UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
FAIR HOUSING COUNCIL OF
NORTHERN NEW JERSEY, ET AL.,
HAWTHORNE GARDENS ASSOCIATES;
LODI PHILLIPSBURG ASSOCIATES;
DAVID FRIEDMAN; SAMUEL HALPERN;
and EVA HALPERN,
The United States filed this action pursuant to Section 812 and 814 of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. 3614, alleging that the Defendants engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination on the basis of familial status in violation of the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601, et seq., in the rental of residential apartments at four Bergen and Passaic County apartment complexes (hereinafter referred to as the "subject premises"): 1) Lodi Court Apartments, 126 Route 46 East, Lodi, New Jersey; 2) Lodi Circle, 25 Route 46 West, Lodi, New Jersey; 3) Wayne Kings Arms, 48A Byrne Court, Wayne, New Jersey; and 4) Hawthorne Gardens, 100 Rock Road, Hawthorne, New Jersey. These four complexes have four hundred ninety (490) units combined: at Lodi Court, eighty (80) units; at Lodi Circle, eighty (80) units; at Wayne Kings Arms, one hundred forty eight (148) units; and at Hawthorne Gardens, one hundred eighty two (182) units.
Plaintiffs-Intervenors are The Fair Housing Council of Northern New Jersey (hereinafter "FHCNN"), Trevina Downer, Melody Dawson, Diana McQueen, Maria Pagan, Pamela Puttre and Sharon Williams (hereinafter "Plaintiffs-Intervenors").
Defendant Hawthorne Gardens Associates is a New Jersey partnership that owns residential apartment rental properties in New Jersey, including Lodi Court Apartments and Hawthorne Gardens. Defendant Rosemont Associates is a New Jersey partnership that owns residential apartment rental properties in New Jersey, including Wayne Kings Arms Apartments. Defendant Lodi Phillipsburg Associates is a New Jersey partnership that owns residential apartment rental properties in New Jersey, including Lodi Circle Apartments. Defendant David Friedman is, or at all times relevant to this action was, employed by the Defendants as the registered agent for each of the subject premises. Defendant David Friedman is or at all times relevant to this action was an owner and/or partner of Defendants Hawthorne Gardens Associates, Rosemont Associates and Lodi Phillipsburg Associates. Defendant Samuel Halpern is, or at all times relevant to this action was, an owner and/or partner of Defendants Hawthorne Gardens Associates, Rosemont Associates and Lodi Phillipsburg Associates. Defendant Eva Halpern is, or at all times relevant to this action was, an owner and/or partner of Defendants Hawthorne Gardens Associates, Rosemont Associates and Lodi Phillipsburg Associates.
On or about February 26, 2001, Trevina Downer and Melody Dawson filed timely complaints alleging discrimination in housing at Lodi Court and Lodi Circle Apartments, respectively, on the basis of familial status with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development ("HUD") pursuant to Section 810(a) of the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §3610(a).
On or about March 28, 2001, Diana McQueen and Maria Pagan filed timely HUD complaints alleging discrimination in housing at Lodi Court Apartments, on the basis of familial status, pursuant to Section 810(a) of the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §3610(a).
On or about April 3, 2001, Pamela Puttre filed a timely HUD complaint alleging discrimination in housing at Wayne Kings Arms Apartments, on the basis of familial status, pursuant to Section 810(a) of the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §3610(a).
On or about September 6, 2001, Sharon Williams filed a timely HUD complaint alleging discrimination in housing at Hawthorne Gardens Apartments, on the basis of familial status, pursuant to Section 810(a) of the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §3610(a).
On or about February 26, 2001, Lee Porter, as director of the Fair Housing Council of Northern New Jersey ("FHCNN"), filed a timely HUD complaint alleging discrimination in housing on the basis of familial status, pursuant to Section 810(a) of the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §3610(a). FHCNN, located at 131 Main Street, Hackensack, New Jersey, is a private, not-for-profit agency, which seeks to educate and assist the public about fair housing rights. In her complaint, Ms. Porter alleged on behalf of FHCNN that as a result of Defendants' violations of the Fair Housing Act, the FHCNN has suffered frustration of its mission and a diversion of its resources.
