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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF MINNESOTA
CIV. NO. 02-CV-2897 (PAM/RLE)

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,

                                     Plaintiff,

                           v.
                                                                                    
DENNIS and SUSAN GUSTAFSON,

                                     Defendants.


CONSENT DECREE

The United States of America ("United States") commenced this action on behalf of Randal Perron, John Perron, Louise Perron, Brian Jorgenson, Lisa Jorgenson, John Kopp, and Stanley Jakubowski ("the Aggrieved Parties") pursuant to the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3612(0) & 3614(a). The State of Minnesota intervened in this action to enforce the Minnesota Human Rights Act, Minn. Stat. § 363.01 et seq. (2000), and on behalf of Randal Perron, John Perron, Louise Perron, Brian Jorgenson, Lisa Jorgenson, and John Kopp. The Complaints filed by the United States and the State of Minnesota detail the allegations against Defendants and are incorporated into this Consent Decree by reference. Defendants deny the allegations.

Plaintiffs and Defendants agree that this Court has jurisdiction over the subject matter of this case and that the controversy should be resolved without further proceedings and without an evidentiary hearing. Therefore, the parties have consented to the entry of this Consent Decree.

I. PROHIBITORY INJUNCTION

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED, ADJUDGED, and DECREED that Defendants Dennis and Susan Gustafson, their agents, employees, and all other persons in active concert or participation with them in the sale or rental of dwellings (1) are hereby permanently enjoined from:

A. Discriminating in the sale or rental, or to otherwise make unavailable or deny, a dwelling to any buyer or renter because of a disability of: (1) that buyer or renter; (2) a person residing in or intending to reside in that dwelling after it is sold, rented, or made available; or (3) any person associated with that buyer or renter;

B. Discriminating against any person in the terms, conditions, or privileges of sale or rental of a dwelling, or in the provision of services of facilities in connection with such dwelling, because of a disability of: (1) that person; (2) a person residing in or intending to reside in that dwelling after it is so sold, rented, or made available; or (3) any person associated with that person; and

C. Making, printing, or publishing, or causing to be made, printed, or published, any notice, statement, or advertisement with respect to the sale or rental of a dwelling that indicates any limitation or discrimination based on disability (2) or an intention to make any such limitation or discrimination;

D. Coercing, intimidating, threatening, retaliating against, or interfering with any person, including each of the Aggrieved Parties in the exercise or enjoyment of the right to equal housing opportunity or because such person has sought to exercise his or her right to equal housing opportunity or has aided or encouraged any person in the exercise or enjoyment of such right.

II. MONETARY DAMAGES

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that on or before January 30, 2003, Defendants shall make the following payments:

A. Defendants shall pay to Randal Perron, John Perron, Louise Perron, Lisa Jorgenson, Brian Jorgenson, John Kopp, and Stanley Jakubowski the amount of Two Hundred Fifty Thousand Dollars ($250,000).

B. In consideration of and concurrently with Defendants' payment to them, Randal Perron, John Perron, Louise Perron, Lisa Jorgenson, Brian Jorgenson, John Kopp, and Stanley Jakubowski shall each execute and deliver to Defendants a Release in the form of Attachment A to this Consent Decree. Defendants' obligation to make this monetary disbursement shall be contingent upon the execution of the Releases by Randal Perron, John Perron, Louise Perron, Lisa Jorgenson, Brian Jorgenson, John Kopp, and Stanley Jakubowski and their delivery to counsel for Defendants.

C. Payment shall be by certified check made payable to Randal Perron, John Perron, Louise Perron, Brian Jorgenson, Lisa Jorgenson, John Kopp, and Stanley Jakubowski, and delivered to counsel for the United States on or before January 30, 2003. Upon receipt, the United States shall forward the certified check to the Aggrieved Parties.

III. CONVEYANCE OF LOTS

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that:

A. On or about January 30, 2003, the following lots in the Whispering Pines subdivision in Harris, Minnesota, shall be conveyed from Defendants Dennis and Susan Gustafson to G&K Builders, Inc.:

Lot 1, Block 1 Whispering Pines Addition;

Lot 4, Block 1 Whispering Pines Addition; and

Lot 3, Block 1 Whispering Pines Addition.

Each lot shall be conveyed by warranty deed for the price of $49,500. The above-referenced lots are being conveyed to G&K Builders on behalf of Randal Perron, John Perron, Louise Perron, Lisa Jorgenson, and Brian Jorgenson, for G&K Builders to construct homes on each of the above-referenced lots for the Perrons and the Jorgensons and then to convey the homes and lots to the Jorgensons and the Perrons pursuant to a separate agreement to be executed by G&K Builders and the Jorgensons and Perrons. In this transaction, the Perrons and Jorgensons are represented by "REMAX associates plus" and Stanley Jakubowski.

