BRADLEY J. SCHLOZMAN
Acting Assistant Attorney General
STEVEN H. ROSENBAUM
TIMOTHY J. MORAN
BURTIS M. DOUGHERTY
AVERY J. BAKELEY
U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
Housing & Civil Enforcement Section - G Street
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530
Tel.: (202) 514-4713
Fax: (202) 514-1116
JAMES A. MCDEVITT
United States Attorney
Assistant United States Attorney
P.O. Box 1494
Spokane, WA 99201-1494
Tel: (509) 353-2767
Fax: (509) 353-2766
Counsel for Plaintiff United States
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTON
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
NATALYA PRACH, IVAN KRIGER, ANDREY
SAMOLOVOV, ANATOLIY TSIRIBKO, AND
NORTHWEST FAIR HOUSING ALLIANCE
BOWEN PROPERTY MANAGEMENT,
SPOKANE HOUSING AUTHORITY,
WESTFALL VILLAGE APARTMENTS, L.P.,
JOHN BALLAS AND KERREY LEMONS,
In July 2000, Natalya Prach, Mikhail and Nadya Azarov, Vladimir and Irena Greben, Vera Filipenko, and the Northwest Fair Housing Alliance (NWFHA) filed complaints of housing discrimination with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) against Bowen Property Management, the Spokane Housing Authority, Westfall Village Apartments L.P., John Ballas, and Kerrey Lemons. Pursuant to the requirements of 42 U.S.C. §3610, HUD investigated the complaints and attempted conciliation, without success. Based on the information gathered in its investigation, on September 30, 2002, HUD issued a Determination of Reasonable Cause and Charge of Discrimination, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §3610(g). In October, 2002, Bowen Property Management elected to have the Charge resolved in a civil action in federal court, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §3612(a), and HUD then authorized the Attorney General to commence a civil action on behalf of the HUD complainants, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §3612(o).
On July 18, 2003, the United States filed its Complaint alleging that the defendants were discriminating on the basis of national origin in the operation of the Westfall Village Apartments, in violation of the Fair Housing Act (FHA), 42 U.S.C. §§3601 et seq. By Consent Order entered August 21, 2003, the United States resolved its claims against the defendants Spokane Housing Authority and Westfall Village Apartments, LLP, and this litigation continued against the remaining defendants, Bowen Property Management (Bowen), John Ballas, and Kerrey Lemons.
In the first count of its complaint, the United States alleges that Defendants, acting through Kerrey Lemons, rental manager for Bowen, solicited and obtained additional money from the five HUD complainants of Russian national origin - the Grebens, the Azarovs, and Ms. Filipenko - because of their national origin, in exchange for an apartment, an apartment for a relative, or a transfer to a more desirable apartment, in violation of 42 U.S.C. §3604(b).
In the second count of its complaint, the United States alleges that Defendants retaliated against Natalya Prach for complaining about Defendants' discriminatory conduct by firing her from her job with Bowen and by threatening to evict her from her Westfall Village apartment, in violation of 42 U.S.C. §3617.
In the third count of its complaint, the United States alleges that the NWFHA was injured by Defendants' discriminatory housing practices described above in that it was forced to expend significant resources, diverted from its other fair housing-related activities, to assist the individual HUD complainants and investigate their complaints.
In the fourth count of its complaint, the United States alleges, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §3614(a), that Defendants were engaged in a pattern or practice of dis-crimination on the basis of national origin by denying or otherwise making unavail-able housing to persons who are not of Russian national origin and by dis-criminating against such persons in the terms, conditions, or privileges of the rental of a dwelling or in the provision of services or facilities in connection therewith, in violation of 42 U.S.C. §§3604(a) and (b). As a result of the conduct described in Count 1, Russian applicants and tenants were informed about and/or placed in available apartments ahead of non-Russians who had inquired about apartments and/or filled out guest cards seeking housing at Westfall Village earlier than Russian applicants. The United States also alleged that Defendants' conduct constituted a denial to a group of persons of rights granted by the Act, which denial raised an issue of general public importance, in violation of 42 U.S.C. §3614(a).
Defendants do not admit the allegations of the United States set forth above and in its complaint, and deny liability in this action.