Pursuant to the requirements of 42 U.S.C. §§3610(a) and (b), the Secretary of HUD conducted and completed an investigation of the complaints filed by the Complainants. Based upon the information gathered in the investigation, on August 7, 2002, HUD issued its Determination of Reasonable Cause and Charge of Discrimination against Defendants pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §3610(g)(2)(A), charging Defendants with engaging in discriminatory housing practices in violation of the Fair Housing Act.
On August 15, 2002, Defendants elected to have their charge resolved in federal district court, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §3612(a).
After receiving information from the bona fide complainants that the management at the subject properties did not rent second floor apartments to families with children, the FHCNN conducted a series of tests. Based on this testing evidence, the United States and Plaintiffs-Intervenors allege that the defendants engaged in a pattern and practice of discrimination against families with children. The Plaintiffs contend that applicants with children under the age of ten years were told that there were no units available to rent at Defendants' properties, nor were there units available to inspect. At the same time, applicants without children were permitted to inspect available apartments and were offered the opportunity to rent vacant units in the apartment complex.
Plaintiffs-Intervenors also allege that the defendants discriminated against rental applicants, actual or prospective, because of the source of lawful income and the source of lawful rent payments to be paid for real property, in violation of New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, N.J.S.A. 10:5-12(g).
The United States and Plaintiffs-Intervenors would introduce evidence at trial that, the Plaintiffs contend, would demonstrate that the Defendants refused to rent, refused to negotiate for the rental, and/or otherwise made housing unavailable because of familial status, in violation of 42 U.S.C. §3604(a); and furthermore represented to persons, because of their familial status, that a dwelling was not available for rental when such dwelling was in fact so available, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(d). Plaintiffs-Intervenors also would introduce evidence at trial that the defendants discriminated against prospective tenants because of the source of lawful income and the source of lawful rent payments to be paid for the real property in violation of N.J.S.A. 10:5-12(g). The Defendants deny any violation of the Fair Housing Act and the allegations of discrimination. Furthermore, Defendants Samuel Halpern and Eva Halpern contend that they have not been and will not in the future be involved in the management of the subject premises.
In an effort to avoid costly litigation, the United States, Plaintiffs-Intervenors and the Defendants have voluntarily agreed to resolve the United States' claims without the necessity of a trial. Therefore, the parties have agreed to the entry of this Consent Order, as indicated by the signatures below.
Therefore, it is ORDERED, ADJUDGED and DECREED:
A. This Court has subject matter jurisdiction over this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§1331, 1345 and 42 U.S.C. §§ 3612(o), 3614(a).
B. The provisions of this Consent Order shall apply to all the Defendants, each of their employees, officers, agents, assigns, successors, anyone acting under their direction, and all those acting in concert or participation with them.
II. Injunctive Relief
The Defendants and each of their employees, officers, agents, assigns, successors, anyone acting under their direction, and all those acting in concert or participation with them are hereby enjoined, with respect to the rental of any dwelling units, from:
A. Refusing to rent a dwelling unit, refusing or failing to provide or offer information about a dwelling unit, refusing to negotiate for the rental of, or otherwise making unavailable or denying a dwelling unit to any person because of familial status;
B. Discriminating against any person in the terms, conditions or privileges of renting a dwelling unit, or in the provision of services or facilities in connection therewith, because of familial status. For purposes of this Order, excluding families with children from certain floors at any or all of their apartment complexes constitutes discrimination and is prohibited by this Order;
C. Making, printing, publishing, or causing to be made, printed, or published any notice, statement or advertisement with respect to the rental of a dwelling unit that states any preference, limitation or discrimination based on familial status; and/or
D. Misrepresenting to any person because of familial status that any dwelling unit is not available for inspection or rental when such dwelling unit is, in fact, so available. Consistent with the above injunction, Defendants will not adopt or enforce the familial status limitations they are alleged to have formerly maintained with respect to the subject premises and Defendants shall not take any action to enforce, modify or enact any rules, regulations, policies, practices, or any other restrictions, pertaining to occupancy at the subject premises, that prohibits or limits families with minor children from residing in certain units of Defendants' complexes; nor shall Defendants make any written or verbal statements stating or otherwise indicating that families with children are not permitted to live in any unit(s) or reside on any level/floor at Defendants' complexes.
