an application for a permit to build the Villas project,
along with all necessary documentation.
- In November and December of 1998, several public
hearings were held to consider Forte's application. These
hearings were held before the city's Planning Commission,
Planning Committee, and City Council. Forte, Lasker, and Kimari
attended these meetings, and Forte made presentations at each
outlining the proposal. At the end of each hearing, the relevant
municipal body voted to reject Forte's application. On December
1, 1998, the City Council adopted the recommendations of the
Planning Commission and Planning Committee by passing Resolution
No. 2560-'98, which the Mayor approved on December 2, 1998.
- Forte's application and the Villas proposal met all
requirements set forth in the applicable city ordinances.
- The various public hearings on the Villas proposal were
well attended by the public, almost all of whom were opposed to
the development project. Many local residents expressed concerns
that the apartment complex would be filled with tenants using HUD
"Section 8" vouchers or other forms of government rent subsidies.
City residents continued to voice these concerns even after Forte
assured them that he would not accept rent subsidies.
- Major reasons cited by the city for rejecting the
development were the expected impact on traffic and school
services. Prior to the time of its decision, the city received
letters from local school and road officials indicating that the
expected impact on roads and schools would not be severe. In
addition, the city had approved an even larger residential
development for the same site in 1985 which was estimated to have
a much greater impact on schools and roads.
- The Villas complex would likely have brought a
significant number of African-Americans into Fairview Heights.
Apartment complexes generally, as compared to single family homes
in Fairview Heights and surrounding areas, have a larger
percentage of African American residents.
- The opposition to the Villas development was in
significant part racial in nature. All of the principals
involved in promoting the Villas development are African-American. In voting against the Villas proposal, the City of
Fairview Heights acted out of fears that African-Americans would
move into the development, and/or to appease citizens who had
- The opposition to the Villas development was also based
in significant part on a desire to exclude and/or limit the
numbers of families with children. In voting against the Villas
proposal, the City of Fairview Heights acted out of fears that
families with children would move into the development, and/or to
appease citizens who had similar fears.
- On February 3, 1999, Forte filed with the Secretary of
the Department of Housing and Urban Development ("HUD") a
complaint of housing discrimination. An amended complaint was
later filed on April 14, 1999. Complainant Forte's complaint
alleges that Fairview Heights' denial of his application to build
the Villas constituted discrimination based upon race in
violation of the Fair Housing Act. The Secretary of HUD has
determined that the complaint involves the legality of state or
local zoning or other land use laws or ordinances. Accordingly,
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3610(g), the Secretary has referred the
matter to the Attorney General for appropriate action.
FIRST CLAIM FOR RELIEF
- The Attorney General is authorized by 42 U.S.C.
§ 3614(b)(1)(A) to bring this action upon referral by the
Secretary of HUD.
- In denying approval for the Villas development, the city
of Fairview Heights made housing unavailable on the basis of race
and familial status, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(a). The
city's actions had, and were intended to have, a disparate impact
upon African-American residents of Fairview Heights and the
surrounding area, and perpetuated existing patterns of racial
segregation in housing.
- There are persons, including complainant Forte, who are
victims of Defendant's discriminatory practices as described
above and are aggrieved persons as defined in 42 U.S.C.
§ 3602(i). These persons have suffered, or may have suffered,
damages as a result of Defendant's discriminatory conduct.
- Defendant's conduct has been intentional, willful, and
taken in disregard of the rights of others.
SECOND CLAIM FOR RELIEF
- Plaintiff re-alleges and herein incorporates by
reference the allegations set forth in paragraphs 1-21 above.
- The conduct of Defendant described in paragraphs 1-21,
above, constitutes a denial to a group of persons of rights
granted by 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, which denial raises an issue of general public importance.
WHEREFORE, the United States prays that the court enter a
- Declares that the actions of Defendant described herein
constitute a violation of the Fair Housing Act;
- Enjoins Defendant, its officials, agents, and employees,
and all other persons in active concert or participation with
them, from continuing to discriminate on the basis of race or
familial status in violation of 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601-3619;
- Requires such actions by Defendant as may be necessary
to restore all persons aggrieved by Defendant's discriminatory
housing practices to the position they would have occupied but
for Defendant's discriminatory conduct, including, but not
limited to, granting approval for the proposed Villas
- Awards such damages as would fully compensate each
person aggrieved by Defendant's discriminatory housing practices
for the injuries that they have suffered as a result of
Defendant's discriminatory conduct, pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 3614(d)(1)(B); and
- Assesses a civil penalty against Defendant in an amount
of money authorized by 42 U.S.C. § 3614(d)(1)(C), in order to
vindicate the public interest.
The United States further prays for such additional relief
as the interests of justice may require.
|W. CHARLES GRACE
United States Attorney
|JOHN D. ASHCROFT
JAMES M. HIPKISS
Assistant United States Attorney
9 Executive Drive, Suite 300
Fairview Heights, IL 62208
FAX: (618) 628-3720
WILLIAM R. YEOMANS
Acting Assistant Attorney General
Civil Rights Division
JOAN A. MAGAGNA
Chief, Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
||TIMOTHY J. MORAN
RICHARD A. KOFFMAN
KEVIN J. KIJEWSKI
Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Justice
P.O. Box 65998
Washington, D.C. 20035-5998
FAX: (202) 514-1116
Document Filed: .