The United States Department of Justice Department of Justice SealF The United States Department of Justice
Search The Site
 

HCE Cases black banner

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF GEORGIA

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,

           Plaintiff,

LYNDA LEE OSBORNE,

           Plaintiff-Intervenor

v.

Civil Action No. 1:02-CV -1531(BBM)

HABERSHAM PROPERTIES, INC.;
PEACHTREE BATTLE
INVESTORS II, LLC; and
SUZANNE MONNER,

           Defendants.

Consent Decree

The United States initiated this action on June 5, 2002, pursuant to Section 814 of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3614, alleging that the Defendants have engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination on the basis of race in the rental of dwellings at Crescent Court Apartments, located at 1021 Scott Boulevard in Decatur, Georgia, in violation of the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 3601,et seq. On August 9, 2002, pursuant to Section 42 U.S.C. § 3614(e), Lynda Lee Osborne intervened in this action.

Crescent Court Apartments (hereinafter Crescent Court) is owned by Defendant Peachtree Battle Investors II, L.L.C., and managed by Defendant Habersham Properties, Inc. Defendant Suzanne Monner is the rental agent at Crescent Court and has been employed as such since at least 1994.

From May 2001 through August 2001, the United States Department of Justice conducted a series of fair housing tests which, as alleged by the United States, revealed that the Defendants engaged in racially discriminatory housing practices at Crescent Court. During this testing period, Defendant Suzanne Monner (hereinafter Monner) performed the responsibilities of a rental agent at Crescent Court, including responding to inquiries about apartment vacancies and availabilities. During this period, Monner also was responsible for leasing apartments at Westchester Apartment complex, another complex managed by Defendant Habersham Properties, Inc. (hereinafter Habersham). Had this case proceeded to trial, the United States would have introduced evidence to establish the following facts:

1. Test No. 1:    Monner told a white tester who called on May 18, 2001 that there was an available unit to rent at Crescent Court. On May 21, 2001, Monner told a black tester who came to Crescent Court that nothing was available. On May 22, 2001, Monner told another white tester that she had an available apartment to rent, and she allowed the tester to inspect the unit. The Defendants' records show that there was an apartment available during this time period. The apartment that was available was subsequently rented to a white resident.

2. Test No. 2:   Monner told a white tester who called on June 18, 2001 that she had an apartment at Crescent Court that would be available for August 1, 2001. She told a black tester who came to Crescent Court on June 20, 2001, that she had nothing available for August 1, 2001. Following the black tester's visit, she told a white tester who also visited on June 20, 2001 that she would have an apartment for August 1, 2001. The Defendants' records show that prior to June 18, 2001, Monner was on notice from a previous resident that an apartment would be vacated by July 15, 2001. The apartment that was available was subsequently rented to a white resident.

3. Test No. 3:   Monner told a white tester who called on August 20, 2001 that there was an apartment available to rent at Crescent Court immediately. On August 21, 2001 Monner told a black tester who came to Crescent Court that nothing was available before September 15, 2001. Later in the day on August 21, 2001 following the black tester's visit, Monner told a white tester who visited Crescent Court that she had an apartment available immediately, and allowed the tester to inspect the unit. The Defendants' records show that there were two apartments available during the time of this test. Both available apartments were subsequently rented to a white resident.

The United States and Plaintiff-Intervenor, Lynda Lee Osborne, an African-American woman, would also have submitted the following evidence at trial with respect to Ms. Osborne's attempt to rent an apartment at Crescent Court:

1. Ms. Osborne went to Crescent Court on January 25, 2001, to ask about apartment availability, and Monner told her nothing was available. On January 29, 2001, using a British accent, Ms. Osborne called Monner on the telephone and asked about apartment availability at Crescent Court. Monner told her there was an apartment she could rent that had been available for two weeks;

2. On January 30 and 31, 2001, using a British accent again and the name Katherine Windsor, Ms. Osborne had four more telephone conversations with Monner about seeing and/or renting an apartment at Crescent Court. Over the course of those conversations, Monner continued to tell Ms. Windsor that there was an available apartment and stated that she would meet with her after regular business hours and try to stall or hold off other prospective applicants until Ms. Windsor could come to Crescent Court. On January 30, 2001, Ms. Osborne returned to Crescent Court, and Monner again told her nothing was available;

3. That same day, January 30, 2001, Ms. Osborne also had a white friend, Kevin Shepard, go to Crescent Court to ask about apartment availability. Initially, Monner told him she had nothing available, and he filled out a guest card, just as Ms. Osborne had done five days earlier. However, on February 1, 2001, when Ms. Windsor had failed to come to Crescent Court after making an arrangement the day before to meet Monner to view the available unit, Monner telephoned Mr. Shepard and left a message that she had an available apartment. Monner never called Ms. Osborne back to inform her of an apartment availability;

