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United States v. Centanni (D. N.J.)


On December 17, 2021, the court entered a consent decree in United States v. Centanni (D. N.J.).  The complaint, filed on August 5, 2020, alleged that Joseph Centanni, who owned and managed hundreds of rental units in and around Elizabeth, New Jersey, violated the Fair Housing Act by engaging in a pattern or practice of sexual harassment against tenants and housing applicants since at least 2005.  Centanni’s alleged conduct included demanding sexual favors like oral sex to get or keep housing, offering housing benefits like reduced rent in exchange for sexual favors, touching tenants and applicants in a way that was sexual and unwelcome, making unwelcome sexual comments and advances to tenants and applicants, and initiating or threatening to initiate eviction actions against tenants who objected to or refused his sexual advances.  The consent decree reflects that Centanni has sold all of his residential rental properties.  Under the terms of the consent decree, Centanni is permanently enjoined from owning and managing residential rental properties in the future.  Under the consent decree, Centanni must also dismiss housing court judgments, including evictions, obtained in proceedings deemed to be retaliatory and take steps to repair the credit of any affect tenants.  Under the terms of the consent decree, Centanni will pay $4,392,950 in monetary damages to tenants and prospective tenants harmed by his harassment and a $107,050 civil penalty to the United States.

Press Release (12/14/2021)
Comunicado de presa (14/12/2021)
Press Release (8/5/20)

Case Open Date
Case Name
United States v. Centanni (D. N.J.)
Civil Rights
  • 2:20-cv-10053; Fair Housing Act; FHA
  • housing choice voucher program; federally-funded; rental assistance program; lower-income families; elderly; disabilities
Industry Code(s)
  • None
Updated March 2, 2023