FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                          CR
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 1, 1996                           (202) 616-2765
                                               TDD (202) 514-1888

     WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Justice Department today sued the
owners and managers of two suburban Chicago apartment complexes for
refusing to rent to African-Americans.  It is the first Chicago
area case resulting from a nationwide fair housing testing program
conducted by the Justice Department.
     Under the program, trained teams of African-Americans and
white testers help detect discrimination by posing as prospective
tenants and inquiring about the availability of rental units.  The
results of the testers are later compared by investigators.

     Today's suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago, alleged
that the owners and managers of Forest Hills Apartments, in Oak
Forest, and Commercial Avenue Apartments, in South Chicago Heights,
violated the Fair Housing Act by treating African-American tenants
less favorably than whites.

     "No American should ever be denied a home due to the color of
his or her skin," said Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights
Deval L. Patrick.  "All people looking to rent apartments deserve
to be treated fairly and to get correct information about the
availability of apartments, regardless of their race."
     According to Patrick, teams of black and white testers posing
as prospective tenants inquired about renting at the two complexes. 
The managers either refused to rent to the African-Americans
testers, told them that no apartments were available for the time
that they requested, or offered them apartments on less favorable
terms than the white testers.
     Testing investigations have resulted in 34 federal cases in
eight states, including Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, California, South
Dakota, Indiana, Missouri and Florida.  Twenty two cases have lead
to settlements or judgments totaling more than $3.2 million. 
Currently, the Justice Department is conducting testing in about a
dozen cities.

     The suit asks the court to order owners Ronald Glas, David
Kozak, and Gary Kozak and their managers to no longer engage in
discriminatory practices and to pay damages to any victims of the
discrimination.  Under the Fair Housing Act, a court may also
require each defendant to pay a penalty of up to $50,000 for the
first violation and $100,000 for a subsequent violation.  

     The 160-unit Forest Hills Apartment complex is located at 5049
West 159th Street in Oak Forest, and the Commercial Avenue
Apartments, consisting of 62 units, at 3351 Commercial Avenue in
South Chicago Heights.

     "We will not hesitate to act when an individual's race is
unlawfully used as a basis to restrict his or her choice of
housing.  To exclude a person from housing of their choice on the
basis of race is reprehensible," said James B. Burns, U.S. Attorney
in Chicago.  "Today's action should warn all housing providers in
the Chicago area that housing discrimination can and will be

     Individuals who believe that they may have been the victims of
housing discrimination at either the Forest Hills or the Commercial
Avenue Apartments should call the United States Attorney's Office
at 312-353-1857, the Housing Section of the Civil Rights Division
of the Justice Department at 1-800-896-7743, or the South Suburban
Housing Center at 708-957-4674.
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