Housing And Civil Enforcement Cases Documents

JOHN ASHCROFT
Attorney General
R. ALEXANDER ACOSTA
Assistant Attorney General, Civil Rights Division
STEVEN H. ROSENBAUM
Chief, Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
Civil Rights Division
By: MICHAEL S. MAURER, Deputy Chief
ELIZABETH A. SINGER, Attorney EAS 9214
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. - G St.
Washington, D.C. 20530
(202) 514-3812

CHRISTOPHER J. CHRISTIE
United States Attorney
By: SUSAN CASSELL SCC 8081
Assistant United States Attorney
970 Broad Street, Suite 700
Newark, New Jersey 07102
(973) 645-2700



IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE
DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY

______________________________

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,

           Plaintiff,

v.

EDWARD FARRO,

           Defendant.

Hon.

Case No.

COMPLAINT

______________________________

The United States of America alleges as follows:

NATURE OF ACTION

1. This is a civil action brought by the United States on behalf of Renaldo D. Venable against Edward Farro to enforce the provisions of the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq. (the "Fair Housing Act").

JURISDICTION & VENUE

2. This Court has jurisdiction over this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1345 and 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o).

3. Venue is proper in this judicial district under 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b), in that the events giving rise to this action occurred in this judicial district.

PARTIES

4. At all relevant times herein, Defendant Edward Farro ("Mr. Farro") was the owner and lessor of a seven-unit apartment dwelling located at 516 1st Avenue, Asbury Park, New Jersey ("516 1st Avenue").

5. Complainant Renaldo D. Venable ("Mr. Venable") is an African-American male who, in or about September 2002 until December 2003, attempted to rent an apartment from Mr. Farro at 516 1st Avenue.

6. 516 1st Avenue is a "dwelling" within the meaning of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3602(b).

FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS

7. On or about September 27, 2002, Mr. Venable received a Section 8 voucher from the Long Branch Housing Authority in New Jersey.

8. Sometime between September 27, 2002 and November 12, 2002, Mr. Venable visited the subject property for the purpose of seeking to rent a vacant, available apartment. While completing the rental application, Mr. Farro made a derogatory comment about African-American males dealing drugs. Mr. Farro also used an expletive and made derogatory comments about former Hispanic tenants.

9. Sometime between September 27, 2002 and November 12, 2002, at the initial visit, Mr. Venable completed the application and related paperwork to rent the apartment. Based on Mr. Farro's statement that the apartment would be ready for rental once necessary repairs were made and the fact that Mr. Farro contacted Mr. Venable's Section 8 caseworker, Mr. Venable believed that Mr. Farro was going to rent the apartment to him.

10. Sometime between September 27, 2002 and November 12, 2002, upon returning to the subject property later on the day of the initial visit, Mr. Farro told Mr. Venable that a female applicant was interested in the same apartment. However, Mr. Farro did not state that he would no longer rent the apartment to Mr. Venable.

11. Mr. Farro did not contact Mr. Venable again. Over the next several months, Mr. Venable and his Section 8 caseworker continued to inquire about the apartment, but stated that Mr. Farro was not responsive and was uncooperative. Mr. Farro did not return Mr. Venable's phone calls. The caseworker stated that Mr. Farro cancelled an appointment for her to inspect the apartment, and, despite numerous attempts to reschedule, she never met with Mr. Farro.

12. The subject apartment was ultimately rented to a Hispanic female in or about July 2003.

13. Mr. Venable last visited the subject property on or about December 19, 2003. At that time, Mr. Farro stated words to the effect that Mr. Venable was bothering him and he could not get any work done.

14. Mr. Farro owns and manages several single and multifamily properties. On information and belief, during the time period that Mr. Venable was seeking to rent an apartment at 516 1st Avenue, none of Mr. Farro's tenants were African-American males.

15. On or about January 13, 2004, Mr. Venable timely filed a complaint with the Department of Housing and Urban Development ("HUD"), pursuant to the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 3610(a), alleging discrimination on the basis of race and sex.

16. As required by the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3610(a) and (b), the Secretary of HUD conducted an investigation of the complaint, attempted conciliation without success, and prepared a final investigative report. Based on the information gathered in this investigation, the Secretary, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3610(g)(1), determined that reasonable cause exists to believe that illegal discriminatory housing practices had occurred. Therefore, on or about September 3, 2004, the Secretary issued a Determination of Reasonable Cause and Charge of Discrimination pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3610(g)(2), charging Mr. Farro with engaging in discriminatory practices in violation of the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3604(a) and (c).

17. On September 29, 2004, Mr. Farro elected to have the claims asserted in HUD's Charge of Discrimination resolved in a federal civil action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3612(a).

18. On September 29, 2004, the Chief Administrative Law Judge issued a Notice of Election and terminated the administrative proceeding on the complaint filed by Mr. Venable.

19. Following this Notice of Election, the Secretary of HUD authorized the Attorney General to commence a civil action, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o).

FAIR HOUSING ACT CLAIMS

20. By his actions and statements referred to in the foregoing paragraphs, Mr. Farro has:

  1. made unavailable or denied a dwelling because of race or color, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(a);
  2. made unavailable or denied a dwelling because of sex, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(a);
  3. made statements with respect to the rental of a dwelling that indicate a preference, limitation, or discrimination based on race or color, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(c); and
  4. made statements with respect to the rental of a dwelling that indicate a preference, limitation, or discrimination based on sex, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(c).

21. Mr. Venable is an "aggrieved person" as defined in 42 U.S.C. § 3602(i), and suffered injuries as a result of Mr. Farro's discriminatory conduct.

22. Mr. Farro's actions and statements described in the preceding paragraphs were intentional, willful, and taken in disregard for the fair housing rights of Mr. Venable.

PRAYER FOR RELIEF

WHEREFORE, the United States prays for relief as follows:

a. A declaration that defendant's conduct as set forth above violates the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601, et seq.

b. An injunction against the defendant and his agents, employees, and successors, and all other persons in active concert or participation with him, from discriminating on the basis of race or sex in violation of the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601, et seq.

c. An award of monetary damages to Mr. Venable, 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.



Dated: October 29, 2004



CHRISTOPHER J. CHRISTIE
United States Attorney

JOHN ASHCROFT
Attorney General
______________________
By: SUSAN CASSELL
Assistant United States Attorney
______________________
R. ALEXANDER ACOSTA
Assistant Attorney General
Civil Rights Division

______________________
STEVEN H. ROSENBAUM
Chief, Housing and
Civil Enforcement Section
Civil Rights Division
______________________
MICHAEL S. MAURER
Deputy Chief
ELIZABETH A. SINGER, Attorney
Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Northwestern Building, 7th Floor
Washington, D.C. 20530
Phone: (202) 514-3812
(202) 514-6164
Fax: (202) 514-1116


Document Filed: October 29, 2004
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Updated August 6, 2015

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