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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE
DISTRICT OF MINNESOTA

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,

           Plaintiff,

                                                                             COMPLAINT

          v.

                                                                               Demand for Jury Trial

ROBERT L. KREISLER, JR., a/k/a BOB
PETERSON, KREISLER REAL
ESTATE COMPANY, WHITTIER
REAL ESTATE COMPANY,
and WHITTIER COMMUNITY
APARTMENTS,

            Defendants.

The United States of America alleges:

  1. 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.
  2. This Court has jurisdiction over this action under 28 U.S.C. §1345 and 42 U.S.C. §3614.
  3. Defendant Robert L. Kreisler, Jr., a/k/a Bob Peterson, lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
  4. Defendant Kreisler is the sole owner and registered officer for defendant Kreisler Real Estate Company, defendant Whittier Real Estate Company, and defendant Whittier Community Apartments (collectively, "the Kreisler entities").
  5. Defendant Kreisler Real Estate Company, defendant Whittier Real Estate Company, and defendant Whittier Community Apartments are registered in the State of Minnesota, have their principal places of business in Minnesota, and are engaged in the ownership and/or management of multifamily residential rental housing units in Minnesota.
  6. On July 17, 1998, Defendant Kreisler entered into a contract to purchase apartment buildings at 2500 Blaisdell Ave. and 2421 Pillsbury Ave. in Minneapolis, Minnesota, ("the subject properties") from Larry Hopfenspirger and Solar Partnership.
  7. On September 17, 1998, Hopfenspirger and Solar Partnership entered into an "Interim Management Agreement" with Defendant Kreisler, providing that Kreisler would manage the subject properties on Hopfenspirger and Solar Partnership's behalf from October 15, 1998 until the sale became final. The sale of the subject properties was completed on March 26, 1999.
  8. Defendant Kreisler currently owns the subject properties and, through the Kreisler entities, continues to manage them.
  9. The subject properties are "dwellings" within the meaning of the Fair Housing Act. 42 U.S.C. §3602(b).
  10. Since at least November of 1998, defendant Kreisler and the Kreisler entities have been engaged in racially discriminatory housing practices at the subject properties, including:
    1. Evicting black tenants and/or giving them notices to vacate their apartments, while not evicting or asking to vacate similarly situated non-black tenants;
    2. Allowing non-black tenants who were initially given notices to vacate their apartments the option of either staying in their apartments or moving to other apartments, while not allowing similarly-situated black tenants such options;
    3. Discriminating in the terms, conditions, and privileges of the rental of a dwelling, because of race, by failing to provide necessary and requested maintenance to black tenants while providing such maintenance to non-black tenants; and
    4. Denying the availability of dwellings, both for inspection and for rent, to black persons, while dwellings were, in fact, available and/or while at the same time telling non-black persons about the availability of dwellings for inspection or rent.

  11. The conduct of the defendants, including that described in Paragraph 10, constitutes discrimination against persons because of race or color in the rental of dwellings in violation of the Fair Housing Act, as follows:
    1. A refusal to rent or otherwise make unavailable or deny dwellings to persons because of race or color, in violation of 42 U.S.C. §3604(a);
    2. Discrimination against persons in the conditions or privileges of the rental of dwellings, and in the provision of services in connection therewith, because of race or color, in violation of 42 U.S.C. §3604(b); and
    3. The representation to persons because of race or color that dwellings are not available for inspection or rental when such dwellings are in fact so available, in violation of 42 U.S.C. §3604(d).

  12. The conduct of the defendants as described above constitutes:
    1. 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
    2. 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.

  13. As a result of the defendants' racially discriminatory conduct, at least nine black households were compelled to move out of the subject properties. They have suffered economic loss and emotional distress. They are aggrieved persons as defined in 42 U.S.C. §3602(i).
  14. There are also other individuals who have been victims of the defendants' discriminatory housing practices and who may also have suffered damages as a result of the defendants' conduct described above. Such persons are aggrieved persons as defined in 42 U.S.C. §3602(i).
  15. 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 order that:

  1. Declares that the defendants' policies and practices, as alleged herein, violate the Fair Housing Act;
  2. Enjoins all defendants, their partners, officers, employees, and agents, and all other persons in active concert or participation with any of them, from:
    1. Discriminating because of race or color against any person in any aspect of the rental of a dwelling;
    2. Failing or refusing to notify the public that dwellings owned or operated by defendants are available to all persons on a nondiscriminatory basis;
    3. Failing or refusing to take such affirmative steps as may be necessary to restore, as nearly as practicable, the victims of defendants' unlawful practices to the position they would have been in but for the discriminatory conduct; and
    4. Failing or refusing to take such affirmative steps as may be necessary to prevent the recurrence of any discriminatory conduct in the future and to eliminate, to the extent practicable, the effects of the defendants' unlawful housing practices.

  3. Awards such damages as would fully compensate each person aggrieved by defendants' discriminatory housing practices for injuries caused by the defendants' discriminatory conduct, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §3614(d)(1)(B);
  4. Awards each person aggrieved by the defendants' discriminatory conduct punitive damages, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §3614(d)(1)(B); and
  5. Assesses a civil penalty against defendant Kreisler in an amount authorized by 42 U.S.C. §3614(d)(1)(C) and 28 C.F.R. §85.3(b)(3) in order to vindicate the public interest.

The United States further prays for such additional relief as the interests of justice may require.

The United States also demands a trial by jury on all issues.



JOHN D. ASHCROFT
Attorney General
THOMAS B. HEFFELFINGER
United States Attorney
_________________________
RALPH F. BOYD, JR.
Assistant Attorney General
Civil Rights Division


_________________________
STEVEN H. ROSENBAUM
Chief, Housing and Civil
Enforcement Section


_________________________
PERRY F. SEKUS
Assistant U.S. Attorney
Attorney ID No. 0309412
600 U.S. Courthouse
300 S. Fourth Street
Minneapolis, MN 55415
Tel.: (612) 664-5600

_________________________
TIMOTHY J. MORAN
RIGEL C. OLIVERI
New York State Bar No. 560115
Attorneys
U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
Housing & Civil
Enforcement Section
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Northwestern Building, 7th Floor
Washington, D.C. 20530
Tel.: (202) 305-3109
Fax: (202) 514-1116


Document Filed: July 9, 2003
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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