III. Nondiscrimination Policies and Procedures
Defendants assert that they have changed their rental policies and procedures to ensure that families with children are not discriminated against at the subject premises. Within thirty (30) days of the entry of this Order the Defendants shall prepare and implement written policies and procedures (to the extent they have not done so as of the effective date of this Order) regarding the rental of dwellings, which shall be applied equally to all applicants, actual and prospective, regardless of their familial status. Within thirty (30) days of the entry of this Order, Defendants shall submit such policies and procedures to the United States for approval in advance of their implementation. In particular, the policy shall include a statement that families with children of all ages are permitted to live in all areas of the subject premises and that families with children will be considered on an equal basis for all current and future vacancies at the subject premises. Any existing written or non-written policy or procedure prohibiting families with children of any age from living in the subject premises, or from living in certain portions of the subject premises, shall be null and void and removed from Defendants' rental guidelines.
IV. Notice to Public of Nondiscrimination Policies
Within thirty (30) days after the date of entry of this Consent Order, and continuing for as long as this Consent Order is in effect, Defendants shall take the following steps to notify the public of the non-discriminatory policies in effect at the subject premises:
A. Prominently post in each rental office an "Equal Housing Opportunity" sign no smaller than eleven (11) inches by fourteen (14) inches, equivalent to the reduced sample appended to this Order as Attachment A. Such signs shall be placed in prominent, well-lit, and easily readable locations within all rental office areas where prospective tenants make inquiries;
B. Whenever dwelling units are available at the subject premises, and whenever Defendants are seeking or allowing prospective tenants to be placed on a Waiting List(s) at the subject premises, prominently post easily readable "For Rent" or "Vacancy" signs or notices at the entrance to the complexes and in front of the rental office(s). The sign or notice shall include the slogan "Equal Housing Opportunity" and the fair housing logo. Such slogan and logo shall be prominently displayed and easily readable;
C. Provide each current tenant and, to the extent possible, each prospective tenant, a copy of the most current version of the New Jersey State booklet, "Truth in Renting- A Guide to the Rights and Responsibilities of Residential Tenants and Landlords in New Jersey," in English (and, if available and appropriate, in Spanish). Each new tenant shall be provided with the same materials within five (5) days of the commencement of his or her tenancy;
D. Include the words "Equal Housing Opportunity" and/or the fair housing logo in all advertising for the subject premises 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;
E. Include the following phrase in the standard rental application and lease used for each of the subject apartment complexes, using bold letters of at least 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).
F. Provide written notification within thirty (30) days of entry of this Decree to the designated organizations listed in Attachment B that Defendants rent apartments at each of the subject premises, and that their policy is to rent apartments subject to uniform, nondiscriminatory standards to all qualified persons without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, handicap, or familial status;
G. Provide a written notice (approved in advance by the United States) to all current tenants of each of the subject premises that includes a statement that occupancy of second-floor units is not limited to adults only, and that families with children will be considered on an equal basis for all current and future vacancies throughout the subject premises; and
H. Revise Defendants' lease, rental application forms, tenant rules and regulations, security report forms, and any additional documents that set forth the rules and regulations of the subject premises to remove any restrictions on the use and enjoyment of the subject premises by residents and their guests that discriminate on the basis of familial status, and provide a copy of such revised forms to the United States and counsel for Plaintiffs-Intervenors. To the extent that Defendants claim that their current rules, regulations, forms and other rental documents are non-discriminatory and satisfy the requirements of this Order, Defendants shall provide a copy of the current documents to the United States and counsel for Plaintiffs-Intervenors.
