IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
|UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
CLETUS R. KAEMMERER, SR., and
BILLIE J. KAEMMERER,
The United States of America, by its attorneys, Ronald J. Tenpas, United States Attorney for
the Southern District of Illinois and Assistant United States Attorney Nathan E. Wyatt, brings this
action on behalf of Melody Sue Rachels pursuant to section 812(o) of the Fair Housing Act, as
amended, 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o), and alleges as follows:
1. This court has jurisdiction over this action under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1345 and 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o).
2. Melody Sue Rachels is a resident of Illinois.
3. Defendants, Cletus R. Kaemmerer, Sr. and Billie J. Kaemmerer (collectively "the
Kaemmerers"), are residents of Illinois and at all relevant times were the owners of property located
at 6 Geri-Ann Drive, Unit No. 6, Belleville, Illinois 62220 ("the property"). The Kaemmerers own
three rental units at 6 Geri-Ann Drive, including Unit No. 6. None of the units was occupied by the
Kaemmerers. The property is located in the Southern District of Illinois.
4. At all relevant times, the Kaemmerers managed the property.
5. The three units in the property are "dwellings" within the meaning of 42 U.S.C.
6. On or about January 4, 2001, Ms. Rachels signed her lease, which provided that "said
premises should be occupied by no more than 2 adults and 0 children." The Kaemmerers also verbally
told Ms. Rachels that children were prohibited in the unit.
7. On or about January 4, 2001, Ms. Rachels moved into the property.
8. When Ms. Rachels rented the property she did not have children, and she alone
occupied the unit. Ms. Rachels became pregnant during her tenancy at the property.
9. In or around the spring of 2002, Ms. Rachels told the Kaemmerers that she was
10. In response to Ms. Rachels's announcement of her pregnancy, the Kaemmerers told Ms.
Rachels that she could not continue to reside in the property with a child.
11. On or about September 15, 2002, Ms. Rachels asked Defendant Cletus Kaemmerer to
reconsider his decision to terminate her tenancy. Defendant Cletus Kaemmerer reiterated that Ms. Rachels needed to move, because the Kaemmerers would not allow her to reside at the property
with a child.
12. On or about October 22, 2002, Ms. Rachels received a 30-day notice from the
Kaemmerers terminating her tenancy. The notice requested that she "quit and deliver possession of
the premises" by December 4, 2002.
13. On or about October 31, 2002, Ms. Rachels vacated the property, during her ninth
month of pregnancy, and moved into a single-family home that she purchased.
14. Ms. Rachels gave birth to a baby boy on November 18, 2002.
15. The Kaemmerers forced Ms. Rachels to vacate the property, because she planned to
reside there with her minor child.
16. The Kaemmerers subsequently rented the property to a single female with no children
who was also told by the Kaemmerers that they did not allow children to reside in the unit.
17. On or about July 9, 2003, Ms. Rachels filed a timely complaint with the Department
of Housing and Urban Development ("HUD"), alleging that she had been discriminated against
because of familial status.
18. Pursuant to the requirements of 42 U.S.C. §§ 3610(a) and (b), the Secretary of HUD
conducted and completed an investigation of the complaint, attempted conciliation without success,
and prepared a final investigative report. Based on the information gathered in the investigation, the
Secretary, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3610(g)(1), determined that reasonable cause existed to believe that
discriminatory housing practices had occurred. Accordingly, on or about July 27, 2005, the Secretary
issued a Charge of Discrimination ("the Charge") pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3610(g)(2)(A), charging the
Kaemmerers with engaging in discriminatory housing practices in violation of the Fair Housing Act.
19. On August 17, 2005, the Kaemmerers timely elected to have the Charge resolved in
a civil action filed in federal district court, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3612(a).
20. On August 17, 2005, the Chief Administrative Law Judge issued a Notice of Election
and terminated the administrative proceeding.
21. Following this Notice of Election, the Secretary of HUD authorized the Attorney
General to commence a civil action, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o).
22. The defendants, through the actions referred to above, have:
- refused to rent, after the making of a bona fide offer, or to negotiate for the
rental of, or otherwise made unavailable or denied, a dwelling because of
familial status, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(a); and
- made, or caused to be made, statements with respect to the rental of a dwelling
that indicate a preference, limitation or discrimination based on familial status,
or an intention to make any such preference, limitation or discrimination, in
violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(c).
23. Ms. Rachels is an aggrieved person, as defined in 42 U.S.C. § 3602(i), and has
suffered damages as a result of the defendants' discriminatory conduct described above.
24. The discriminatory actions of the defendants were intentional, willful, and taken in
disregard for the rights of Ms. Rachels.
WHEREFORE, the United States prays that this Court enter an Order that:
1. Declares that the discriminatory housing practices of the defendants as set forth above
violate the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601, et seq.;
2. Enjoins the defendants, any agents, employees, and successors they may have, and all
other persons in active concert or participation with them from discriminating on the basis of familial
status against any person in any aspect of the rental of a dwelling, in violation of 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601,
et seq.; and
3. Awards monetary damages to Ms. Rachels, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 3612(o)(3) and
The United States further prays for such additional relief as the interests of justice may require.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
RONALD J. TENPAS
United States Attorney
NATHAN E. WYATT
Assistant United States Attorney
Nine Executive Drive
Fairview Heights, IL 62208
Phone: (618) 628-3700
Fax: (618) 622-3810
Elizabeth A. Singer
U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
950 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20530
Phone: (202) 514-6164
Fax: (202) 514-1116
Document Filed: September 13, 2005