FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MONDAY, JUNE 21, 1999
TDD (202) 514-1888
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT SUES THREE PARSIPPANY APARTMENT COMPLEXES
FOR ALLEGEDLY DISCRIMINATING AGAINST AFRICAN AMERICANS
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The owners and managers of three Parsippany, New Jersey, apartment complexes were sued today by the Justice Department for allegedly refusing to rent to African Americans.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Newark, New Jersey, alleges that Garden Homes Management and the owners of Lakeview Garden Apartments (214 units), Westgate Garden Apartments (152 units), and Redstone Garden Apartments (92 units), told African Americans that apartments were not available while telling whites that apartments were available. Garden Homes Management, Corp., Westbound Homes, Inc., Redstone Garden Apartments, Inc, Joseph Wilf, and Cathy Rosenstein are named as defendants.
"We are committed to fighting housing discrimination which far too often goes uncovered," said Acting Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Bill Lann Lee. "Today's actions should warn all housing providers that housing discrimination is no longer immune to detection."
This is Justice Department's 56th case stemming from a nationwide fair housing testing program aimed at detecting illegal discrimination. Under the program, trained pairs of African American and white testers pose as prospective tenants and inquire about the availability of rental units. By comparing the experiences of the testers, investigators determine whether minorities were treated less favorably than whites. The Northern New Jersey Fair Housing Council also participated in the tests for this case.
"This case demonstrates that we still must use the powers of the Justice Department to ensure equal housing opportunities,"said Faith S. Hochberg, U.S. Attorney for New Jersey. "It is patently unfair and unjust for any person to be discriminated against simply for seeking to rent an apartment in New Jersey."
Today's lawsuit seeks an order preventing Garden Homes Management and the owners of the three complexes from engaging in further discriminatory practices and requiring the defendants to pay damages to any individuals identified as victims of the discrimination. Under the Fair Housing Act, a court may also require each defendant to pay a civil penalty up to $50,000 for the first violation and $100,000 for a subsequent violation.
Individuals who believe they may have been the victims of housing discrimination should call the Housing Section of the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department at (800) 896-7743.