V. Standards For Accepting and Processing Rental Applications
Within thirty (30) days after the date of entry of this Consent Order, and continuing for as long as this Consent Order is in effect, Defendants shall take the following steps to establish non-discriminatory standards for accepting and processing rental applications:
A. With respect to dwellings rented by them, their agents or employees at the subject premises, Defendants shall maintain 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 and to Plaintiffs-Intervenors' counsel for the approval in advance of their implementation.
B. The standards and procedures required by this section shall be posted and prominently displayed in the rental office at each of the subject premises, and in any office where there is rental activity and/or personal contact with potential rental applicants for dwellings at the subject premises, and a copy of these standards and procedures shall be made available upon request to any applicant for the rental of a dwelling. For the duration of this Order, these rental standards and procedures may be modified only if written notice is given to counsel for the United States and to counsel for Plaintiffs-Intervenors thirty (30) days before modifications are to take effect.
C. Within thirty (30) days after the entry of this Consent Order, at the subject properties, Defendants shall:
- Maintain an Availability List, updated 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 or later, the number of bedrooms in each such unit, the monthly rent for each such unit (including any rent special and/or other discounts), the date 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 and occupancy by a new tenant;
- Maintain Guest Card/Wait List Records for each of the subject premises. The Defendants shall request that each person who visits or inquires about an apartment(s) fill out a Guest Card providing:
(a). the date of the visit;
(b). the visitor's name;
(c). the visitor's current home address;
(d). the visitor's daytime and evening telephone numbers;
(e). the number and ages of children under eighteen (18) expected to reside in the dwelling;
(f). a description of the dwelling desired (e.g., number of bedrooms); and
(g). the date by which the visitor wishes to move.
Defendants shall note on each Guest Card the employee who met with the Visitor, the dwelling units the person was shown and whether the person was given an application. If a visitor does not fill out a written application, Defendants shall indicate on the guest card the reason(s) why that is the case (e.g., the visitor was offered an application to fill out, but declined). When prospective applicants inquire about apartments by telephone, Defendants shall complete Guest Cards in accordance with this paragraph by asking for the necessary information during their initial telephone contact with each telephone applicant. In the event that an apartment is not available at the time a visitor inquires (and fills out a Guest Card), Defendants shall ask the visitor whether he or she wishes to be placed on a Wait List. If the visitor expresses interest in being placed on the Wait List, Defendants shall make a notation to that effect on the visitor's Guest Card. Defendants shall maintain the Guest Cards of applicants requesting to be placed on a Wait List in a separate file . The Wait List shall be maintained in chronological order by date and time of inquiry. Notations shall be made on the Wait List of the date, time, and manner of each attempt to contact persons on the List.
3. Inform all persons who inquire about renting dwelling units of all available units
of the type about which the person has inquired (e.g., one-bedroom or two-bedroom), if any, and if none are available, about the availability of the Waiting List;
- Maintain copies of all Rental Applications, and prepare a Rental Application Summary, which shall include the names of each applicant, the number of children under the age of eighteen (18) expected to reside in each requested dwelling, whether each application for tenancy was approved or rejected, the buildings and unit numbers occupied for all approved applicants, and, for all rejected applications, a complete explanation of the reason for the denial. Defendants shall offer all applicants who complete written rental applications an opportunity to be placed on the Waiting List described in paragraph two (2), above, if there is no apartment available for them at the time they apply for housing.
VI. Education Program
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 the subject apartment complexes and secure a 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 substantially in the form of Attachment C.