4. Defendants' records show that there were three available apartments at Crescent Court as of January 25, 2001, the date Ms. Osborne first went there, and that there was at least one available apartment on January 30, 2001, the date of her return visit. In addition, the government's evidence and Defendants' records indicate that a white person visited Crescent Court the same day of Ms. Osborne's first visit on January 25, 2001, was told by Monner that there were at least two units available for rent, and was given a tour of a third vacant unit. This person did not submit an application until January 29, 2001, when she signed a lease for Apartment 103A and subsequently rented the apartment. Defendants' rental records show that apartment 108B also was available at the time of Ms. Osborne's two visits. This unit was subsequently rented to a white woman. Defendants' records also show that an application for Apartment 102D was signed on the day of Ms. Osborne's first visit, and a lease for 102D was signed on the day after Ms. Osborne's first visit. The resident who subsequently rented this unit was an Asian male.

If this case had gone to trial, the United States would also have submitted evidence that: (a) other African-American individuals inquired about apartment availability at Crescent Court during the period between 2000 and 2001; (b) Monner told those individuals that nothing was available; and (c) Defendants' records show that there were apartments available, or which Monner knew would be available in the near future, on the dates when these individuals visited Crescent Court.

The United States contends that the evidence it would have introduced at trial would demonstrate that Defendants refused to rent, refused to negotiate for rental, and/or otherwise made housing unavailable because of race, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(a), and represented to persons because of their race that a dwelling was not available for rental or inspection when such dwelling was in fact so available, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(d). The United States further contends that the evidence would establish that Defendants engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination and denied rights to a group of persons on the basis of race in violation of the Fair Housing Act.

Defendants do not admit the contentions and allegations of the United States and the Plaintiff-Intervenor set forth above, and deny liability in this action. Habersham has represented to the United States that Monner is no longer performing any leasing activities with respect to the Westchester apartment complex, which is managed by Habersham. Habersham has also represented to the United States that, for as long as this decree is in effect, Monner will not show, rent, provide vacancy information, or otherwise manage, in any way, dwelling units at the Westchester apartment complex. In an effort to avoid costly litigation, the Plaintiff United States, the Plaintiff-Intervenor, and the Defendants have voluntarily agreed to resolve the Plaintiffs' respective claims without the necessity of a trial. Therefore, the parties have agreed to the entry of this Consent Decree, as indicated by the signatures below.

Therefore, it is ORDERED, ADJUDGED and DECREED:

I.   Injunctive Relief

The Defendants, their agents, employees, successors, and all persons in active concert or participation with them are hereby enjoined, with respect to the rental of dwelling units, from:

A. Refusing to rent a dwelling unit, refusing or failing to provide or offer information about a dwelling unit, or otherwise making unavailable or denying a dwelling unit to any person because of race;

B. Discriminating against any person in the terms, conditions or privileges of renting a dwelling unit because of race;

C. Misrepresenting to any person because of race that any dwelling unit is not available for inspection or rental when such dwelling unit is, in fact, so available;

II.     Nondiscrimination Policies and Procedures

A. The Defendants shall prepare and implement uniform, Non-discriminatory Policies and Procedures regarding the rental of dwellings that shall be applied equally to all applicants, actual and prospective, regardless of their race or color.

B. Within thirty (30) days of the entry of this Decree, the Defendants shall distribute the Nondiscrimination Policies and Procedures to all of its employees, agents, or anyone acting under their direction, who have the responsibility of showing, renting, or managing dwelling units at Crescent Court, and these policies and procedures will be reviewed, along with a question and answer session, with each employee, agent, or anyone acting under their direction, on an annual basis thereafter. The text of the Nondiscrimination Policies and Procedures shall be as set forth in Attachment A hereto.

III.   Notice to Public of Nondiscrimination Policies

A. Within thirty (30) days after the date of entry of this Consent Decree, Defendants shall take the following steps to notify the public of their nondiscriminatory policies:

1. Prominently post in the rental office at Crescent Court, and the Habersham corporate office, a fair housing sign no smaller than 10 inches by 13 inches that indicates that all apartments are available for rent on a nondiscriminatory basis.

2. Whenever dwelling units are available at Crescent Court prominently post an easily readable "For Rent" or "Vacancy" sign or notice at the entrance to the complex and in front of the rental office. The sign or notice shall include the slogan "Equal Housing Opportunity" and/or the fair housing logo. Such slogan and logo shall be prominently displayed and easily readable.

3. Include the words "Equal Housing Opportunity" and/or the fair housing logo in all rental advertising conducted by Defendants, their agents or employees, in newspapers, flyers, handouts, telephone directories and other written materials; on radio, television or other media broadcasts; and on all billboards, signs, pamphlets, brochures and other promotional literature. The words and/or logo shall be prominently placed and easily readable.

