IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR
THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF OHIO
WESTERN DIVISION AT DAYTON
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
URBANA MHP, LLC,
PARKBRIDGE INVESTMENT GROUP, INC.,
McINTOSH MANAGEMENT, and
The United States of America alleges that:
1. This is a civil action brought by the United States on behalf of Lloyd Stewart and Catherine Stewart to enforce the provisions of the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3604(b), (c) and § 3617.
2. Urbana MHP, LLC (hereinafter "Urbana MHP") is a Limited Liability Corporation registered in the State of Michigan, which owns and operates an 86 unit mobile home park known as Urbana Estates, located at 225 Logan Street, Urbana, Champaign County, Ohio, 43078.
3. Parkbridge Investment Group, Inc. (hereinafter "Parkbridge") is a for profit corporation registered in the State of Michigan. Parkbridge is responsible for the operation of approximately 30 mobile home communities in Ohio and elsewhere in the Midwest, including Urbana Estates.
4. McIntosh Management (hereinafter "McIntosh") is an assumed name of Parkbridge.
5. At the times relevant to this Complaint, Randy Daniels and Robin Daniels served as Managers of Urbana Estates. Randy Daniels and his wife Mary Daniels were selected by Urbana MHP/Parkbridge/McIntosh to be the Resident Managers of Urbana Estates shortly after the entities purchased the mobile home community in or about April 2002. On or about June 27, 2002, Randy Daniels died, and Urbana MHP/Parkbridge/McIntosh appointed Robin Daniels, his son, to replace him. Both Randy Daniels and Robin Daniels resided in Urbana Estates.
6. This Court has jurisdiction over this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1345 and 42 U.S.C.§ 3612(o).
7. Venue is proper in the Western Division of this judicial district under 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b) in that the events giving rise to this action occurred in Champaign County, Ohio, which is in the Western Division of this Court.
8. Lloyd Stewart is an African American male who has resided at Urbana Estates since approximately eight years prior to its acquisition by Urbana MHP/Parkbridge/McIntosh in 2002 and since that time to the present with his wife, Catherine Stewart, a Caucasian female. At the times relevant to this Complaint, Lloyd Stewart was the only African-American resident of the subject property.
9. The mobile home lot rented by the Stewarts is a dwelling within the meaning of Section 802 of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3602(b).
10. On or about July 23, 2002, Lloyd and Catherine Stewart filed a timely complaint alleging discrimination in housing on the basis of race with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development ("HUD") pursuant to section 810(a) of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3610(a). That complaint alleged, inter alia, that from April 2002 through July 2002, defendants Urbana MHP, Parkbridge, McIntosh, and Robin Daniels, as well as Randy Daniels, discriminated against Lloyd and Catherine Stewart by: (1) making statements to other tenants respecting the rental of lots indicating an intention to discriminate based on race; (2) intimidating, threatening, and interfering with the Stewarts in their use and enjoyment of their mobile home lot based on Lloyd Stewart's race; and (3) interfering with the Stewarts in their exercise and enjoyment of rights granted or protected by the Fair Housing Act.
11. Pursuant to the requirements of 42 U.S.C. §§ 3610(a) and (b), the Secretary of HUD conducted and completed an investigation of the complaint, attempted conciliation without success, and prepared a final investigative report. Based on the information gathered in the investigation, the Secretary, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3610(g)(1), determined that reasonable cause existed to believe that discriminatory housing practices had occurred. Accordingly, on or about September 30, 2004, the Secretary issued a Charge of Discrimination ("the Charge") pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3610(g)(2)(A), charging defendants Urbana MHP, Parkbridge, McIntosh and Robin Daniels with engaging in discriminatory housing practices in violation of sections 804(b) and (c) and section 818 of the Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3604(b), (c) and 3617 (1).
12. On or about October 21, 2004, Lloyd and Catherine Stewart elected to have the HUD Charge resolved in a civil action in federal district court, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3612(a).
13. Following this election, the Secretary of HUD authorized the Attorney General to commence a civil action, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o).
14. As alleged in the HUD complaint described in paragraph 10 above, Lloyd and Catherine Stewart lived at Urbana Estates for approximately eight years prior to its acquisition by Urbana MHP/Parkbridge/McIntosh. On or about April 7, 2002, Urbana MHP/Parkbridge/McIntosh appointed Randy and Mary Daniels to serve as resident managers.
15. In or about May and June 2002, prior to his death on June 27, 2002, Randy Daniels allegedly made statements to tenants at Urbana Estates indicating an intent to evict the Stewarts because of Lloyd Stewart's race. The Stewarts became aware of these statements and feared that they would be evicted.
16. Following Randy Daniels' death on or about June 27, 2002, Urbana MHP/Parkbridge/McIntosh appointed his son Robin Daniels to replace him. On or about July 6, 2002, Lloyd Stewart, who was in his yard at Urbana Estates, heard Robin Daniels loudly yell a racial epithet, "nigger", as he drove slowly past Stewart's mobile home in his truck.
17. On or about July 17, 2002, Robin Daniels, without prior notice, entered the Stewarts' property to conduct an inspection. Lloyd Stewart called the rental office later that day to complain about this activity, which he considered a trespass by management. During this telephone conversation, Stewart told Robin Daniels next time to notify him first or bring a law enforcement officer with him. Daniels responded to Stewart with an epithet, and then called the local police and reported that Stewart had harassed him by making derogatory comments about his deceased father. Daniels insisted that a charge of telephone harassment be filed against Lloyd Stewart.
18. On or about August 30, 2002, when Lloyd Stewart appeared in Champaign County Municipal Court to answer the telephone harassment charge, the case against him was dismissed on motion of the state.
19. Urbana MHP/Parkbridge/McIntosh are responsible and liable for the discriminatory acts of their agents, Randy Daniels and Robin Daniels.
20. As a result of defendants' actions described above, Lloyd and Catherine Stewart have suffered financial damages and emotional distress, including embarrassment and public humiliation.
21. Each defendant, through its actions described in paragraphs 14 through 20 above, has:
- made statements with respect to the continued rental of a dwelling that indicate a preference, limitation, or discrimination based on race, or an intention to make any such preference, limitation or discrimination, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(c);
- discriminated in the terms, conditions, or privileges of rental of a dwelling or in the provision of services or facilities in connection therewith, because of race, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(b); and
- intimidated, threatened, or interfered with the Stewarts in their exercise and enjoyment of rights granted and protected under the Fair Housing Act in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3617.
22. Lloyd and Catherine Stewart are aggrieved persons, as defined in 42 U.S.C. § 3602(i), and have suffered damages as a result of the defendants' conduct described above.
23. The discriminatory actions of defendants were intentional, willful, and taken in disregard for the rights of Lloyd and Catherine Stewart.
PRAYER FOR RELIEF
WHEREFORE, the United States prays that this court enter an Order that:
A. declares that the discriminatory housing practices of defendants as set forth above violate the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq;
B. enjoins the defendants from discriminating against, intimidating, threatening, interfering with, or retaliating against persons on the basis of race pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 3604 and 3617; and
C. awards monetary damages to Lloyd Stewart and Catherine Stewart, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 3612(o)(3) and 3613(c)(1).
The United States further prays for such additional relief as the interests of justice may require.
GREGORY G. LOCKHART
United States Attorney
s/Dale Ann Goldberg
DALE ANN GOLDBERG (0005054)
Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney
Attorney for Plaintiff
602 Federal Building
200 West Second Street
Dayton, Ohio 45402
Fax: (937) 225-2564
1. Section 818 of the Fair Housing Act is codified at 42 U.S.C. § 3617.
Document Filed: November 22, 2004 > >