The parties agree that the Court has jurisdiction over the subject matter of and the parties to this case. The United States and Defendants desire to avoid costly and protracted litigation and agree that all of the United States' claims against Defendants should be settled and resolved without the necessity of a trial. The parties have agreed to the entry of this Consent Order, as indicated by the signatures below, as a full and final resolution of all claims of violation of the Fair Housing Act that were alleged in this action by the United States pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§3604, 3614(a) and 3617. (1) Therefore, it is hereby ORDERED, ADJUDGED, and DECREED as follows:
I. Prohibitory Injunction
Defendants, their officers, agents, employees, successors, and all persons in active concert or participation with them are hereby enjoined, with respect to the rental of dwellings, from:
1. Refusing to rent a dwelling, refusing or failing to provide or offer information about a dwelling, or otherwise making unavailable or denying a dwelling to any person because of national origin, in violation of 42 U.S.C. §3604(a);
2. Discriminating against any person in the terms, conditions, or privileges of renting a dwelling because of national origin, in violation of 42 U.S.C. §3604(b); and
3. Retaliating against any person in any way as a result of the person's assertion of his/her own rights under the Fair Housing Act and/or any actions the person may have taken to aid others in the exercise of their rights under the Fair Housing Act, in violation of 42 U.S.C. §3617.
II. Instructions and Training
A. Within thirty (30) days of the entry of this Order, defendant Bowen shall provide a copy of this Order to all of its employees and agents, or anyone acting under their direction, who have responsibility for showing, renting, or managing any covered dwellings. Supervisory personnel or counsel for Bowen shall review these policies and procedures as well as this Order with such employees and agents and provide the opportunity for a question and answer session with each individual at that time. Bowen shall secure a signed statement from each agent or employee acknowledging that he or she has received and read this Order and has had the opportunity to have questions about them answered. This statement shall be in the form of Exhibit A hereto.
B. During the term of this Order, within ten (10) days after each new agent or employee becomes involved in showing, renting, or managing any covered dwelling, Bowen shall provide a copy of this Order to such agent or employee and secure the signed statement at Exhibit A from each acknowledging that he or she has received and read this Order and has had the opportunity to have questions about it answered.
C. Within thirty (30) days of the entry of this Order, Mr. Ballas and Ms. Lemons shall undergo in-person retraining on the Fair Housing Act, with specific emphasis on discrimination on the basis of national origin and retaliation. The training shall be conducted by an independent, qualified third party, approved in advance by the United States, and any expenses associated with this training shall be borne by Bowen. Bowen shall also obtain certifications of attendance executed by Mr. Ballas and Ms. Lemons, confirming their attendance at this training, in a form as shown at Exhibit B hereto.
III. Notice to Public of Nondiscrimination Policies
Within thirty (30) days after the date of entry of this Consent Order, Bowen shall take the following steps to notify the public of its nondiscriminatory policies:
1. Prominently post in the rental office of each covered dwelling, and at any other office it may currently or subsequently use for the rental of dwellings, a fair housing sign no smaller than ten (10) inches by fourteen (14) inches that indicates that all apartments are available for rent on a nondiscriminatory basis. A poster that comports with 24 C.F.R. Part 110 will satisfy this requirement. Defendants shall ensure that these signs or posters remain prominently displayed.
2. Include the words "Equal Housing Opportunity" and/or the fair housing logo in all rental advertising conducted by Bowen, their agents or employees, in newspapers, flyers, handouts, telephone directories and other written materials; on radio, television, or other media broadcasts; and on all signs, pamphlets, brochures, and other promotional literature, provided that this requirement does not compel Bowen to advertise in any of these media, but does require compliance with this provision whenever it so advertises. The words and/or logo shall be prominently placed and easily readable.
IV. Reporting Requirements
A. During the period in which this Order is in effect, Bowen 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, guest cards, leases, rent roll ledgers, availability lists, waiting lists, occupancy lists, and advertising information. Bowen shall also provide to counsel for the United States every six (6) months for the duration of this Order copies of all signed employee certifications obtained pursuant to Section II above. (2) 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 or, upon request by the United States, Bowen shall provide copies of such documents.
B. For the duration of this Order, Defendants shall advise counsel for the United States in writing within fifteen (15) days of receipt of any formal or informal complaint against them, or their employees or agents, regarding discrimination in housing on the basis of national origin or claiming retaliatory action. Defendants shall also promptly provide the United States all non-privileged information it may request concerning any such complaint. Within fifteen (15) days of the resolution of any such complaint, Defendants shall advise counsel for the United States of such resolution.
VI. Compensation of Aggrieved Persons
A. Within ten (10) business days after entry of this Consent Order, Defendants shall deliver to counsel for the United States checks payable to the following persons in the following amounts: (a) Vera Filipenko - $1,000.00; (b) Vladimir and Irena Greben - $2,000.00; and (c) Nadya and Mikhail Azarov - $1,000.00 each. The checks will not be sent to any of these individuals until he or she has executed and delivered the release at Exhibit C hereto to counsel for the United States, a copy of which will be provided to counsel for Defendants.