B. Defendants Dennis and Susan Gustafson shall not obstruct in any way the construction of the three homes on the above-referenced lots once the lots have been conveyed by them. Defendants shall also comply with all city and county ordinances and regulations regarding the roadway, utilities, and culverts in the Whispering Pines subdivision in order to facilitate the construction of the homes on the above-referenced lots.

IV. AFFIRMATIVE RELIEF

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Defendants shall take the following affirmative steps:

A. Within thirty (30) days from the date of entry of this Consent Decree, Defendants shall serve on counsel for the United States and counsel for the State of Minnesota a statement, under oath, in the form of Attachment B to this Decree, verifying that they have read this Decree, understand their legal responsibilities under this Decree, and will comply with this Decree;

B. For the period of three (3) years after the entry of this Consent Decree, if Defendants employ or otherwise contract with any other person to assist in the sale or rental of a dwelling, other than their personal residence, Defendants shall, within ten (10) days of entering into such a relationship:

(1) instruct any such person in writing that such sale or rental shall be in accordance with the Fair Housing Act and the Minnesota Human Rights Act and that such dwelling must be rented or sold to any qualified prospective purchaser notwithstanding any disability of any such person.

C. For the period of three (3) years after entry of this Consent Decree, if Defendants place any advertisements or utilize any promotional literature for any dwelling offered by them for sale or rental, any such advertisement or promotional literature shall conform with the provisions of the regulations promulgated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development ("HUD") at 24 C.F.R. Part 109. The fair housing logo and slogan shall appear in all advertising by Defendants, including all brochures, handouts, stationery, forms, and other writings that are routinely used to communicate with prospective tenants. Such logo and slogan shall be prominently placed and legible.

V. RECORD KEEPING

It is FURTHER ORDERED that beginning ten (10) days after the date of this Consent Decree and continuing for a period of three (3) years after the entry of this Consent Decree, Defendants shall create and maintain the following records:

A. Representative copies of all advertising, if any, for dwellings offered for sale or rental by Defendants identifying the media in which such advertising was placed and the date(s) published;

B. A log indicating, with respect to each dwelling offered for sale or rental by Defendants: (1) the name, address, and telephone number of each person who offers to purchase or rent that property; (2) the terms of the offer; (3) whether the person making the offer proposes to use the property as a group home or residence for persons with disabilities; and (4) the disposition of the offer, including the dates and terms of any counteroffer by either party.

C. A list of all persons whom Defendants have contracted with or employed to assist in the sale or rental of any dwellings.

VI. INSPECTION OF RECORDS

It is FURTHER ORDERED that for a period of three (3) years after entry of this Consent Decree, counsel for the United States and the State of Minnesota shall have the right, during normal business hours, to inspect and copy any of the records described in Part V of this Decree upon reasonable written notice to Defendants. Counsel for the United States and the State of Minnesota shall attempt to minimize any inconvenience and expense to Defendants during such inspection and copy of such records.

VII. REPORTING

It is FURTHER ORDERED that Defendants shall serve the following reports on counsel for the United States:

A. Within thirty (30) days of the date of this Decree, Defendants shall provide a report indicating all actions taken to comply with Sections IV and V of this Decree, including providing a copy of documents pertaining to Section V. If Defendants have not engaged in the offering of dwellings for sale or rent, Defendants shall file a statement to that effect with counsel for the United States and the same will constitute full compliance thereof.

B. For a period of three (3) years after the entry of this Decree, Defendants shall provide to the United States, at six (6) month intervals, copies of the records required under Section V. The reports under this provision shall be due no later than ten (10) days after the close of each six (6) month period. If Defendants have not engaged in the offering of dwellings for sale or rent, Defendants will file a statement to that effect with counsel for the United States and the same will constitute full compliance thereof.

VIII. MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS

A. Duration of Consent Decree. This Consent Decree shall remain in effect for three (3) years and three (3) months after the date of its entry.

B. Status of Future Violations. By consenting to the entry of this Consent Decree, the parties agree that any future violation of the Fair Housing Act by Defendants occurring after the date of this Decree shall constitute a "subsequent violation" pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3614(d)(1)(C)(ii).

C. Dismissal of Complaints; Right to Petition to Reopen. The United States' Complaint and the State of Minnesota's Complaint shall be dismissed without prejudice as to the right of the United States and/or the State of Minnesota to petition the Court, at any time during the duration of this Decree, to reopen the case for the purpose of enforcing the Decree.

D. Resolution of Interpretation Disputes. The parties to this Consent Decree shall endeavor in good faith to resolve informally any differences regarding interpretation of and compliance with this Consent Decree prior to bringing such matters to the Court for resolution.

E. Cost and Attorney Fees. Each party to this litigation agrees to bear its own costs and attorneys fees associated with this litigation.

F. Interest. In the event that Defendants fail to make any payment due under the provisions of Sections II supra on or before the due date, Defendants agree that interest shall accrue on any amount owing - calculated from the due date set forth in this Consent Decree - at the amount of interest accruing for civil judgments as provided pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1961.