B. During the term of this Order, within thirty (30) days after the date he or she commences an agency or employment with Defendants, each new agent or employee involved in showing, renting, or managing the subject apartment complexes 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 substantially in the form of Attachment C.
C. Within ninety (90) days of the date of entry of this Consent Order, the individually-named Defendants or their designees, Rebecca Axelrod, and the employees and agents responsible for processing rental applications and showing apartments for rent at the subject premises, shall undergo training on the Fair Housing Act, with specific emphasis on discrimination on the basis of familial status. The training shall be conducted by an independent, qualified third party, approved by the United States, and any expenses associated with this training shall be borne by Defendants. The Defendants shall obtain from the trainer certificates of attendance executed by the individually-named Defendants and any other covered employees or agents, confirming their attendance, in a form substantially equivalent to Attachment D. The individually-named Defendants may designate a management-level employee to attend the training required by this paragraph on their behalf, provided that: (a). Defendants notify the United States in writing of this decision in advance of the training and provide the name, address, phone number, title and job responsibilities of the designee so named; and (b). the individually-named Defendants assign in writing their managerial functions to the designee who receives training under this paragraph. In the event that any person required to receive training under this Order (or their designee) ceases to be employed by or serve as an agent of Defendants within three (3) years of the effective date of this Order, all new employees and agents assuming the responsibilities of those persons shall receive the training required by this paragraph within sixty (60) days of their assumption of employment or office.
VII. Compliance Testing
The United States and Plaintiffs-Intervenors may take steps to monitor Defendants' compliance with this Order including, but not limited to, conducting fair housing tests at any dwelling in which any Defendants, now or in the future, has a direct or indirect ownership, management, or financial interest.
VIII. Record Keeping, Reporting and Monitoring
A. Within ninety (90) days of the date of entry of this Consent Order, and every six (6) months thereafter for the period in which the Order is in effect, Defendants shall deliver to counsel for the United States (1) and to counsel for Plaintiffs-Intervenors, a report covering the preceding period containing information about Defendants' compliance efforts, including but not limited to:
- Copies of all mandatory education acknowledgments signed by Defendants' agents and employees and certifications of attendance at such educational program as required under Section VII of this Order;
- Copies of the Availability Lists, Guest Cards and other information recorded by any means related to any inquiries regarding the availability of apartments at the subject premises, the Rental Application Summary, and Waiting Lists maintained pursuant to Section V of this Order;
- A list of the move-ins and of the move-outs for each apartment unit at the subject premises, if any, and the familial status of each move-in and move-out during the reporting period; and
- A photograph of each office in which rental activity is conducted, showing the fair housing signs required by Section V of this Order.
B. During the period in which this Consent Order is in effect, Defendants shall preserve all records that are the source of, contain, or relate to any of the information pertinent to the obligations under this Order, including all rental applications, leases, and Occupancy Lists for dwelling units at the subject premises. Upon reasonable notice to counsel for Defendants, representatives of the United States shall be permitted to inspect and copy all such records at any and all reasonable times.
C. During the period in which this Consent Order is in effect, Defendants shall notify counsel for the United States in writing within fifteen (15) days of receipt of any complaint against Defendants, the subject premises, or Defendants' agents or employees, regarding discrimination in housing on the basis of familial status. Defendants shall provide copies of written complaints with the notification. The notification shall include the full details of the complaint, including the complainant's name, address, and telephone number. Defendants shall also promptly provide the United States all information it may request concerning any such complaint, and shall notify the United States within fifteen (15) days of the resolution of any such complaint.
IX. Compensation of Complainants and Other Aggrieved Persons
A. Within thirty (30) days after entry of this Order, Defendants shall pay the HUD complainants a total of one hundred sixty-eight thousand dollars ($168,000.00) in compensatory damages they suffered on account of Defendants' actions and discriminatory policies as described herein. (2) As a condition of receiving this payment, each complainant will sign a release of any and all claims arising from the Defendants' discriminatory actions, policies and practices, including claims for compensatory and punitive damages, attorneys' fees and costs. The release shall be as set forth in Attachment E.