4. Include the following phrase in the standard rental application and lease at Crescent Court using letters of equal size to those of the text in the body of the document:

We are an equal housing opportunity provider. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, religion, handicap or familial status (having children under age 18).

5. Within thirty (30) days of the entry of this Consent Decree, provide written notification to the designated organizations listed in Attachment B, along with the name and address of Crescent Court, that Defendants rent apartments and that their policy is to rent apartments subject to uniform, nondiscriminatory standards to all qualified persons without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, handicap, or familial status.

6. Whenever Defendants publish an advertisement for actual or upcoming vacancies at Crescent Court in any other newspaper, Defendants shall publish the same advertisement in the Atlanta Voice.

IV.    Mandatory Training

A. Within thirty (30) days of the entry of this Order, Defendants shall provide a copy of this Order to their agents and employees involved in showing, renting, or managing dwelling units at Crescent Court and secure the signed statement from each agent or employee acknowledging that he or she has received and read the Order, and had an opportunity to have questions about the Order answered. This statement shall be prepared in the form of Attachment C.

B. During the term of this Order, within thirty (30) days after each new agent or employee becomes involved in showing, renting, or managing dwelling units at Crescent Court, he/she shall be given a copy of this Order and be required to sign the statement acknowledging that he or she has received and read the Order, and had an opportunity to have questions about the Order answered. This statement shall be prepared in the form of Attachment C.

C. By August 31, 2004, and at least once annually thereafter, Monner, as well as the corporate Defendants, including each member of Defendant Peachtree Battle Investors II, LLC (hereinafter Peachtree) involved in management and administration, and all agents and employees of Habersham involved in showing, renting, or managing dwelling units at Crescent Court shall undergo live training on the Fair Housing Act, with specific emphasis on discrimination on the basis of race or color. With regard to Peachtree, all members not involved in management and administration may undergo the live training required in this Subsection, or at their option, may access a fair housing website, approved in advance by the United States, for training within ninety (90) days of the date of entry of this Consent Decree, and at least once annually thereafter. The training shall be conducted by an independent, qualified third party, approved in advance by the United States, and any expenses associated with this training shall be borne by Defendants. With the exception of all Peachtree members not involved in management and administration, Defendants shall obtain from the trainer certifications of attendance, executed by each individual who received the training, confirming their attendance, in a form acceptable to the United States. Any members of Peachtree who undergo internet training shall obtain a written confirmation of their individual participation in the internet-based training session. This confirmation shall include the name of the course, the date the course was taken, and the length of the course and/or time within which the course was completed.

D. At a minimum, the training required in Subsection C of this section, as it relates to Monner, each managing member of Peachtree, and all agents and employees of Habersham involved in showing, renting, or managing dwelling units at Crescent Court, shall consist of the following:

1) instruction on the requirements of all applicable federal and state housing discrimination laws; and

2) a question and answer session for the purpose of reviewing the foregoing areas.

V.    Processing Rental Applications, Record Keeping, and Compliance Testing

A. Processing Rental Applications

Defendants shall maintain, with respect to dwellings rented by them, their agents or employees, at Crescent Court, objective, uniform, non-discriminatory standards and procedures for the processing of applications, the establishment of a Waiting List and a procedure for notifying people who are on the Waiting List about an available unit, and the approval of applicants for the rental of available dwellings and/or positions on the Waiting List. Such standards and procedures shall be submitted to the United States for approval in advance of their implementation.

B. Record Keeping

With respect to the rental of dwelling units at Crescent Court, within thirty (30) days from the date of this Order, Defendants shall ensure that each of the following are maintained:

1. An Availability List on a daily basis that includes the address and apartment number of each unit known to be available or reasonably expected to be available for rental within thirty (30) days, monthly rent for each such unit, the date the Defendants or their agents or employees were first informed it would be available for rental, and the first date it would be available for rental or occupancy by a new tenant;

2. Guest Cards for all persons who visit or inquire about apartments at Crescent Court, containing information that indicates the date of the visit, the visitor's name, address, daytime and evening telephone numbers, and the date on which they wish to move. Defendants shall note on the Guest Card the dwelling units the person was shown and whether the person was given an application.

3. A Waiting List for all persons who visit or inquire about apartments at Crescent Court, and who are informed that there are no vacancies or available apartments to rent. This waiting list should contain information that indicates the date of the visit, the visitor's name, address, daytime and evening telephone numbers, and the date on which they wish to move. The Defendants shall also note on the waiting list the race of the applicant (based on the employee's or agent's good faith observation), the date, time, and employee who contacted any individual to inform them of any vacancies or available apartments, as well as the manner of each attempt to contact persons on the list;

4. A system which allows all persons who inquire about renting a dwelling unit at Crescent Court the opportunity to complete a written rental application and/or to be placed on the Waiting List; and

5. A Rental Application Log maintained on a daily basis that sets forth the name and race of the applicant (based on the employee's or agent's good faith observation), whether the application for tenancy was approved or rejected, the building and unit number occupied for all approved applicants, and a detailed explanation for all rejected applications.

