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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF FLORIDA

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,                               Case No.:

           Plaintiff,

vs.

ROBERT YANOFSKY, d/b/a SOUTH
BANK APARTMENTS,

          Defendant.

______________________________

COMPLAINT

Plaintiff, the United States of America, files this complaint and alleges:

  1. This action is brought by the United States of America on behalf of Gina Gentile, Paul Dayton, and their daughter, Kayla Dayton ("Complainants"), pursuant to Section 812(o) of the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §3612(o), and on behalf of other aggrieved persons pursuant to Section 814(a) of the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §3614(a).

  2. This Court has jurisdiction over this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§1331 and 1345 and 42 U.S.C. §§3612(o) and 3614(a).

  3. Complainants Gina Gentile, Paul Dayton, and their daughter, Kayla Dayton, reside at South Bank Apartments, 601 North Rio Boulevard, Apartment 216, Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

  4. Defendant Robert Yanofsky, d/b/a South Bank Apartments, owns and manages the South Bank Apartments, which is a 48-unit apartment building. South Bank Apartments is a dwelling within the meaning of Section 802(b) of the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §3602(b).

    GENERAL ALLEGATIONS

  5. In September 1992, Complainant Gina Gentile signed a lease to rent Apartment 216 at South Bank Apartments and moved into the two-bedroom unit. At that time, she did not have any children.

  6. The lease contained a provision that stated, "Further, Lessee(s) shall use and occupy the premise solely for the purpose of a residential dwelling for 2 adult(s) and for no other purpose and for no other persons whatsoever. Children under the age of eighteen (18) years of age are prohibited from residing at South Bank apartments."

  7. In 1998, Complainant Gentile's boyfriend, Complainant Paul Dayton, moved into apartment 216 with her.

  8. On May 30, 2001, Complainant Gentile gave birth to the couple's first child, Kayla Dayton.

  9. On November 12, 2001 and January 14, 2002, Defendant sent Complainant Gentile letters to inform her that her lease agreement would not be renewed. Both letters read as follows: "This letter is to inform you that South Bank Apartments will not be renewing your lease which expires February 28, 2002. The lease agreement states that children under eighteen years of age are prohibited from residing at South Bank Apartments."

  10. In February and April 2002, Defendant verbally informed Complainants that their lease would not be renewed and that they would be required to move or face eviction.

  11. On April 26, 2002, Complainant Gina Gentile filed a complaint of discrimination (HUD Form 903) with the Department of Housing and Urban Development ("HUD") alleging that Defendant discriminated against her, Paul Dayton, and their daughter on the basis of their familial status, in violation of the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§3601, et seq.

  12. Pursuant to the requirements of 42 U.S.C. §§3610(a) and (b), the Secretary of HUD ("Secretary") conducted and completed an investigation of the complaint and engaged in conciliation efforts, which were unsuccessful.

  13. Thereafter, the Secretary prepared a final investigative report based upon information gathered during the investigation, and the Secretary, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §3610(g)(1), determined that there was reasonable cause to believe that discriminatory housing practices had occurred.

  14. On January 6, 2003, the Secretary issued a Determination of Reasonable Cause and Charge of Discrimination, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§3610(g)(2)(A), charging Defendant with engaging in discriminatory housing practices in violation of the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§3601, et seq.

  15. On January 21, 2003, Complainants made a timely election to have their claims resolved in federal court, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §3612(a).

  16. Subsequently, on January 22, 2003, the Secretary, through the General Counsel of HUD, authorized the Attorney General to file this action on behalf of the Complainants, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §3612(o)(1).

    COUNT I

    Plaintiff, United States of America, realleges and incorporates by reference the allegations set forth in paragraphs 1 through 16 above.

  17. Defendant Robert Yanofsky, d/b/a South Bank Apartments, has discriminated against Complainants Gina Gentile, Paul Dayton and Kayla Dayton by:

    1. denying or otherwise making a dwelling unavailable on the basis of familial status, in violation of Section 804(a) of the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §3604(a);

    2. discriminating in the terms, conditions or privileges of the rental of a dwelling on the basis of familial status, in violation of Section 804(b) of the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §3604(b); and
    3. making, printing or publishing, or causing to be made, printed or published notices or statements with respect to the rental of a dwelling that indicate a preference, limitation, or discrimination, based on familial status, in violation of Section 804(c) of the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §3604(c).