G. Bankruptcy Provisions. Defendants agree and expressly warrant that they have reviewed their financial situation and that they are currently solvent within the meaning of 11 U.S.C. § 547(b)(3) and will remain solvent following their payment to the Aggrieved Parties. Further, all the parties expressly warrant that, in evaluating whether to execute this Consent Decree, they: (i) have intended that the mutual promises, covenants, and obligations set forth herein constitute a contemporaneous exchange for new value given to Defendants, within the meaning of 11 U.S.C. § 547(c)(1), and (ii) have concluded that these mutual promises, covenants and obligations do, in fact, constitute such a contemporaneous exchange. In the event Defendants commence, or a thirty party commences, within 91 days of any payment under this Consent Decree, any case, proceeding, or other action (a) under any law relating to bankruptcy, insolvency, reorganization or relief of debtors, seeking to have any order for relief of Defendants' debts, or seeking to adjudicate Defendants as bankrupt or insolvent, or (b) seeking appointment of a receiver, trustee, custodian or other similar official for Defendants or for all or any substantial part of Defendants' assets, Defendants agree as follows:

1. Defendants' obligations under this Consent Decree may not be avoided pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 547, and Defendants will not argue or otherwise take the position in any such case, proceeding, or action that: (i) Defendants' obligations under this Consent Decree may be avoided under 11 U.S.C. § 547; (ii) Defendants were insolvent at the time this Consent Decree was entered into, or became insolvent as a result of the payment made to the Aggrieved Parties; or (iii) the mutual promises, covenants, and obligations set forth in this Consent Decree do not constitute a contemporaneous exchange for new value given to Defendants.

2. In the event that Defendants' obligations in this Consent Decree are avoided through the exercise of a trustee's avoidance powers under the Bankruptcy Code, the United States, the State of Minnesota, or the Aggrieved Parties, at their sole option, may rescind the releases in this Consent Decree and bring any civil or administrative claim, action, or proceeding against Defendants for the claims that would otherwise be covered by the releases provided. If the United States, the State of Minnesota, or the Aggrieved Parties choose to do so, Defendants agree that: (i) any such claims, actions or proceedings brought by the United States, the State of Minnesota, or the Aggrieved Parties are not subject to an "automatic stay" pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 362(a) as a result of the action, case, or proceeding described in the first clause of this Paragraph, and that Defendants will not argue or otherwise contend that the claims, actions, or proceedings of the United States, the State of Minnesota, or the Aggrieved Parties are subject to an automatic stay; (ii) Defendants will not plead, argue, or otherwise raise any defenses under the theories of statute of limitations, laches, estoppel, or similar theories, to any such civil or administrative claims, actions, or proceeding which are brought by the United States, the State of Minnesota, or the Aggrieved Parties within sixty (60) calendar days of written notification to Defendants that the releases herein have been rescinded pursuant to this paragraph, except to the extent such defenses were available on November 12, 2002; and (iii) the United States, the State of Minnesota, and the Aggrieved Parties have a valid claim against Defendants in the amount of $ 250,000, and the United States, the State of Minnesota, and the Aggrieved Parties may pursue their claim, inter alia, in the case, action, or proceeding referenced in the first clause of this paragraph, as well as in any other case, action, or proceeding.

It is so ORDERED this day of 2002.


__________________________

Paul A. Magnuson
United States District Judge

Dated: RALPH F. BOYD, JR.
Assistant Attorney General
Civil Rights Division
United States Department of Justice


THOMAS B. HEFFELFINGER
United States Attorney


____________________________
By: GREGORY G. BROOKER
Atty. Reg. No. 166066
Assistant U.S. Attorney
600 U.S. Courthouse
300 South Fourth Street
Minneapolis, MN 55415
(612) 664-5600


Attorneys for Plaintiff United States
of America

Dated: MIKE HATCH
Attorney General
State of Minnesota

___________________
By: Erica Jacobson
Atty. Reg. No. 49360
Assistant Attorney General
525 Park Street, Suite 200
St. Paul, MN 55103-2106
(651) 296-3546

Attorneys for Plaintiff State of
Minnesota

Dated: JOHNSON, KILLEN & SEILER, P.A.

_____________________________
By: Laura J. Schacht
Atty. Reg. No. 251070
230 West Superior Street
Suite 800
Duluth, MN 55802
(218) 722-6331

Attorneys for Defendants Dennis and
Susan Gustafson

Dated: ________________________
Dennis Gustafson

Dated: _________________________
Susan Gustafson


1. As used herein, the term "dwellings" shall have the same meaning as that term is defined in 42 U.S.C.§ 3602(b) and shall include any vacant land which is offered for sale or lease for the construction or location thereon of any building which is designed or intended for occupancy as a residence by one or more families.

2. As used herein, the term "disability" shall have the same meaning as the term "handicap" as defined in 42 U.S.C. § 3602(h).


Document Filed: December 31, 2002.
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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