C. Compliance Testing

The United States may also take steps to monitor Defendants' compliance with this Order including, but not limited to, conducting fair housing tests at any dwelling in which any Defendant, now or in the future, has a direct or indirect ownership, management, or financial interest.

VI.     Reporting Requirements

A. Within ninety (90) days of the date of entry of this Consent Decree, and every six (6) months thereafter for the duration of this Decree, the Defendants shall deliver to counsel for the United States a report containing information about the Defendants' compliance efforts during the preceding reporting period, including but not limited to:

1. Copies of all mandatory education acknowledgments signed by Defendants, their agents and employees, and all certifications of attendance of each participant in such educational program, pursuant to Section IV of this Decree;

2. Copies of the Availability Lists, Guest Cards and other information recorded by any means related to any inquiries regarding the availability of apartments at Crescent Court, including Rental Application Logs, and Waiting Lists maintained pursuant to Section V(B) of this Order;

3. Copies of lists setting forth the occupancy of each dwelling unit at Crescent Court, including the name and race of each tenant (based on the employee's or agent's good faith observation) in that dwelling unit during the reporting period; and

4. Photographs of each office in which rental activity is conducted, showing the fair housing signs required by Section III (A)(1) of this Order, as well as any vacancy or "for rent" signs.

B. During the period in which this Consent Decree is in effect, the Defendants shall preserve all records that are the source of, contain, or relate to any of the information pertinent to the obligations under this Decree, including all rental applications, leases, and occupancy lists for dwelling units at Crescent Court. Upon reasonable notice to counsel for the Defendants, representatives of the United States shall be permitted to inspect and copy all such records at any and all reasonable times or, upon request by the United States, Defendants shall provide copies of such documents.

C. During the period in which this Consent Decree is in effect, the Defendants shall notify counsel for the United States in writing within fifteen (15) days of receipt of any written or oral complaint against the Defendants, or the Defendants' agents or employees, regarding racial discrimination in housing. If the complaint is written, the Defendants shall provide a copy of it with the notification. The notification shall include the full details of the complaint, including the complainant's name, address, and telephone number. The Defendants shall also promptly provide the United States all information it may request concerning any such complaint and shall inform the United States within fifteen (15) days of any resolution of such complaint.

VII.    Compensation of Aggrieved Persons

A. Within ten (10) business days after entry of this Order, Defendants shall deposit the sum of One Hundred Fifty-five Thousand Dollars ($155,000.00) into an escrow account for the purpose of compensating the alleged aggrieved persons, including the Plaintiff-Intervenor Lynda Lee Osborne, who have been identified in this case as being alleged victims of the discriminatory housing practices at Crescent Court. A list of alleged aggrieved persons is included as Attachment F. Also within ten (10) business days of the date of entry and filing of this Consent Decree with the Clerk of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, the Defendants shall submit proof to the United States that this account has been established and the funds deposited. Within three (3) business days of a written request by the United States, Defendants shall tender payment to counsel for the United States, in the form of a check made payable to the respective aggrieved person, in the amount specified in the written request for each such person. With regard to payment for the Plaintiff-Intervenor, Lynda Lee Osborne, upon written request made by the United States, payment shall be delivered to counsel for Lynda Lee Osborne, within three (3) business days of such request, in the form of a check or check(s) in the amount(s) indicated in the written request.

B. Within ten (10) business days after entry of this Order, Defendants shall deposit the sum ofFifteen Thousand Dollars ($15,000.00) into an interest-bearing account for the purpose of compensating those persons who may later be identified through the procedures set forth in this Section. Also within ten (10) business days of the date of entry and filing of this Consent Decree with the Clerk of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, the Defendants shall submit proof to the United States that this account has been established and the funds deposited.

C. During the next sixty (60) days after entry of this Order, Defendants shall arrange and publish a Notice to Potential Victims of Housing Discrimination (hereinafter Notice) as follows:

1. The Notice shall be published on at least four (4) occasions in the 'A' Section (or News Section) of The Champion, in a space measuring at least one-quarter (1/4) of a page; the Notice shall also be published on the same four occasions in the 'A' Section (or News Section) of The Champion Free Press, in a space measuring at least one-quarter (1/4) of a page; and the Notice shall also be published on at least five (5) occasions in the 'A' Section (or News Section) of The Atlanta Voice in a space measuring at least one-quarter (1/4) of a page.

