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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- In the first major housing discrimination case in Reno, Nevada, the owners and operators of six federally-subsidized apartment complexes will no longer discriminate against minorities and families with children, under an agreement reached today with the Justice Department.

The agreement, filed in U.S. District Court in Reno, resolves allegations that Pinewood Associates, Ltd., Manage, Inc. and other defendants violated the federal Fair Housing Act by engaging in a practice of discriminating against minority tenants and tenants with children.

"No American should face discrimination because they have children or because they have a different skin color," said Bill Lann Lee, Acting Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. "Because most of these tenants were receiving project-based, section 8 housing assistance, they couldn't simply move out in response to the discrimination without risking homelessness." The Justice Department's complaint alleged that the defendants' employees harassed tenant families by yelling obscenities at young children and threatening parents with eviction for minor infractions of rules that imposed unreasonable and discriminatory restrictions on children.

The complaint also alleged that the defendants' employees treated minority tenants less favorably than white tenants and used racial epithets.

Under today's agreement, the defendants will, among other things:

provide fair housing training for their employees and publicize the non-discrimination policy at their apartment complexes;

revise the tenant rules and regulations affecting families with children;

pay $240,000 to compensate any persons who are identified victims of the alleged discriminatory practices;

pay $42,500 to compensate private plaintiff Jacquelyn She Badhorse and her two children; and,

pay $100,000 in attorney's fees to private counsel.

"This case highlights the importance of the federal government working in partnership with Truckee Meadows Fair Housing and local residents to ensure that the laws protecting people against unlawful discrimination in renting and purchasing homes are enforced," said U.S. Attorney Kathryn E. Landreth. "I applaud the efforts of Truckee Meadows Housing and the Justice Department for aggressively pursuing this case to its successful conclusion."

Today's settlement also resolves a private class action suit for families with children at Pinewood Terrace Apartments, which was filed by Jacquelyn She Badhorse, a tenant at Pinewood Terrace Apartments. Ms. Badhorse initially filed a housing discrimination complaint with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) with assistance from Truckee Meadows Fair Housing, a non-profit fair housing organization in Reno. After finding evidence of familial status discrimination, HUD referred the case to the Justice Department for prosecution.

The settlement must be approved by the court before it becomes final.

The properties involved in this settlement are Pinewood Terrace Apartments, Reno Apartments, Sutro Apartments, Linden Apartments and Willow Creek Apartments in Reno, and Churchill Village Apartments in Fallon.

Individuals who believe that they may have been the victims of housing discrimination at these complexes should call the Housing Section of the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department at 1-800-896-7743.

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