WAN J. KIM
Assistant Attorney General
STEVEN H. ROSENBAUM, Chief
TIMOTHY J. MORAN, Deputy Chief
MICHALYN STEELE, Attorney
Civil Rights Division, Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W.
Northwestern Building, 7th Floor
Washington, D.C. 20530
Phone: (202) 353-9331
Fax: (202) 514-1116
MARTY J. JACKLEY
United States Attorney
325 S. First Ave.
Sioux Falls, SD 57104
Phone: (605) 330-4400
Attorneys for Plaintiff
United States of America
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF SOUTH DAKOTA
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
PAUL HASSE COMPLAINT
The United States of America alleges as follows:
1. This action is brought by the United States to enforce the provisions of the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601-3631.
2. This Court has jurisdiction over this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1345 and 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o).
3. Venue is proper in the District Court of South Dakota under 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b) and 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o), in that the events or omissions giving rise to this action occurred in this district.
4. At all times relevant to this complaint, Defendant Paul Hasse has been the owner and/or rental agent for an 8-unit residential rental property at 816 W. Main St., Vermillion, South Dakota (the “subject property”).
5. The subject property is a dwelling within the meaning of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3602(b).
6. On or about August 16, 2005, August 23, 2005, August 30, 2005, September 6, 2005, September 13, 2005, and September 20, 2005, Defendant placed advertisements in the Vermillion Broadcaster, a Vermillion, South Dakota newspaper, for a two-bedroom vacancy in the subject property. The published advertisements included the words, “No smokers, pets, minors. . . .” The advertisement also appeared in the online version of the Yankton Press & Dakotan on these same dates.
7. Fair Housing of the Dakotas (FHD) is a non-profit fair housing group with its principal place of business at 533 Airport Road, Suite C, Bismarck, North Dakota.
8. On or about August 23, 2005, an FHD tester called the number listed in the advertisement. The tester indicated that she was interested in renting the apartment for herself and her two daughters. Defendant Hasse told the tester that he had three restrictions: “no pets, no smoking, and no kids,” or words to that effect, and that he would therefore not rent the apartment to her.
9. On or about August 25, 2005, a second FHD tester called the number listed in the advertisement and spoke to Defendant Hasse. The second tester inquired as to whether the apartment was still available for rent. Defendant told her it was available, but that he had three restrictions: “no pets, no kids, and no smokers,” or words to that effect. The tester said she was looking for an apartment for herself, her husband, and her mother. Defendant said “good” and offered her an opportunity to view the apartment.
10. On or about September 6, 2005, FHD filed a complaint of discrimination (HUD Form 903) with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) alleging that the Defendant discriminated on the basis of familial status in violation of the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601, et seq.
11. Pursuant to the requirements of 42 U.S.C. §§ 3610(a) and (b), the Secretary of HUD conducted an investigation of the complaint, attempted conciliation without success, and prepared a final investigative report. Based on the information gathered in this investigation, the Secretary, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3610(g)(1), determined that reasonable cause existed to believe that Defendants committed illegal discriminatory housing practices in connection with the subject property. Therefore, on July 12, 2006, the Secretary issued a Determination of Reasonable Cause and Charge of Discrimination, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3610(g)(2)(A), charging that the Defendants had engaged in discriminatory practices, in violation of the Fair Housing Act.
12. On July 18, 2006, Complainant FHD timely elected to have the charge resolved in a federal civil action, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3612(a).
13. The Secretary subsequently authorized the Attorney General to file this action on behalf of the Complainant, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3610(o).
14. Plaintiff, United States of America, reallges and incorporates by reference the allegations set forth in paragraphs 1 through 13 above.
15. By the actions and statements set forth above in paragraphs 6-9, Defendant has:
a. Refused to rent, refused to negotiate for the rental of, or otherwise made unavailable or denied a dwelling to a person because of familial status, in violation of Section 804(a) of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3604(a);
b. Made statements and caused to be made, printed or published statements and advertisements with respect to the rental of a dwelling that indicates a preference, limitation and discrimination based on familial status, and an intention to make such a preference, limitation or discrimination based on familial status, in violation of Section 804(c) of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3604(c).
16. As a result of the conduct or actions of the Defendant, Complainant FHD has suffered damages and is an aggrieved person within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. 3602(i).
17. The Defendants’ discriminatory actions and statements as set forth above were intentional, willful, and taken in disregard for the rights of others.
18. Plaintiff, United States of America, realleges and incorporates by reference the allegations set forth in paragraphs 1 through 17 above.
19. By the actions and statements set forth in the paragraphs 6-9 above, Defendant has engaged in conduct that constitutes:
a. a pattern of practice of resistance to the full enjoyment of rights granted by the Fair Housing Act, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3614(a); or
b. 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).
20. There may be persons, other than the FHD, who have been injured by the Defendant’s discriminatory housing practices. Such persons are aggrieved persons within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 3602(i).
WHEREFORE, the United States prays for relief as follows:
1. A declaration that the conduct of Defendant as set forth above violates the Fair
Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601-3631;
2. An injunction against Defendant, his agents, employees, and successors, and all
other persons in active concert or participation with him, from:
a. discriminating on the basis of familial status in violation of the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601-3631;
b. failing or refusing to notify the public that dwellings owned or operated by the Defendants are available to all persons on a nondiscriminatory basis; and
c. failing or refusing to take such affirmative steps as may be necessary to restore, as nearly as practicable, FHD and any other aggrieved persons to the position they would have been in but for the discriminatory conduct;
3. An award of monetary damages to FHD and any other aggrieved persons pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 3612(o)(3) and 3613(c).
4. 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 further prays for such additional relief as the interests of justice may require.
|Dated: Sept 29, 2006|| ALBERTO GONZALES
| MARTY J. JACKLEY
United States Attorney
WAN J. KIM
Assistant Attorney General
Civil Rights Division
Document Filed: September 29, 2006 > >