2. Each Notice shall set forth a summary of the legal and evidentiary contentions of the United States and a general statement of the relief provided under this Consent Order. Each Notice shall also contain a statement that the United States seeks information from any persons who claim to have been subjected to racial discrimination at Crescent Court in connection with inquiring about, applying for or obtaining housing, or with respect to the terms or conditions or privileges of housing. Each Notice shall invite such persons to contact counsel for the United States concerning their complaints within one hundred twenty (120) days from the entry of this Order. The Text of this Notice shall be as set forth in Attachment E

3. Defendants shall provide a copy of the newspapers containing each such Notice to counsel for the United States within ten (10) days after publication of the Notice. Within fifteen (15) days of the entry of this Order, Defendants shall also send a copy of the Notice to each of the organizations identified in Attachment B; and

D. Defendants shall produce any rental/tenancy records, or any other records in the possession or control of the Defendants, their agents or employees, upon notice to Defendants' counsel, which the United States believes to be useful in identifying persons who may be entitled to relief under this Order. Upon reasonable notice, the Defendants shall provide such rental/tenancy records or shall permit representatives of the United States to receive copies of such rental/tenancy records through Defendants' counsel.

E. Nothing in this order shall prevent the United States from making any additional efforts that it deems appropriate to locate and provide notice to potential aggrieved persons.

F. Unidentified aggrieved persons, as described above in subsection B of this Section, shall have one hundred twenty (120) days from the date of the entry of this Order to contact the United States in response to this Notice.

G. The United States shall investigate the claims of the unidentified aggrieved persons and, within one hundred eighty (180) days from the entry of this Order, shall make a preliminary determination of which persons are aggrieved and an appropriate amount of damages that should be paid to each such person. The United States will inform the Defendants in writing of its preliminary determinations, together with a copy of a sworn declaration from each aggrieved person setting forth the factual basis of the claim. The Defendants shall have thirty (30) days to review the declaration and provide any documents or information that they believe may refute the claim to the United States.

H. After receiving the Defendants' comments, the United States shall submit its final recommendations, together with a copy of the sworn declarations and any documents or information submitted by the Defendants, to the Court for approval regarding distribution of the account referenced in subsection B of this Section, including accrued interest. Within ten (10) days of the Court's approval the Defendants shall deliver to counsel for the United States checks payable to the aggrieved persons in the amounts directed by the United States. If the Court issues an Order changing the United States' proposed distribution of funds for aggrieved persons, the Defendants shall within ten (10) days of the Court's Order deliver to counsel for the United States checks payable to the aggrieved persons in the amounts approved by the Court.

I. In no event shall the aggregate of all checks - to unidentified persons and to identified persons, including the Plaintiff-Intervenor Lynda Lee Osborne - exceed the sum of the accounts referenced in subsections A and B of this Section, including accrued interest. No alleged aggrieved person, identified or unidentified, shall be paid until he/she has executed and delivered to counsel for the United States the release at Attachment D.

J. In the event that less than the total amount in the account referenced in subsection B of this Section, including accrued interest, is distributed to aggrieved persons, the Defendants shall make a proposal to the Court regarding distribution of the remainder of the fund for the purpose of furthering the objectives of this Consent Order and the Fair Housing Act in the Decatur, Georgia area, for approval by the Court. The Defendants shall distribute the funds in the manner directed by the Court within thirty (30) days of the Court's determination.

VIII.     Civil Penalty

Within thirty (30) days after the entry of this Consent Decree, the Defendants shall pay the sum of Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000.00) to the United States as a civil penalty, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 3614(d)(1)(C). This payment shall be delivered to counsel for the United States in the form of a cashier's check payable to the "United States Treasury."

IX.     Scope and Duration of Consent Order

A. The provisions of this Consent Decree shall apply to all the Defendants, their employees, agents, successors, and all persons acting in active concert or participation with them.

B. This Consent Order is effective immediately upon its entry by the Court and shall remain in effect for three (3) years.

C. Upon entry of this Decree, the complaint shall be automatically dismissed with prejudice to the refiling of any pattern or practice action by the United States against Defendants concerning any claim of housing discrimination based on race which was asserted or could have been asserted in this cause of action. Notwithstanding the provisions of this Section, the Court shall retain jurisdiction for the duration of the Decree for the purpose of enforcing the terms of the Decree.

D. All parties shall be responsible for their own attorney's fees, except as provided for in Section X(B)

X.    Remedies for Non-Compliance

A. The United States may move the Court to extend the period in which this Order is in effect if the Defendants violate one or more terms of the Order or if the interests of justice otherwise require an extension of the terms of the Order. Before the Court may enter any ruling on an extension request made by the United States, Defendants shall have 15 days from service of any extension request to respond thereto, and nothing herein shall be construed as a consent by Defendants to any extension request.