B. Defendants shall also pay a total of ten thousand dollars ($10,000) for the purpose of compensating persons whom the Court determines may have been harmed by Defendants' discriminatory rental practices (hereinafter "unidentified aggrieved persons"). Within ten (10) business days after entry of this Consent Order, Defendants shall deposit this sum into the interest-bearing account established for the purpose of compensating unidentified aggrieved persons (the "Settlement Fund") pursuant to Paragraph 32 of the Consent Order previously entered in this case between the United States and the defendants Spokane Housing Authority and Westfall Village Apartments, LP (the "Owners' Settlement"). (3) Defendants shall submit written verification to counsel for the United States that this sum has been deposited into this account.
C. Upon entry of this Consent Order, the United States will provide the defendants Spokane Housing Authority and Westfall Village Apartments, LP the written Notice of Fund Disbursement required by Paragraph 34 of the Owners' Settlement. That notification initiates the victim identification and compensation process provided for under that Consent Order. (4)
D. Within thirty (30) days of the entry of this Consent Order, Bowen shall send by first-class mail, postage prepaid, a copy of the Notice attached as Exhibit D hereto to the last-known address of all persons who had guest cards on file at Westfall Village dated before July 1, 2000. The United States will provide to Bowen the names and addresses of such persons. Within ten (10) days of the date the final notice is sent pursuant to this Paragraph, Bowen shall provide proof of mailing to counsel for the United States.
E. Within fifteen (15) days of the entry of this Order and again at least ten (10) but no more than twenty-one (21) days later, Bowen shall publish the Notice, Attachment D, in the Spokesman-Review. These publications shall be no smaller than three columns by six inches, and at least one publication date shall be a Sunday.
F. Allegedly aggrieved persons shall have 120 days from the date of the entry of this Consent Order to contact the United States in response to the Notice. The United States shall investigate the claims of allegedly aggrieved persons and, within 180 days from the entry of this Order, shall make a preliminary deter-mination of which persons are aggrieved and an appropriate amount of damages that should be paid to the each such person. The United States will inform all 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. Defendants shall have fourteen (14) days to review the declarations and provide to the United States any documents or information that they believe may refute the claim.
G. After receiving 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 Defendants. Defendants may make their own submission to the Court within ten (10) days of the United States' filing under this paragraph. When the Court issues an order approving or changing the United States's proposed distribution of funds for aggrieved persons, Defendants shall, within ten (10) days of the Court's order, deliver to counsel for the United States checks payable to the aggrieved persons in the amounts approved by the Court. In no event shall the aggregate of all such checks exceed the sum of the Compensation/Settlement Fund, including accrued interest. No aggrieved person shall be paid until he/she has executed and delivered to counsel for the United States the release at Appendix C.
H. In the event that less than the total amount in the Settlement Fund is distributed to aggrieved persons, the remainder shall be distributed as follows. If less than $25,000 (plus the interest accrued thereon) is distributed, the difference between the amount distributed and that amount shall be distributed pursuant to Paragraph 37 of the Owners' Settlement. Any additional amounts shall be returned to the defendants party to this Order. If more than $25,000 (plus the interest accrued thereon) is distributed, the remainder shall be returned to the defendants party to this Order.
VI. Civil Penalty
Within ten (10) days after the entry of this Consent Order, Defendants shall pay the sum of seven thousand dollars ($7,000) 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 check payable to the "United States Treasury." Defendants do not admit the allegations of the United States set forth above and in its complaint, and deny liability in this action.
VII. Scope and Duration of Consent Order
A. The provisions of this Consent Order shall apply to all defendants party to the Order, their officers, employees, officers, agents, successors, and all persons acting in active concert or participation with them.
B. This Consent Order is effective immediately upon its entry by the Court and shall remain in effect for three (3) years.
C. The Court shall retain jurisdiction for the duration of this Order to enforce the terms of the Order, after which time the case shall be dismissed with prejudice.
D. All parties shall be responsible for their own attorney's fees and court costs, except as provided for in Section VIII below.
VIII. Remedies for Non-Compliance, Performance Times, and Modifications
A. The United States may move the Court to extend the period in which this Order is in effect if any defendant violates one or more terms of the Order or if the interests of justice otherwise require an extension of the terms of the Order.