  18. As a result of the conduct or actions of the Defendant, Complainants suffered damages and they are aggrieved persons within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. §3602(i).

  19. The discriminatory conduct or actions of the Defendant were intentional, willful, and taken in disregard of the rights of the Complainants.

    COUNT II

    Plaintiff, United States of America, realleges and incorporates by reference the allegations set forth in paragraphs 1 through 16 above.

  20. There are other persons (either tenants or bona fide apartment seekers), who have suffered damages as a result of Defendant's conduct or actions, and they are aggrieved persons within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. §3602(i).

  21. Defendant Robert Yanofsky, d/b/a/ the South Bank Apartments, engaged in conduct that constitutes:

    1. A pattern or practice of resistance to the full enjoyment of rights granted by the Fair Housing Act, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3614(a); and

    2. A denial to a group of persons of rights granted by the Fair Housing Act, which denial raises an issue of general public importance, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3614(a).

  22. Specifically, Defendant Robert Yanofsky, d/b/a South Bank Apartments, has discriminated against other aggrieved persons by:

    1. denying or otherwise making a dwelling unavailable on the basis of familial status, in violation of Section 804(a) of the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §3604(a);

    2. discriminating in the terms, conditions or privileges of the rental of a dwelling on the basis of familial status, in violation of Section 804(b) of the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §3604(b); and

    3. making, printing or publishing, or causing to be made, printed or published notices or statements with respect to the rental of a dwelling that indicate a preference, limitation, or discrimination, based on familial status, in violation of Section 804(c) of the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §3604(c).

  23. The discriminatory conduct or actions of the Defendant were intentional, willful, and taken in disregard of the rights of the other aggrieved persons.

WHEREFORE, the United States of America prays that this Court enter an ORDER that:

  1. Declares that the discriminatory housing practices of Defendant Robert Yanofsky, d/b/a South Bank Apartments, as set forth above, violate the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§3601, et seq.;

  2. Enjoins Defendant Robert Yanofsky, d/b/a South Bank Apartments, his employees, agents, successors, and all other persons in active concert or participation with any of them, from continuing to discriminate on the basis of familial status against any person in any aspect of the rental of a dwelling, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§3612(o)(3), 3613(c)(1) and 3614(d)(1)(A);

  3. Awards actual damages, including compensatory and emotional distress damages, to fully compensate Complainants Gina Gentile, Paul Dayton and Kayla Dayton for their injuries caused by the discriminatory housing practices of Defendant Robert Yanofsky, d/b/a South Bank Apartments, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§3612(o)(3) and 3613(c)(1);

  4. Awards punitive damages to Complainants Gina Gentile, Paul Dayton and Kayla Dayton, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §3612(o)(3) and 3613(c)(1);

  5. Awards monetary damages to other aggrieved persons, as the court deems appropriate, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §3614(d)(1)(B); and

  6. Assesses a civil penalty against the Defendant in an amount authorized by 42 U.S.C. §3614(d)(1)(C), in order to vindicate the public interest.

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


Respectfully submitted,

JOHN ASHCROFT
ATTORNEY GENERAL


MARCOS DANIEL JIMENEZ
UNITED STATES ATTORNEY

______________________________
RALPH F. BOYD, JR.
ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL
Civil Rights Division
By:
LEAH A. SIMMS
Florida Bar No. 0184275
Assistant U.S. Attorney
99 N.E. 4th Street,
6th Floor
Miami, Florida 33132
Tel.: (305) 961-9008
Fax: (305) 530-7976
Leah.Simms"usdoj.gov
JOAN A. MAGAGNA, Chief
Elizabeth A. Singer, Attorney
Donald W. Tunnage, Attorney
U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
Housing and Civil Enforcement
  Section
950 Pennsylvania Ave., NW-NWB
Washington, D.C. 20530
Tel.: (202) 514-6164

Document Filed: February 20, 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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