Housing And Civil Enforcement Cases Documents

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF FLORIDA

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,

Plaintiff,

v.

MEADOWS OF JUPITER LTD.;
RMF PROPERTIES, INC.;
WALTER J. MACKEY, JR.
ETHEL ALLEN; and
TERESA VENTIMIGLIA

Defendants.     

__________________________

COMPLAINT

  1. This action is brought by the United States to enforce the Fair Housing Act, Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, as amended by the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq.

  2. This Court has jurisdiction over this action under 28 U.S.C. § 1345 and 42 U.S.C. § 3614.

  3. Mallards Cove is located at 6701 Mallards Cove Road, Jupiter, Florida 33458, in the judicial district for the Southern District of Florida.
  4. Defendant Meadows of Jupiter Ltd. owns Mallards Cove and is a Florida limited partnership that does business in the Southern District of Florida.
  5. Defendant RMF Properties, Inc. is a general partner of Meadows of Jupiter, Ltd., and does business in the Southern District of Florida.
  6. Defendant Walter J. Mackey, Jr., is the General Manager and registered agent of Meadows of Jupiter, Ltd., and officer and/or director of RMF Properties, Inc., and does business in the Southern District of Florida.
  7. Defendant Ethel Allen is the rental manager of Mallards Cove and does business in the Southern District of Florida.
  8. Defendant Teresa Ventimiglia is the assistant manager of Mallards Cove and does business in the Southern District of Florida.
  9. The apartments at Mallards Cove are dwellings within the meaning of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §3602(b).
  10. The United States Department of Justice conducted an investigation in 2001 and 2002 to determine defendants' compliance with the Fair Housing Act. As part of its investigation, the Department of Justice, with the assistance of the Fair Housing Council of Greater Palm Beach (&quotFHCGPB&quot), conducted a series of tests to evaluate the defendants' compliance with the Fair Housing Act.
  11. The investigation revealed that the defendants are engaged in housing practices that discriminate on the basis of race or color, and familial status at Mallards Cove.
    COUNT I
  12. Defendants have engaged in discrimination on the basis of race or color by, including but not limited to:
    1. Failing to provide to black persons information about the availability of apartments that is as full, complete, and consistent with the information they provide to white persons;
    2. Failing to provide to black persons information about apartment amenities that is as full and complete as the information they provide to white persons;
    3. Discouraging black persons from renting an apartment at Mallards Cove while, at the same time, encouraging white persons to rent an apartment at Mallards Cove;
    4. Representing to black persons that apartments are not available for rent while, at the same time, representing to white persons that apartments are so available;
    5. Steering black persons to other apartment complexes while, at the same time, encouraging white persons to rent an apartment at Mallards Cove; and
    6. Denying to black persons the opportunity to rent available apartments, while at the same time offering white persons the opportunity to rent available apartments.
  13. The defendants' actions, as described above, constitute discrimination on the basis of race or color in connection with the rental of residential dwellings, in violation of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3604 (a) and (d).
  14. Defendants' conduct, as described above, also constitutes:
    1. A pattern or practice of resistance to the full enjoyment of rights granted by the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601, et seq.; and
    2. A denial to a group of persons of rights granted by the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601, et seq., which denial raises an issue of general public importance.
  15. The discriminatory actions of the defendants were intentional, willful, and taken in disregard for the rights of others.
  16. Bona fide apartment seekers who may have been the victims of the defendants' discriminatory housing practices 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.
    COUNT II
  17. Defendants have engaged in discrimination on the basis of familial status by, including but not limited to:
    1. Failing to provide to persons with children information about the availability of apartments that is as full, complete, and consistent with the information they provide to persons without children;
    2. Failing to provide to persons with children information about apartment amenities that is as full and complete as the information they provide to persons without children;
    3. Discouraging persons with children from renting an apartment at Mallards Cove while, at the same time, encouraging persons without children to rent an apartment at Mallards Cove;
    4. Representing to persons with children that apartments are not available for rent while, at the same time, representing to persons without children that apartments are so available;
    5. Steering persons with children to other apartment complexes while, at the same time, encouraging persons without children to rent an apartment at Mallards Cove; and
    6. Making statements indicating a preference, limitation, or discrimination based on familial status.
  18. The defendants' actions, as described above, constitute discrimination on the basis of familial status in connection with the rental of residential dwellings, in violation of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3604 (a), (c), and (d).
  19. The defendants' conduct, as described above, also constitutes:
    1. A pattern or practice of resistance to the full enjoyment of rights granted by the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601, et seq.; and
    2. A denial to a group of persons of rights granted by the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601, et seq., which denial raises an issue of general public importance.
  20. The discriminatory actions of the defendants were intentional, willful, and taken in disregard for the rights of others.
  21. Bona fide apartment seekers who may have been the victims of the defendants' discriminatory housing practices 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.

    WHEREFORE, the United States prays that the Court enter an order that:

  1. Declares that the defendants' policies and practices, as alleged herein, violate the Fair Housing Act;
  2. Enjoins the defendants, their officers, employees, and agents, and all other persons in active concert or participation with any of them, from:
    1. Discriminating against any person on the basis of race, color, or familial status in any aspect of the rental of a dwelling;
    2. Failing or refusing to notify the public that dwellings owned or operated by the defendants are available to all persons on a nondiscriminatory basis; and
    3. Failing or refusing to take such affirmative steps as may be necessary to restore, as nearly as practicable, the victims of the defendants' unlawful practices to the position they would have been in but for the discriminatory conduct.
  3. Awards such damages as would fully compensate each person aggrieved by the defendants' discriminatory housing practices for injuries caused by the defendants' pattern or practice of discriminatory conduct, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3614(d)(1)(B);
  4. Awards each person aggrieved by defendants' pattern or practice of discrimination punitive damages because of the intentional and willful nature of the defendants' conduct, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3614(d)(1)(B); and
  5. Assesses a civil penalty against the defendants in the amount authorized by 42 U.S.C. § 3614(d)(1)(C), in order to vindicate the public interest.

The United States further prays for such additional relief as the interests of justice may require.


JOHN D. ASHCROFT
Attorney General
GUY A. LEWIS
Acting United States Attorney

RALPH F. BOYD, JR.
Assistant Attorney General
Civil Rights Division
VERONICA HARRIER JAMES
Assistant United States
Attorney
99 N.E. 4th St., 6th Floor
Miami, FL 33132
Phone: (305) 961-9327
Fax: (305) 530-7976
Florida Bar #644791
veronica.harrell-james@usdoj.gov
JOAN A. MAGAGNA
Chief
ISABELLE M. THABAULT
Deputy Chief
JE YON JUNG
Attorney
U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
950 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20035
Phone: (202) 305-1457
Fax: (202) 514-1116
je.jung@usdoj.gov
Ohio Bar #0067441

Updated August 6, 2015

Was this page helpful?

Was this page helpful?
Yes No