B. The parties to this Consent Decree shall endeavor in good faith to resolve informally any differences regarding interpretation of and compliance with this Order prior to bringing such matters to the Court for resolution. However, in the event the United States contends that there has been a failure by any of the Defendants, whether willful or otherwise, to perform in a timely manner any act required by this Consent Decree or otherwise to comply with any provision thereof, the United States may move this Court to impose any remedy authorized by law or equity, including, but not limited to, an order requiring performance of such act or deeming such act to have been performed, and an award of any damages, costs, and attorney's fees which may have been occasioned by the Defendants' violation or failure to perform. Before the Court may rule on any motion made by the United States pursuant to this paragraph, Defendants shall have 15 days to respond thereto. Nothing herein shall be construed as an admission or consent by Defendants to any requested remedy.

C. The parties have agreed that in the event that the named Defendants engage in any future violation of the Fair Housing Act, such violation shall constitute a "subsequent violation" pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §3614(d).

XI.     Early Termination Provisions

A. Nothing in this Decree shall prevent Peachtree from selling Crescent Court to any other person or entity or from converting the units at Crescent Court to condominiums. Peachtree's obligations under Sections III, IV, V, and VI of this Decree shall automatically terminate on the date it no longer owns, manages, or has a financial interest in the subject property known as Crescent Court, provided that Peachtree has complied with the provisions of Subsections B and D of this Section and provided that the transaction between Peachtree and any purchaser of the subject property is an "arms length transaction" (i.e., the buyer is an independent, non-affiliated person or entity, unrelated by blood or marriage to any member of Peachtree, with opposing economic interests regarding the contract for sale).

B. Notice Regarding Sale to Buyer

Should Peachtree decide to sell or transfer ownership, in whole or in part, of Crescent Court prior to the expiration of the duration of this Consent Decree, Peachtree shall, at least thirty (30) days prior to completion of the sale or transfer:

1. Provide to each prospective buyer written notice that the subject property is subject to Sections I, II, III, IV, V, VI, IX, X, XII, XIII, and XIV of this Consent Decree along with a copy of this Consent Decree; and

2. Provide to the United States, by facsimile and first class mail, written notice of its intent to sell or transfer ownership, along with a copy of the notice sent to each prospective buyer, containing each prospective buyer's name, address and telephone number.

In addition, Peachtree shall require the purchaser or transferee, as a condition of the sale or transfer, to agree in writing to perform all of the relief required by the terms of this Section for the duration of this Decree, as indicated.

The purchasers and/or transferees of the subject premises shall agree in writing to be liable for compliance with Sections I, II, III, IV, V, VI, IX, X, XII, XIII, and XIV of this Consent Decree for the duration of the Decree.

C. At any time after entry of this Decree, Peachtree may move the Court to terminate or modify, upon such conditions as the Court may deem just and appropriate, Peachtree's obligations under Sections III, IV, V, and VI of this Decree based upon conversion by Peachtree of the units at Crescent Court from apartments to condominiums.

D. In addition to the notification required by Subsection B of this Section, Peachtree will notify the United States within 5 days of closing of any sale of Crescent Court to a buyer for the purpose of converting the units at Crescent Court from apartments to condominiums.

E. Upon final conversion of Crescent Court to condominiums, through recordation in the County Superior Court of the "Declaration" and plats and plans (collectively referred to herein as the "Condominium Instruments"), required by, and as defined, in the Georgia Condominium Act, O.C.G.A. 44-3-70 et seq., or successor statute, by either Peachtree or a new owner (as the case may be), neither Peachtree nor a new owner shall have any obligations under this Decree except:

1. Peachtree or the new owner shall provide the United States with notice that Crescent Court has ceased operations as an apartment complex and is being operated solely as a condominium complex within 10 days of filing of the Condominium Instruments.

2. Notwithstanding the provisions in this Section, for the full term of this Decree, Peachtree or a new owner shall refrain from any of the following:

a) Discouraging any resident at Crescent Court from obtaining information about or applying for any unit for purchase on the basis of race or color;

b) Discouraging any other person from obtaining information about or applying for any unit for purchase on the basis of race or color;

c) Misrepresenting the availability of units for purchase on the basis of race or color;

d) Withholding information regarding the availability of units for purchase on the basis of race or color;

e) Steering persons seeking housing to particular units on the basis of race or color;

f) Making, printing, or publishing, or causing to be made, printed, or published, any statement with respect to the sale of a dwelling that indicates any preference based on race or color; and

g) Providing different terms or conditions in housing on the basis of race or color.

3. Peachtree or the new owners of the subject property shall be obligated to comply with Section III(A)(1), (2), and (3) with respect to the condominiums on the subject property. Notwithstanding the provisions of this Section, Peachtree shall be liable for compliance with Sections I, IV (for a term of not less than one (1) year from the date of entry of this Decree), VII, and VIII of this Consent Decree for the duration of the decree.