B. Any time limits for performance imposed by this Order may be extended by mutual written agreement of the parties.
C. The parties to this 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 the United States contends that there has been a failure by any of the defendants, whether willful or otherwise, to perform in a timely manner any act required by this Order or otherwise to comply with any provision thereof, 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, and an award of any damages, costs, and attorney's fees which may have been occasioned by any defendant's violation or failure to perform.
IT IS SO ORDERED:
This ______ day of _____________________, 2005.
EDWARD F. SHEA
United States District Judge
Approved as to form and content:
For the United States of America:
JAMES A. MCDEVITT
| BRADLEY J. SCHLOZMAN
Acting Assistant Attorney General
___s/ Avery J. Bakeley_________
For Defendants Bowen Property Management and John Ballas:
| John Ballas BPMC
Vice President / Operations , its John Ballas
| s/ John Ballas
s/ Eric M. Steven
ERIC M. STEVEN, Esq.
140 West Boone Avenue
Spokane, WA 99210
For Defendant Kerrey Lemons:
s/ Kerrey Lemons
s/ Michael M. Parker
MICHAEL M. PARKER, Esq.
Powell, Kuznetz & Parker
316 West Boone Avenue
Spokane, WA 99201
Employee/Agent Acknowledgment of Receipt and Review of Consent Order
I have received a copy of the Consent Order entered in United States v. Bowen Property Management, et al., No. CS-03-0250-EFS (E.D. Wash.). The Consent Order was explained to me by my employer or its representative, and I had the opportunity to have questions concerning it answered. I have read and understood the Consent Order.
EMPLOYEE/AGENT NAME (PRINT)
Certification Of Fair Housing Training Attendance
I hereby certify that ___________________________________ , an employee or agent of Bowen Property Management, attended fair housing training provided by myself, a representative of __________________________________ , on the date indicated below.
NAME OF TRAINER (PRINTED)
In consideration for the parties' agreement to the terms of Bowen Property Management, et al., No. CS-03-0250-EFS (E.D. Wash.), and Defendants' payment to me of $_____________, pursuant to the Consent Order, I hereby release and forever discharge all claims related to the facts at issue in the litigation referenced above, or in any way related to that litigation, and any other claims arising from the housing discrimination alleged in that litigation up to and including the date of execution of this release, that I may have against any of the Defendants, all related entities, parents, predecessors, successors, subsidiaries and affiliates, and all of their past and present directors, officers, agents, managers, supervisors, shareholders, and employees and their heirs, executors, administrators, successors or assigns.
Executed this _____ day of __________________, 2005.
NOTICE TO POTENTIAL VICTIMS OF HOUSING DISCRIMINATION
On _____________________ , 2005, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Washington entered a consent order resolving litigation brought by the United States Department of Justice involving Westfall Village Apartments, 3724 North Cook St., Spokane, Washington. The lawsuit alleged that, for a period of time, Russian households were allowed, after a payment of extra fees, to obtain apartments there ahead of other households who had expressed an interest in obtaining apartments they before they had, in violation of the Fair Housing Act.
Under this consent order, a person may be entitled to receive monetary relief if you or anyone you know:
FILLED OUT A GUEST CARD FOR WESTFALL VILLAGE BEFORE JULY 1, 2000; AND
YOU WERE NOT ABLE TO RENT AN APARTMENT THERE, OR WERE DELAYED IN GETTING ONE, BECAUSE OF YOUR NATIONAL ORIGIN
If you wish to make a claim for discrimination on the basis of national origin, or if you have any information about persons who may have such a claim, please contact the United States Department of Justice at 1-800-896-7743. You may also write to:
United States Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
Housing and Civil Enforcement Section - NWB
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20530
Attn: DJ 175-81-25
NOTE: You must call or write no later than ______________, 2005.
1. Both Natalya Prach and the NWFHA have intervened as plaintiffs in this action. They are independently asserting the claims initially made by the United States on their behalf, and this Order does not resolve their claims against these defendants.
2. All documents or other communications required by this Order to be sent to counsel for the United States shall be addressed as follows: Chief, Housing and Civil Enforcement Section, Civil Rights Division, DJ 175-81-25, United States Department of Justice, 950 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W.- G St., Washington, D.C. 20530, or as otherwise directed by the United States.
3. The current balance in the Settlement Fund is approximately $25,400.
4. Pursuant to that Consent Order, the United States will direct the parties thereto to undertake certain actions described therein to notify residents and some former residents of Westfall Village of the availability of the Settlement Fund.
Document Entered: September 22, 2005 > >