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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF IDAHO


UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
     Plaintiff,

v.

CIV 98-0455-E-BLW

MARVIN A. GARDNER,
     Defendant.

______________________________

CIVIL RIGHTS 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 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 Marvin A. Gardner is a resident of the District of Idaho. At all relevant times, Defendant Marvin A. Gardner owned a four-unit residential rental property located at 122 N. 4th E., Rexburg, Idaho 83440, in the District of Idaho. The apartments in this four-unit residential rental property are dwellings within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 3602(b).

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

  5. In November 1997, Defendant Marvin A. Gardner caused an advertisement for a vacancy in the four-unit property to be placed in the Rexburg Standard-Journal, a twice-weekly newspaper. Inter alia, the advertisement stated that "no children" would be permitted in the apartment.

  6. Upon seeing the advertisement, representatives of the Idaho Fair Housing Council instructed two testers to telephone the number listed in the advertisement to inquire about renting the apartment. Defendant Marvin A. Gardner told each of the two testers that occupancy of the apartment by children would be prohibited or restricted.

  7. On or about March 13, 1998, the director of the Idaho Fair Housing Council filed a timely housing discrimination complaint with HUD pursuant to Section 810(a) of the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 3610(a), alleging that Defendant discriminated in housing because of familial status. In its complaint, the Idaho Fair Housing Council alleges that "the discriminatory practice documented through testing frustrates the mission of the Council and encourages other housing providers or consumers to believe that not renting to families with children is a permissible practice."

  8. Pursuant to the requirements of 42 U.S.C. §§ 3610(a) and (b), the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development conducted and completed an investigation of the complaint filed by 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 exists to believe that discriminatory housing practices had occurred. Accordingly, on August 28, 1998, the Secretary issued a Charge of Discrimination pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3610(g)(2)(A), charging Defendant Marvin A. Gardner with engaging in discriminatory housing practices in violation of the Fair Housing Act.

  9. On or about September 21, 1998, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3612(a), Defendant Marvin A. Gardner elected to have the charge resolved in a civil action filed in federal district court.

  10. On September 22, 1998, the Chief Administrative Law Judge issued a Notice of Election of Judicial Determination and terminated the administrative proceeding on the complaints filed by the Idaho Fair Housing Council.

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

  12. Defendant Marvin A. Gardner, through the actions referred to in paragraphs 5 and 6, has 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).

  13. The Idaho Fair Housing Council is an aggrieved person, as defined in 42 U.S.C. § 3602(i), and has suffered damages as a result of the Defendant Marvin A. Gardner's conduct described above.

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

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

  2. Enjoins Defendant Marvin A. Gardner, his 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; and

  3. Awards such damages as would fully compensate the Idaho Fair Housing Council for injuries caused by Defendant Marvin A. Gardner's discriminatory conduct, 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
Acting Assistant Attorney General

JOAN A. MAGAGNA
Chief, Housing and Civil Enforcement Section

JOSEPH D. RICH
CLAY G. GUTHRIDGE
Attorneys
Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
Civil Rights Division
Department of Justice
P.O. Box 65998
Washington, D.C. 20035-5998
202-514-4746

BETTY H. RICHARDSON
United States Attorney

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

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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