F. Change in Management Company:

1. Should Peachtree replace Habersham with a new management company, or should Habersham cease to be the management company at Crescent Court for any other reason, including due to a conversion to condominiums, then (1) Habersham's obligations under Sections III, IV, V, and VI of this Decree shall cease as of the date it no longer manages or is engaged in any way in the leasing or management of the units at Crescent Court, but it shall otherwise continue to be bound by the remaining terms of this Decree (2) any new management or leasing company, that is any way engaged in leasing or managing the dwelling units at Crescent Court as an apartment complex, shall agree in writing, and be required to comply in full with the provisions of Sections I, II, III, IV, V, VI, IX, X, XII, XIII, and XIV of this decree; and (3) Peachtree or any new owner shall notify the United States of the change at least 10 days prior to the change or, within 15 days of Peachtree's receipt of a notice of termination from Habersham if the change is initiated by Habersham.

2. Notwithstanding the provisions in this Section, Habersham shall be obligated to comply with Section IV of this Decree for a term of not less than one (1) year from the date of entry of this Decree. Notwithstanding the provisions of this Section, Habersham shall be liable for compliance with Sections I, VII, and VIII of this Consent Decree for the duration of the Decree.

XII.    Time for Performance

Any time limits for performance imposed by this Consent Order may be extended by mutual written agreement of the parties.

XIII.     Modifications

The provisions of this Decree may be modified by written agreement of the parties or by motion to the Court. If the modification is by written agreement of the parties, then such modification will be effective within thirty (30) days of filing the written agreement with the Court, and shall remain in effect for the duration of the Decree or until such time as the Court indicates through written order that it has not approved the modification.

XIV.     Notices and Correspondence

All notices and correspondence required to be sent to the United States under the provisions of this Decree shall be sent to the U.S. Department of Justice, c/o the undersigned counsel for the United States, at the following addresses:

Regular U.S. Mail:

950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. - G St.
Washington, D.C. 20530

Overnight Mail:

1800 G Street, N.W.
Suite 7062
Washington, D.C. 20006

All notices and correspondence required to be sent to Defendants under the provisions of this Decree shall be sent to their respective counsel at the following addresses:

For Peachtree Battle Investors II, LLC: Leticia D. Alfonso
Cushing, Morris, Armbruster &
Montgomery, LLP
229 Peachtree Street, N.E.
Suite 2110
Atlanta, Georgia 30303

For Habersham Properties, Inc.: Kevin Quirk
Quirk & Quirk
2964 Peachtree Road, N.W.
450 Buckhead Center
Atlanta, Georgia 30305-4903

For Suzanne Monner: J. Matthew Anthony
Two Live Oak
Suite 500
3445 Peachtree Road, N.E.
Atlanta, Georgia 30326

The issues raised in this action having been resolved by way of this Consent Decree, this action is hereby dismissed. However, this court will retain jurisdiction of this action for purpores of enforcing this Consent Decree.

ORDERED this 18th day of May, 2004.

__________________________________
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE

The undersigned agree to and request the entry of this Consent Order:

FOR THE UNITED STATES:

WILLIAM S. DUFFY
United States Attorney
Northern District of Georgia
R. ALEXANDER ACOSTA
Assistant Attorney General
Civil Rights Division
_____________________________
STEVEN H. ROSENBAUM
Chief
DONNA M. MURPHY
Deputy Chief
CHARLA D. JACKSON
ELIZABETH O. TUCCI
BURTIS M. DOUGHERTY
Attorneys
U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
Housing and Civil
Enforcement Section
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
- G Street
Washington, D.C. 20530
(202) 514-4713
(202)514-1116 (fax)

FOR THE PLAINTIFF-INTERVENOR:

________________________
JOHN D. WALES
Office of John D. Wales
1950 Spectrum Circle
Suite 400
Marietta, Georgia 30067
(770)845-2545
(770)850-2548 (fax)

Attorney for Lynda Lee Osborne

FOR THE DEFENDANTS:

___________________________
KEVIN QUIRK
Quirk & Quirk
2964 Peachtree Road, N.W.
450 Buckhead Center
Atlanta, Georgia 30305-4903
(404)237-5595
(404)237-7996 (fax)
Attorney for Habersham Properties, Inc.

_____________________________
LETICIA D. ALFONSO
Cushing, Morris, Armbruster & Montgomery, LLP
229 Peachtree Street, N.E.
Suite 2110
Atlanta, Georgia 30303
(404)521-2323
(404)522-0607 (fax)
Attorney for Peachtree Battle Investors II, LLC

________________________
J. MATTHEW ANTHONY
Office of J. Matthew Anthony
Two Live Oak
Suite 500
3445 Peachtree Road, N.E.
Atlanta, Georgia 30326
(404)812-0833
(404)812-0833 (fax)
Attorney for Suzanne Monner


ATTACHMENT A

(NON-DISCRIMINATION POLICIES AND PROCEDURES)

For Habersham Properties, Inc. (see Attachment A-1)

For Peachtree Battle Investors II, LLC (see Attachment A-2)


ATTACHMENT B

LIST OF ATLANTA METRO AREA FAIR HOUSING ORGANIZATION(S)

Metro Fair Housing
1083 Austin Avenue N.E.
P.O. Box 5467
Atlanta, Georgia 31107
404-221-0874
404-523-4646 (fax)
www.metrofairhousing@mindspring.com


ATTACHMENT C

On _________, 200_, I was instructed by ____________________ with respect to my responsibilities under the Consent Order entered by the federal district court in United States v. Habersham Properties., et al., C.A. No. 02-1531 (BBM)(N.D. Ga.), and the federal Fair Housing Act. I also was instructed as to the Crescent Court Apartment complex rental policies and procedures. I have received copies of and have read the Consent Order and the non-discrimination policy. I understand my legal responsibilities and will comply with those responsibilities.

