FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 9, 2003
TDD (202) 514-1888
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE SETTLES HOUSING DISCRIMINATION CASE AGAINST DEVELOPERS OF FIVE APARTMENT COMPLEXES IN IDAHO
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Justice Department today announced an agreement with several Boise, Idaho builders and architects to settle a lawsuit alleging violations of the federal Fair Housing Act.
The defendants responsible for the construction of five apartment complexes in the Boise area - Boise developers Walter T. Sigmont and Wirt Edmonds; Pacific Northwest Electric, Inc.; Edmonds Construction Co., Inc.; and architects Teal Whitworth Architects, P.A. and Capstone, Inc. - have agreed to settle a lawsuit brought by the Justice Department by retrofitting the complexes to make them accessible to persons with disabilities.
“The Fair Housing Act requires that multi-family housing be designed and constructed so that persons with disabilities can access and use the premises,” said R. Alexander Acosta, Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. “Through settlement agreements such as this one, we are ensuring that the protections of the Fair Housing Act are fairly enforced. We commend the defendants for cooperating with the Justice Department in resolving this matter.”
The settlement, which must still be approved by a federal district judge, resolves a lawsuit filed by the Justice Department in January 2001. The lawsuit alleged that the defendants violated the Fair Housing Act when they designed and constructed five apartment complexes in Boise that were not accessible to persons with disabilities. The settlement calls for the defendants to retrofit the complexes by, among other things, removing steps, reconfiguring kitchens and bathrooms to provide added maneuvering space, widening doorways, leveling sidewalks, and adding accessible parking and curb ramps. In addition, the defendants must pay $5,000 in damages to the Intermountain Fair Housing Council, and set aside $29,000 for other persons who were harmed by the lack of accessible feature at the complex.
The five Boise complexes that were the subject of the suit are Grayling Place, Jade Village, Imperial Court, Eagleson Park and Harborview Station (formerly known as Lawton Apartments).
Individuals who believe they may have been victims of housing discrimination may call the Justice Department's Housing and Civil Enforcement Section at 800-896-7743, extension 995. Additional information is available on HUD’s website at www.hud.gov and the Justice Department website at www.usdoj.gov/crt/housing.