Defendants and Plaintiffs-Intervenors have agreed that this sum shall be allotted equally among the HUD complainants. Thus, within thirty (30) days Defendants shall issue a check in the name of each HUD complainant in the amount of $24,000.
B. Within sixty (60) days after entry of this Order, Defendants shall deposit the sum of twenty thousand dollars ($20,000.00) into an interest-bearing account for the purpose of compensating any additional aggrieved persons who may have been the victims of the discriminatory housing practices at the subject premises, and who may be identified through the procedures set forth in this Section. This money shall be referred to as "the Settlement Fund." Also within sixty (60) days of the date of entry and filing of this Consent Order, the Defendants shall submit proof to the United States that the Settlement Fund account has been established and Defendants have deposited the funds therein. Any interest accruing to the fund shall become a part of the fund and be utilized as set forth herein. In no event shall Defendants be obligated to pay or deposit into the Settlement Fund additional funds beyond the amount specified in this paragraph, regardless of the number of aggrieved persons who file claims pursuant to paragraph IX(E), below.
C. Within fifteen (15) days of the entry of this Order, Defendants shall publish the
Notice to Potential Victims of Housing Discrimination ("Notice"), affixed hereto as
Attachment F, informing readers of the availability of such funds. The notice shall be no smaller than a quarter of a page and shall be published on four (4) occasions in the following newspapers: The Record, The Herald-News, and The Star-Ledger.
The publication dates shall be separated from one another by at least twenty-one (21) days and at least two of the publication dates shall be Sundays. Within ten (10) days of each publication date, Defendants shall provide the newspaper containing the Notice to counsel for the United States and for Plaintiffs-Intervenors. Within fifteen (15) days of the entry of this Order, Defendants shall send a copy of the Notice to each of the organizations identified in Attachment B.
D. Within thirty (30) days of the entry of this Order, Defendants shall send by first-class mail, postage prepaid, a copy of the Notice to current tenants of the subject complexes. Within forty-five (45) days of entry of this Order, Defendants shall provide to counsel for the United States and for Plaintiffs-Intervenors proof that the Notice has been sent. Within thirty (30) days of the entry of this Order, Defendants shall provide to counsel for the United States a list of the last-known addresses and phone numbers of all former tenants who have resided at the subject premises at any time within two (2) years of the date of entry of this Order. Nothing in this section shall preclude the United States or Plaintiffs-Intervenors from making their own efforts to locate and provide notice to potential aggrieved persons.
E. Allegedly aggrieved persons described above 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. The United States shall investigate the claims of allegedly 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 from the Settlement Fund 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 fourteen (14) days to review the declaration and provide any documents or information that they believe may refute the claim to the United States.
F. After receiving the Defendants' comments, the United States shall submit its final recommendations to the Court for approval, together with a copy of the declarations and any additional information submitted by the Defendants. When the Court issues an order approving or 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 drawn from the Settlement Fund payable to the aggrieved persons in the amounts approved by the Court. But in no event shall the aggregate of all such checks exceed the sum of the account, including accrued interest. No aggrieved person shall be paid until he/she has executed and delivered to counsel for the United States the release affixed hereto as Attachment E.
G. In the event that less than the total amount in the Settlement Fund account including accrued interest is distributed to aggrieved persons, the Court shall issue an order requiring distribution of the remainder in a manner consistent with the purposes of this Consent Order and the Fair Housing Act. Defendants shall make a proposal to the Court regarding distribution of the remainder of the Settlement Fund to further these purposes in the Northern New Jersey area. The Defendants shall distribute the funds in the manner directed by the Court within ten (10) days of the Court's determination.
H. Defendants shall permit the United States, upon reasonable notice, to review any
records that may facilitate its determinations regarding the claims of alleged aggrieved persons.
