UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
PETITION TO ENFORCE A UNITED STATES
DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT SUBPOENA
Petitioner, the United States of America, by its attorney, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, respectfully petitions this Court for an Order to Show Cause why respondent Joanne Haislet should not be compelled to appear and provide access and allow inspection of the interiors of certain apartments as set forth in an administrative subpoena issued by the Department of Housing and Urban Development ("HUD") on October 25, 2002, and served upon Joanne Haislet on October 28, 2002. This request is made pursuant to the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3614(c).
As the basis for this petition, the petitioner states as follows:
1. Petitioner is the United States of America.
2. Respondent, Joanne Haislet, is the owner of rental property in Blue Island, Illinois, which is located within the Northern District of Illinois. Respondent Haislet participated in the rental of housing located at 2260 West Des Plaines, Blue Island, Illinois ("the subject property").
3. This Court has jurisdiction over this action under 42 U.S.C. § 3614(c), which provides that the Attorney General, on behalf of the Secretary of HUD, may enforce, in appropriate proceedings in the United States district courts, an administrative subpoena issued by the Secretary under the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601-3619.
4. Venue is proper in this Court under 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b). Further, venue is proper under 42 U.S.C. § 3614(c), which provides that an action to enforce an administrative subpoena issued by HUD may be brought in the United States district court for the district in which the person to whom the subpoena was addressed resides, was served, or transacts business.
5. HUD is the federal agency charged with the administration and enforcement of Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, as amended by the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 ("the Fair Housing Act"), including, inter alia, the investigation of charges of unlawful housing discrimination as set forth in Sections 810 and 811 of the Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3610 and 3611.
6. Pursuant to Section 811(a) of the Fair Housing Act, the Secretary of HUD is granted broad authority to investigate complaints of housing discrimination and, in connection with such investigations, to issue subpoenas. 42 U.S.C. § 3611(a).
7. Section 814(c) of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3614(c), authorizes the Attorney General to seek judicial enforcement of administrative subpoenas issued by HUD through the initiation of appropriate proceedings before the United States district courts.
8. John Meade is and at all times mentioned herein has been an employee of HUD, where he serves as an investigator in the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity in Chicago, Illinois.
9. Pursuant to its authority under the Fair Housing Act to investigate complaints of housing discrimination, HUD has initiated an investigation of Joanne Haislet, based upon the administrative complaint captioned: Vince and Yolanda Drakes v. Joanne Haislet, HUD Case Number 05-01-0455-8. The complaint involves allegations by Ms. Yolanda Drakes and Mr. Vince Drakes of discrimination based on familial status in the rental of housing. A copy of Mr. and Ms. Drakes's amended complaint is attached to this Petition as Exhibit 1. In their complaint, Yolanda and Vince Drakes assert that when they attempted to rent a three-bedroom apartment for themselves and their four children, respondent Joanne Haislet told them there were too many children to live in the unit.
10. As part of his duties for HUD, John Meade was assigned to investigate the Drakes' complaint. In furtherance of his investigation, investigator Meade wished to enter and measure the size of the relevant rooms in order to assess the legitimacy of the respondent's proffered justification, that she was acting in accordance with the City of Blue Island's occupancy code. Investigator Meade was unable to reach respondent Haislet by telephone and received no response to any regular or certified mailings he sent, including Requests for Admissions he sent concerning the size of the rooms.
11. On October 25, 2002, HUD issued a subpoena to inspect premises to Laurence and Joanne Haislet, directing them to allow John Meade to inspect the interiors of all apartments at the subject property that were available for rent in November 2000, the month the Drakes inquired about the unit they had seen advertised. The subpoena required that the respondents appear before John Meade at the property, 2260 West Des Plaines, Blue Island, Illinois, on December 3, 2002 at 10:00 a.m. to provide him access and allow him to inspect the interiors of the units. A copy of the subpoena is attached to this Petition as Exhibit 2.
12. The subpoena was served personally by John Meade upon Joanne Haislet at Near North Title Company, 222 North LaSalle Street, Chicago, Illinois, on October 28, 2002. A copy of Meade's affidavit to that effect is attached to his Declaration, which is attached to this Petition as Exhibit 3.
13. On December 3, 2002, respondent Joanne Haislet appeared at the property. When no one answered the door at the relevant units, respondent Haislet refused to give inspector Meade access to the units, although she had keys in her possession. Instead, respondent provided a note left by the tenant purporting to list the measurements of the rooms. Investigator Meade informed respondent that he needed to measure the rooms himself in order to make a determination regarding the complaint. Respondent Haislet stated that she would not allow him access to the unit because she wished to give the tenants notice that she and investigator Meade would be entering their units, something she had had more than a month to do after receiving the subpoena..
14. Subsequent to December 3, 2002, investigator Meade unsuccessfully attempted to contact respondent Haislet by telephone to set up another date to access the unit. He then sent a letter, by regular and certified mail, on July 21, 2003, requesting compliance with the subpoena. On July 30, 2003, respondent Haislet contacted investigator Meade, acknowledging receipt of the letter and stating that she would comply with the subpoena. She promised to call investigator Meade within one or two weeks to set up a time for the inspection. When respondent Haislet failed to contact investigator Meade, Meade sent a letter dated August 18, 2003, establishing a deadline of August 25, 2003, for the respondent to contact him. That letter was sent by regular and certified mail. Respondent has failed to contact investigator Meade, despite the fact that Meade left two subsequent voicemail messages asking Haislet to call to set up a time to inspect the unit.
15. John Meade is informed and believes that the respondent possesses and controls the units for which inspection is requested in the subpoena and which are relevant to HUD's investigation of Mr. and Ms. Drakes' complaint. See Exhibit 3 (Declaration of John Meade).
16. By letter dated September 11, 2003, HUD referred this matter to the Chief, Housing and Civil Enforcement Section, Civil Rights Division, which in turn referred the matter to the United States Attorney's Office. HUD requested that the Attorney General initiate appropriate proceedings to enforce the subpoena pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3614(c).
17. The subpoena is fully authorized and in all other respect is proper and entitled to enforcement by this Court.
WHEREFORE, petitioner respectfully prays for enforcement of the subject subpoena as follows:
a. That respondent Joanne Haislet be ordered to appear and show cause before this Court why she should not be compelled pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3614(c) to appear at 2260 West Des Plaines, Blue Island, Illinois to provide John Meade, a duly authorized representative of HUD, access and allow him to inspect the interiors of all apartments at 2260 West Des Plaines that were available for rent in November 2000, as required in the above-described subpoena; and
b. That the Court grant the petitioner United States of America such other and further relief as may be necessary and proper.
PATRICK J. FITZGERALD
United States Attorney
Assistant United States Attorney
219 South Dearborn Street
Chicago, Illinois 60604
Document File: December 30, 2003 > >