WASHINGTON – The Justice Department today sued Reggie and Kim Collier, of Haughton, La., for violating the Fair Housing Act when they interfered with the sale of a home because of the perceived race of the buyers.
The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, charges that the Colliers interfered with the sale of 4512 Camp Joy Road, Camp Joy Marina, Haughton, La., in 2004, because they believed the buyers were African-American. The suit alleges that Reggie Collier told the sellers that if African Americans purchased their home, he would cut off their water and sewer utilities. As a result of this alleged interference, the buyers withdrew from their agreement to purchase the property.
“The Fair Housing Act ensures that persons have the right to purchase a home free of racial discrimination,” said Grace Chung Becker, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.
This lawsuit arose as a result of a complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) by the couple who attempted to sell their home. After an investigation of the complaint, HUD issued a charge of discrimination, and the complainants elected to have the case heard in federal court.
The suit seeks a court order prohibiting future discrimination by the Colliers, requiring the Colliers to pay monetary damages to the complainants, and pay a civil penalty. The suit also alleges that the Colliers’ conduct constituted a pattern or practice of discrimination, or the denial of rights to a group of persons that raises an issue of general public importance, and seeks monetary damages for any other persons harmed by the Colliers’ actions.
The federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability and familial status. Since Jan. 1, 2001, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division has filed 247 cases to enforce the Fair Housing Act, 69 of which have alleged discrimination based on race. More information about the Civil Rights Division and the laws it enforces is available at http://www.usdoj.gov/crt. Individuals who believe that they may have been victims of housing discrimination can call the Housing Discrimination Tip Line at 1-800-896-7743, email the Justice Department at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development at 1-800-669-9777.