UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v. Civil Action No. 5:00 CV45-H
TOWN OF MAIDEN, NORTH
CAROLINA; and DORIS C. COMPLAINT
EUNGARNER, in her individual
capacity and in her official
capacity as Town Manager
The United States of America alleges:
1. This action is brought by the United States to enforce the provisions of Title VIII of theCivil Rights Act of 1968 (the Fair Housing Act), as amended by the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988, 42 U.S.C. 3601 et seq. It is brought on behalf of The Hand, Inc., a for-profit North Carolina corporation, pursuant to Section 812 (o) of the Fair Housing Act ("the Act") , as amended, 42 U.S.C. 3612(o).
2. This Court has jurisdiction over this action under 28 U.S.C. 1345 and 42 U.S.C. 3612(o).
3. Defendant Town of Maiden ("Town") is a municipality incorporated under the laws of North Carolina, located in Catawba County, within the Western District of North Carolina.
4. Defendant Doris C. Eumgarner is the town manager for the Town of Maiden and serves at the pleasure of the Town Council.
5. The Hand, Inc. ("The Hand") is a for-profit North Carolina corporation that develops and operates residential child-care facilities for children and adolescents with emotional and mental disabilities. The officers and shareholders of The Hand are African-American.
6. On or about May 17, 1995, The Hand filed a timely complaint alleging discrimination in housing on the basis of race and handicap 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). Tn the complaint, The Hand alleged that defendants Town of Maiden and Bumgarner engaged in unlawful discrimination on the basis of race and handicap by interfering with its ability to purchase and operate a group home in the Town of Maiden.
7. Pursuant to the requirements of 42 U.S.C. 3610 (a), (b) & (f), the Secretary of HUD conducted and completed an investigation of the complaint filed by The Hand, attempted conciliation without success, and prepared a final investigative report. Based on information gathered in the investigation, the Secretary, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 3610(g) (1), determined that reasonable cause existed to believe that discriminatory housing practices had occurred. Accordingly, on January 31, 2000, the Secretary issued a Charge of Discrimination 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.
8. On or about February 16, 2000, The Hand elected to proceed to resolve the case in a civil action filed in federal district court, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 3612(a).
9. Following the above election, the Secretary of HUD authorized the Attorney General to commence a civil action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 3612(o).
10. In 1995, The Hand entered into a contract to purchase a home in a subdivision known as Brookwood ("the Brookwood residence") , located within the boundaries of the Town. The Hand intended to use this home as a residence for up to six children with emotional and mental disabilities. If so used, the proposed home would have been a dwelling within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. 3602(b).
11. The children whom The Hand proposed to house in the Brookwood residence were handicapped within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. 3602(h).
12. Upon being informed by The Hand of its intentions with regard to the Brookwood residence, Defendants Town of Maiden and Bumgarner took, because of race or handicap, a series of actions intended to forestall The Hand from using it as a residence for children with emotional and mental disabilities. These actions included, but were not limited to, the following:
- Representing to The Hand and to others that the zoning regulations of the Town ofMaiden precluded the proposed use, while knowing such representations to be false;
- Attempting to induce the State of North Carolina Department of Human Services to deny a license to the proposed home, without respect to the regulations governing such licensure;
- Attempting to induce the financial institution which had issued a loan commitment tofinance the purchase of the Brookwood residence to withdraw that commitment, in orderto preclude The Hand from proceeding with its plans with respect to the residence.
13. The actions of defendants Town and Bumgarner:
- Made a dwelling unavailable to persons on account of race and handicap, in violation of 42 U.S.C. 3604(a) and 3604 (f) (1);
- Discriminated against The Hand in the provision of services or facilities in connectionwith the sale or rental of a dwelling because of race and handicap, in violation of 42 U.S.C. 3604(b);
- Made statements with respect to the sale of a dwelling that indicated a preference,limitation, or discrimination based on race and handicap, in violation of 42 U.S.C. 3604(c); and
- Interfered with The Hand, on account of race and handicap, in its exercise of rightsprotected by the Fair Housing Act, in violation of 42 U.S.C. 3617.
14. The Hand, Inc. is an aggrieved person, as defined in 42 U.S.C. 3602(i), and has suffered damages as a result of the defendants' conduct described above.
WHEREFORE, the United States prays that the court enter an ORDER that:
1. Declares that the discriminatory housing practices of the defendants as set forth above violate the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 3601 et seq.;
2. Enjoins the defendants, their agents, employees, successors, and all other persons in active concert or participation with them from discriminating on the basis of race and handicap against any person in any aspect of their right to live in a house and community of their choice;
3. Awards such damages as would fully compensate The Hand, Inc., for injuries caused by the defendants' discriminatory conduct, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 3612(o) (3); and
4. Awards punitive damages to The Hand, Inc. pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 3612(o) (3).
The United States further prays for such additional relief as the interests of justice may require.
BILL LANN LEE
Acting Assistant Attorney
JOAN A. MAGAGNA
Chief, Housing and
Civil Enforcement Section
ISABELLE M. THABAULT
HARVEY L. HANDLEY
Housing and Civil Enforcement
Civil Rights Division
Department of Justice
P.O. Box 65998
Washington, D.C. 20035-5998
Document Filed: March 17, 2000 > >