X. Civil Penalty
Within thirty (30) days after the entry of this Consent Order, the Defendants, jointly and severally, shall pay the sum of four thousand dollars ($4,000.00) 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."
XI. Provisions Regarding Plaintiff Fair Housing Council of Northern New Jersey
A. Defendants are enjoined from discriminating against rental applicants, actual or prospective, because of the source of any lawful income received by a person or the source of any lawful rent payment to be paid for real property.
B. The written policies and procedures referred to in Section III(A), above, shall conform to the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, N.J.S.A. 10:5-12(g). In particular, the policy shall include a statement that, with respect to the subject premises, Defendants will not discriminate against rental applicants, actual or prospective, because of the source of any lawful income received by a person or the source of any lawful rent payment to be paid for real property.
C. The Notices required in Section IV, above, and the Educational Program required by Section VI, above, shall include, to the extent applicable, defendants' policy of non-discrimination against rental applicants, actual or prospective, because of the source of any lawful income received by a person or the source of any lawful rent payment to be paid for the [real property] apartment.
XII. Duration of Order and Termination of Legal Action
A. This Consent Order shall remain in effect for three (3) years after the date of its entry. By consenting to entry of this Order, the parties agree that in the event that Defendants engage in any future violation(s) of the Fair Housing Act, such violation(s) shall constitute a "subsequent violation" pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3614(d)(1)(C)(ii).
B. The Court shall retain jurisdiction for the duration of this Consent Decree to enforce the terms of the Decree, after which time the case shall be dismissed with prejudice. Plaintiffs may move the Court to extend the duration of the Decree in the interests of justice.
XIII. Sale or Transfer of an Ownership Interest in the Subject Premises
Should the Defendants decide to sell or transfer ownership, in whole or in part, of any of the subject premises prior to the expiration of the duration of this Consent Decree, Defendants shall, at least thirty (30) days prior to completion of the sale or transfer:
A. Provide to each prospective buyer written notice that the complexes are subject to this Consent Decree, including specifically notice of the provisions requiring injunctive relief, along with a copy of this Consent Decree; and
B. Provide to the United States and to counsel for Plaintiffs-Intervenors, 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, and each prospective buyer's name, address and telephone number.
In addition, defendants shall require that the purchaser or transferee, as a condition of the sale or transfer, agree in writing to perform all of the relief required herein.
Notwithstanding the provisions of this subsection, purchasers or transferees of the subject premises shall be liable for compliance with the injunctive provisions of this Order only as long as they continue to use the subject premises for residential dwelling purposes.
XIV. Remedies for Non-Compliance
The parties to this Consent Order 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 of a failure by any of the Defendants to perform in a timely manner any act required by this Consent Order, 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 reasonable attorney' fees which may have been occasioned by the Defendants' violation or failure to perform.
XV. Time for Performance
Any time limits for performance imposed by this Consent Order may be extended by mutual written agreement of the parties.
XVI. Cost of Litigation
Each party to this litigation will bear its own costs and attorney fees associated with this litigation.
ORDERED this_____ day of ______, 2004.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE
The undersigned agree to and request the entry of this Consent Order:
For the United States:
| JOHN ASHCROFT
R. ALEXANDER ACOSTA
CHRISTOPHER J. CHRISTIE
MICHAEL A. CHAGARES
STEVEN H. ROSENBAUM
DONNA M. MURPHY
LORI K. WAGNER
Virginia Bar No.: 39446
U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division
Housing & Civil Enforcement Section
950 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20530
1800 G Street, NW, Suite 7002
Washington, D.C. 20006
Telephone: (202) 305-3107
(Fair Housing Poster)
List of Organizations
Housing Coalition of Central New Jersey
100 Bayard Street, 3rd Floor
New Brunswick, NJ 08901
Fair Housing Council of Northern New Jersey
131 Main Street, Room 235
Hackensack, NJ 07601
STATEMENT OF RECEIPT AND
UNDERSTANDING OF CONSENT ORDER
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. Hawthorne Gardens Associates., et al., C.A. No. ___ (D. New Jersey), and the federal Fair Housing Act and applicable state laws. I also was instructed as to the ______________________________ Apartment complex rental policies and procedures. I have received copies of and have read the Consent Order and Defendants' non-discrimination policy. I have had an opportunity to have my questions about the Consent Order and the Fair Housing Act answered . I understand my legal responsibilities and will comply with those responsibilities.