______________________________
(Signature)

______________________________
(Print name)

______________________________
(Date)


ATTACHMENT D

RELEASE OF CLAIM FORM

I, _______________________, on behalf of myself and family members, agents, heirs, executors, administrators, successors and assigns, and any other person or entity acting on my behalf, pursuant to the terms, provisions, and conditions of the Consent Order approved by the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia on ___________________, 2004 in the case of United States and Lynda Lee Osborne v. Habersham Properties, Inc., et al., Civ. No. 1:02-CV-1531- BBM ("lawsuit") and in consideration of the payment of $ _______________ do fully, finally and forever release, discharge, hold harmless, and covenant not to sue Habersham Properties, Inc., Peachtree Battle Investors II, LLC, and Suzanne Monner (hereafter "Defendants") along with their principals, predecessors, successors, assigns, affiliates, partners, managers, members, directors, officers, agents, employers, shareholders, subsidiaries, employees, former employees, heirs, executors, and administrators and any persons acting under their respective direction or control (hereinafter "Releasees"), from any and all fair housing claims set forth, or which could or should have been set forth, in the Complaint in this lawsuit that I may have against Defendants or any of the Releasees for any of Defendants' actions, statements or omissions through the date of this Consent Order, including claims for damages (both compensatory and punitive), costs, fines, penalties, and attorney's fees.

I affirm that the only consideration for signing this Full and Final Release of Claims are the terms stated in the Consent Order signed by the parties, and the monetary payment referenced above. I have not relied on any representations by the Releasees or their agents in accepting the terms of this Release and the Consent Order except what is expressly written in this Release and the Consent Order. I have accepted the terms of this Release and the Consent Order because I believe them to be a fair and reasonable settlement and for no other reason. This Release and the Consent Order contain and constitute the entire understanding and agreement between the parties.

______________________________
DATE

______________________________
NAME (PRINT)

______________________________
SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER

______________________________
SIGNATURE


ATTACHMENT E

Notice to Potential Victims

NOTICE TO POTENTIAL VICTIMS OF HOUSING
DISCRIMINATION AT CRESCENT COURT APARTMENTS IN
DECATUR, GEORGIA

On _________________, 2004, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia entered a Consent Order resolving a housing discrimination lawsuit brought by the United States and Lynda Lee Osborne against the owners, manager and rental agent of Crescent Court Apartments in Decatur, Georgia. The lawsuit alleges that defendants engaged in a pattern or practice of housing discrimination based on race or color in violation of the federal Fair Housing Act at Crescent Court.

Under the Court Order, a Settlement Fund is being established to identify and pay damages to people whose civil rights were alleged to have been violated by one or more of the individuals or companies listed above. You may be qualified to recover from this Settlement Fund if you asked about renting or applied to rent an apartment at Crescent Court Apartments, and:

  1. You were denied an opportunity to rent an apartment unit because of your race or color, or the race or color of someone who would be living with you; or
  2. You were not informed about, or offered, all available apartment units because of your race or color, or the race or color of someone who would be living with you; or
  3. You were otherwise discriminated against on the basis of race or color in connection with your tenancy at Crescent Court Apartments, or your attempt to rent a unit from these individuals and/or companies.
If you believe you have been discriminated against at Crescent Court Apartments because of your race or color, and if you believe you are consequently entitled to a share of the Settlement Fund, please contact the United States Department of Justice at:

1-800-896-7743

leave message in mailbox ___

You may also write to:

United States Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
950 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W. -G St
Washington, DC 20530
or fax to (202)514-1116

You must call or write on or before (date here: 120 days from entry of order) and your message or letter must include your name, address, and, if possible, at least TWO telephone numbers where you may be reached.


Attachment F

List of Alleged Aggrieved Persons

Lynda Lee Osborne

Rabiah Parker

Sybrina Atwaters

Sharon Blackman

Colin Blackman

Tracey Hill

Nikita Jordan

Lakeisha Williams

Hermyone Hunter

Joyce Smith


Document Filed: May 14, 2004
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

Stay Connected YouTube MySpace Twitter Facebook Sign Up for E-Mail Updates Subscribe to News Feeds