WASHINGTON – The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division today announced an agreement with the Latvian Tower Condominium Association Inc. and its former president, Karl Tegtmeyer, to settle allegations of discrimination against families with children. Under the consent decree, which must still be approved in federal court in Omaha, Neb., the defendants must pay $112,500 to victims of discrimination and an additional $15,000 to the government as a civil penalty.
This lawsuit arose as a result of a complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) by a couple who attempted to sell their condominium. After an investigation of the complaint, HUD issued a charge of discrimination and the complainants elected to have the case heard in federal court. The lawsuit alleged that the condominium association maintained rules that barred the sale or rental of condominiums to families with children. The lawsuit also alleged that the condominium association and Tegtmeyer’s conduct constituted a pattern or practice of discrimination, and sought a civil penalty as well as monetary damages for any other persons harmed by the defendants’ actions.
"Federal law guarantees families with children the right to equal access to housing. Settlements such as this one help ensure that all families can enjoy that right," said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "The Department of Justice will vigorously pursue violations of the Fair Housing Act."
"This settlement sends a strong message that we will not tolerate discrimination in housing," said Deborah Gilg, U.S. Attorney for the District of Nebraska.
"Housing discriminating against families with children is illegal. Together with the Justice Department, HUD will ensure that neighborhoods are free from discrimination," stated John Trasviña, Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing & Equal Opportunity.
Fighting illegal housing discrimination is a top priority of the Justice Department. The federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin and disability.
More information about the Civil Rights Division and the laws it enforces is available at www.justice.gov/crt/. Persons who believe they have experienced or witnessed unlawful housing discrimination may call the Housing Discrimination Tip Line at 1-800-896-7743, e-mail the Justice Department at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact HUD at 1-800-669-9777. More information about the Fair Housing Act can also be found at www.justice.gov/crt/housing or www.hud.gov/fairhousing.