FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE |
THURSDAY, MAY 13, 2004
TDD (202) 514-1888
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT CHARGES CHICAGO AREA CONDOMINIUM ASSOCIATION WITH DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Justice Department announced today the filing of a lawsuit against the President and Board of Directors of a Glenview, Illinois Condominium Association, charging that condominium rules constitute a pattern and practice of discrimination against persons who use wheel chairs.
The government's complaint challenges a policy of the Triumvera Tower Condominium Association that requires residents who use wheel chairs to enter the building only through its rear service entrance, even though the front entrance is fully accessible to wheel chairs. The rear entrance abuts a loading dock and garbage dumpsters. The association has agreed to suspend the policy while the litigation is pending.
“The law demands fair treatment in housing for individuals with disabilities,” said R. Alexander Acosta, Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. “Forcing residents who use wheelchairs to enter their home through the back door is demeaning and far less than they deserve.”
“The Fair Housing Act exists to prevent precisely this type of second-class status for people with disabilities, and it will be vigorously enforced,” said United States Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald
The parents of a disabled boy living in the condominium building originally filed the case in March 2004.
The Justice Department’s complaint in intervention seeks an order enjoining the policy and also seeks monetary damages for the original plaintiffs and any additional persons harmed by the policy. It further requests a civil penalty.
Since January 1, 2001, the Civil Rights Division has filed 119 lawsuits alleging discrimination in housing, 44 or which alleged discrimination based on disability.
Persons who believe that they have been victims of housing discrimination at Triumvera Tower should contact the Civil Rights Division at (800) 896-7743. Persons who believe that they have been victims of housing discrimination elsewhere should contact the Department of Housing and Urban Development at (800) 669-9777. Additional information is available on HUD’s website at www.hud.gov <http://www.hud.gov> and the Justice Department website at www.usdoj.gov/crt/housing.