Department of Justice Seal




(202) 616-2777


TDD (202) 514-1888



WASHINGTON, D.C. The owners and managers of three apartment complexes located in Parsippany, New Jersey have agreed to pay $250,000 in damages and civil penalties for allegedly refusing to rent apartments to African-Americans and discriminating against families with children, the Justice Department announced today.

The June 1999 complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in Newark, New Jersey, alleged that Garden Homes Management, the rental agent, and the owners of Lakeview Garden Apartments (214 units), Westgate Garden Apartments (152 units) and Redstone Garden Apartments (92 units) violated the Fair Housing Act by discriminating against African-Americans by telling them that apartments were not available when available units existed. Garden Homes Management Corp., Westbound Homes Inc., Redstone Garden Apartments Inc., and Cathy Rosenstein were named as defendants.

In an amended complaint filed in July 2000, the Justice Department claimed that the defendants also discriminated against families with children by restricting those families to first floor units and telling them that apartments were not available when they were available. The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, familial status, religion, sex, national origin or disability.

This case was based, in part, on evidence gathered through the Justice Department's 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 determined that African-Americans were treated less favorably than whites. The Northern New Jersey Fair Housing Council also participated in the tests for this case.

"It is unfortunate that we find this kind of blatant discrimination more than 30 years after the Fair Housing Act was passed, " said Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Ralph F. Boyd Jr. "All Americans should have the ability to live in the neighborhood of their choice regardless of the color of their skin or family composition."

In April and May of 1998, the Department of Justice and the Northern New Jersey Fair Housing Council conducted three tests of Lakeview, Redstone, and Westgate Garden Apartments. In each of the three tests, the rental agent told African-American testers that apartments were not available while telling white testers that apartments were available. The rental agent also discouraged African-American testers from applying for apartments and told them that there was a waiting list of 20 or more people while not telling white testers that they would need to put themselves on a waiting list.

In addition to the tests, the Justice Department also identified two individuals who were victims of the defendants' alleged discriminatory conduct and several individuals who stated that they were told by the rental agent that the defendants limited families with children to certain apartments.

"That this type of discrimination continues boggles the mind," said Robert J. Cleary, U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey. "Other rental managers and building owners should take notice of the penalties that these defendants are paying for their illegal discrimination."

Under the agreement, which still must be approved by the court, the defendants will:

  • pay $200,000 into a fund to compensate any individuals who were victims of discrimination on the basis of race or familial status;

  • pay $50,000 in civil penalties to the U.S. Treasury;

  • train all employees about their obligations under the Fair Housing Act;

  • conduct at least three fair housing tests per year at each of Garden Homes Management's properties for the next three years;

  • publicize their non-discrimination policy and;

  • submit to monitoring by the Justice Department to ensure future compliance with the Fair Housing Act.

Individuals who believe they may have been victims of housing discrimination at Lakeview, Redstone or Westgate Garden Apartments should call the Housing Section of the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department at (800) 896-7743.