IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF GEORGIA
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
HABERSHAM PROPERTIES, INC.;
d/b/a Crescent Court
PEACHTREE BATTLE INVESTORS, L.L.C.;
The United States of America alleges:
- 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 et seq.
- This Court has jurisdiction over this action under 28 U.S.C. § 1345 and 42 U.S.C. § 3614.
- Crescent Court Apartments is a 60-unit apartment
complex located at 1021 Scott Boulevard in Decatur, Georgia.
- Defendant, Habersham Properties, Inc., is the manager
of the Crescent Court Apartment complex, as well as other
properties, including approximately 30 apartment communities in
DeKalb County, and has its principal place of business in the
Northern District of Georgia.
- Defendant, Peachtree Battle Investors II, a limited
liability company, is the corporate owner of the Crescent Court
Apartment complex, with headquarters located in DeKalb County.
The company has its principal place of business in the Northern
District of Georgia.
- Defendant, Suzanne Monner, is the rental manager of
Crescent Court Apartments, and resides in the Northern District
of Georgia. Defendant, Suzanne Monner, was the rental manager at
Crescent Court Apartments during the time of the acts alleged in
paragraphs 8-11 of this complaint.
- The apartments at the Crescent Court Apartment complex
are dwellings within the meaning of the Fair Housing Act, 42
U.S.C. § 3602(b).
- The United States Department of Justice conducted an
investigation from February, 2001 through August, 2001 to
determine Defendants' compliance with the Fair Housing Act. As
part of its investigation, the Department of Justice conducted a
series of tests to evaluate the Defendants' compliance with the
Fair Housing Act. Testers are persons who, without the intention
of renting an apartment, seek information about the availability
of dwellings to determine whether discriminatory housing
practices are occurring at a particular property.
- In each test conducted by the Department of Justice,
African-American and white testers went to Crescent Court
Apartments and inquired about available apartments.
- Defendants consistently told white testers about
availabilities at Crescent Court, and offered them the
opportunity to view the units, while telling the African-American
testers that no units were available to view or rent at Crescent
Court during the testers' requested time period. Defendants also
steered the African-American testers to other properties managed
by and/or owned by Defendant Habersham Properties, Inc.
- In January, 2001, Lynda Osborne, an African-American
woman, inquired about the availability of an apartment at the
Crescent Court apartment complex. Defendants falsely told Ms. Osborne that there were no available units to rent at Crescent Court, and that there were none that she could inspect. Defendants misrepresented the availability of housing to Ms. Osborne because of her race and/or color.
- The conduct, as described above, indicates that the
Defendants are engaged in housing practices that discriminate on
the basis of race at the Crescent Court Apartment complex,
- Representing to African-Americans inquiring about apartments that no dwelling units are available for rent at Crescent Court, while telling white applicants that apartments are available for rent;
- Discouraging African-Americans from renting at
Crescent Court, while encouraging white persons to rent
- Refusing to allow African-Americans to view vacant
apartments at Crescent Court, while allowing white
persons to view those apartments; and
- Steering African-Americans, but not white persons,
away from Crescent Court apartments to other properties
owned and/or managed by Defendants even when there were
vacancies at Crescent Court.
- The conduct of the Defendants described in the
previously numbered paragraphs constitutes a:
- Refusal to rent, a refusal to negotiate for the rental of, or otherwise making unavailable or denying dwellings to persons because of their race or color in violation of §3604(a); and
- Representation to persons because of their race or
color that dwellings are not available for rental
when such dwellings are in fact so available in
violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(d).
- The conduct of the Defendants described above
- a pattern or practice of resistance to the full enjoyment of rights granted by the Fair Housing Act, 42
U.S.C. §§3601, et seq.; and
- a denial to a group of persons of rights granted by
the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§3601, et seq., which denial raises an issue of general public importance.
- As a result of Defendants' discriminatory conduct,
Lynda Osborne has suffered damages, and is an aggrieved person as
defined in 42 U.S.C. §3602(i).
- There may be other individuals who have been victims of
the Defendants' discriminatory housing practices who have
suffered damages as a result of the Defendants' conduct described
above. Such persons are aggrieved persons, as defined in 42
- The Defendants' conduct described above was
intentional, willful, and taken in disregard for the rights of others.
WHEREFORE, the United States prays that the Court enter an
- Declares that the Defendants' policies and practices,
as alleged herein, violate the Fair Housing Act;
- Enjoins the Defendants, their officers, employees, and
agents, and all other persons in active concert or participation
with Defendants, from:
- Discriminating against any person on the basis of race or color in any aspect of the rental of a dwelling;
- Failing or refusing to notify the public that
dwellings owned or operated by the Defendants are
available to all persons on a nondiscriminatory basis;
- Failing or refusing to take such affirmative steps
as may be necessary to restore, as nearly as
practicable, the victims of the Defendants' unlawful
practices to the position that they would have been in
but for the discriminatory conduct;
- Awards such damages as would fully compensate each per-son aggrieved by the Defendants' discriminatory housing practices
for injuries caused by the Defendants' pattern or practice of
discriminatory conduct, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3614(d(1(B;
- Awards each person aggrieved by Defendants'
discriminatory conduct punitive damages because of the
intentional and willful nature of the conduct, pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 3614(d)(1)(B); and
- Assesses a civil penalty against the Defendants in the
amount 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.
|WILLIAM S. DUFFEY, JR.
United States Attorney
Northen District of Georgia
75 Sprint Street, S.W.
Atlanta, GA 30303
|JOHN D. ASHCROFT
RALPH F. BOYD, JR.
Assistant Attorney General
Civil Rights Division
||JOAN A. MAGAGNA
Chief, Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
Civil Rights Division
ISABELLE M. THABAULT
CHARLA D. JACKSON
U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
Housing & Civil Enforcement Section
10th & Constitution Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20530
Document Filed: June 5, 2002