FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
MONDAY, DECEMBER 1, 2003
TDD (202) 514-1888
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT ANNOUNCES FAVORABLE DECISION IN SUIT REGARDING HOUSING DISCRIMINATION AGAINST MILITARY FAMILY
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Justice Department today announced a favorable decision in a housing discrimination lawsuit it brought on behalf of an Air Force Captain and his wife.
Judge David R. Herndon of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri ruled that the landlord, Mr. Kenneth Brosh refused to rent to the couple because they had children, in violation of the federal Fair Housing Act. Judge Herndon ordered the landlord to pay $15,445 in damages to the couple.
“The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination against families with children,” said R. Alexander Acosta, Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. “The court’s decision makes crystal clear the consequences for violating this law. We are especially pleased to right a wrong done to member of the armed forces and his wife, who were simply seeking to find a decent place for their family to live near the military base.”
The court found that in July 2000, Brosh refused to rent a house to Captain Dale Van Dyke, his wife Jennifer and their three children, in violation of the federal Fair Housing Act. The family relocated to Belleville because Van Dyke had been stationed at Scott Air Force Base. The Scott Air Force Base’s Housing Assistance Office referred Van Dyke to Brosh’s rental house. When Jennifer Van Dyke called Mr. Brosh about renting the house, however, he told her he did not like renting to families with young children. The family was unable to find another house in the area that was suitable for their family. They were forced to stay in cramped temporary base housing for several additional days. The family finally moved into a house in an undesirable neighborhood that lacked adequate place for their children to play outside.
Van Dyke filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which investigated the allegations and issued a charge of discrimination. The Housing and Civil Enforcement Section of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division prosecuted the case.
This is the second case the Justice Department handled this year in which the victims of discrimination were military families. In January, the Department entered into a consent decree with Trinidad Maldonado, the owner of the Midway Mobile Home Park in Junction City, Kansas. The Midway Mobile Home Park houses a number of military personnel stationed at the nearby Fort Riley Army Base and their families. The Department alleged in that case that Mr. Maldonado sexually harassed female tenants of the park, including several women whose husbands were stationed at Fort Riley. Mr. Maldonado agreed to pay $300,000 to settle the case.
Anyone who believes that he or she has been discriminated against in housing should call the Housing and Civil Enforcement Section of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division at 1-800-896-7743 or 202-514-3713, or contact the Department of Housing and Urban Development at 1-800-669-9777.
Additional information about the Housing and Civil Enforcement Section of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division is available on the Justice Department website at www.usdoj.gov/crt/housing <http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/housing>.