(Certificate of Attendance)
I, ______________________________, hereby acknowledge that on _______________ I received training by __________________________ on the requirements of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601-19, and that I have read the Consent Order entered by the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey in United States, et al. v. Hawthorne Gardens Associates, et al., Civil Action No.: 03cv00732(WGB).
I understand my obligation not to discriminate on the basis of familial status in violation of the Fair Housing Act.
I agree to comply with the Fair Housing Act and the Court's Order in the above-mentioned civil action.
Sworn to and subscribed before me
this ___ day of _______, _____.
My commission expires ___________________.
FULL AND FINAL RELEASE OF CLAIMS
I, _______________________, on behalf of myself and family members, agents, heirs, executors, administrators, successors and assigns, pursuant to the terms, provisions, and conditions of the Consent Order approved by the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey on_____________________, 2004 in the case of United States, et al. v. Hawthorne Gardens Associates, et al., Civ. No. 03cv00732(WGB) ("the lawsuit") and in consideration of the payment of _______________ do fully, finally and forever release, discharge, and hold harmless Hawthorne Gardens Associates, Rosemont Associates, Lodi Phillipsburg Associates, David Friedman, Samuel Halpern and Eva Halpern (hereinafter "the Defendants"), along with their insurer __________________________, attorneys, related companies, principals, predecessors, successors, assigns, affiliates, partners, 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 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 or statements related to those claims through the date of this Consent Order, including claims for damages (both compensatory and punitive), costs, fines and attorneys' 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 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.
to people who have lived at or applied to live at the LODI COURT APARTMENTS in Lodi, New Jersey, LODI CIRCLE APARTMENTS in Lodi, New Jersey, WAYNE KINGS ARMS APARTMENTS in Wayne, New Jersey, or HAWTHORNE GARDENS APARTMENTS in Hawthorne, New Jersey.
The Department of Justice has recently settled a lawsuit against the owners and managers of the above-listed apartment complexes, all located in Northern New Jersey.
The Department of Justice's lawsuit alleged that the owners and the manager of these residential rental complexes discriminated against tenants and applicants on the basis of familial status (discrimination against families with children under 18 years of age, or against a person who is pregnant).
The owners and managers of these complexes deny that they engaged in any discrimination.
The settlement agreement involves a monetary payment to victims of the alleged discrimination. You may be eligible to receive compensation if:
*You lived at the above-mentioned complexes between ----------------- and --------------------- and you were discriminated against on the basis of your familial status; or
*You applied to live at any of these complexes during the time frames set forth above and were turned down.
If you believe that you may have a claim, please call:
and select the mailbox option referring to Hawthorne Gardens Apartments.
1. All documents or other communications required by this Order to be sent to counsel for the United States shall be sent via regular first class mail (with attachments) to the attention of: Chief, Housing and Civil Enforcement Section, Civil Rights Division, DJ 175-18-363, United States Department of Justice, 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., G Street Building, Washington, D.C. 20530. Unless otherwise agreed between counsel, a copy of the documents (without attachments) also shall be sent via facsimile.
2. The Defendants shall make the payment to Complainant Lee Porter payable to: Fair Housing Council of Northern New Jersey. All payments to HUD complainants made under this Consent Order shall be mailed to the attention of Michaelene Loughlin, Esq., Council for Plaintiffs-Intervenors at 131 Main Street, Hackensack, New Jersey, Suite 235, 07601.
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