IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
ARLINGTON PARK RACECOURSE, L.L.C.
AND CHURCHILL DOWNS, INC.
The United States of America alleges:
1. This action is brought by the United States to enforce the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601-3619 ("the Act"). It is brought on behalf of HOPE Fair Housing Center ("HOPE"), pursuant to Section 812(o) of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o), and pursuant to Section 814(a) of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3614(a).
JURISDICTION AND 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) and 3614(a).
3. Venue is proper under 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b) and (c) because Defendants reside in, and a substantial part of the events giving rise to the claims alleged in this action arose in, the Northern District of Illinois.
4. Defendant Churchill Downs, Inc. ("Churchill") is a Kentucky corporation that does business in the Northern District of Illinois.
5. Defendant Arlington Park Racecourse, L.L.C. ("Arlington Park") is an Illinois limited liability company that does business in the Northern District of Illinois.6. Since at least 2000, and continuing to the present, Defendants have owned and operated dormitory style buildings at the Arlington Park Racecourse where backstretch workers reside. 7. The housing units in the buildings at Arlington Park Racecourse are dwellings within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. §3602(b). 8. Complainant HOPE is a not-for-profit fair housing advocacy and enforcement organization based in Wheaton, Illinois. 9. On or about June 24, 2004, HOPE filed a timely complaint with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, ("HUD") pursuant to section 810(a) of the Act, 42 U.S.C. 3610(a). The complaint alleged, inter alia, that Defendants had discriminated based on familial status, in violation of the Act. 10. Pursuant to the requirements of 42 U.S.C. §§ 3610(a) and (b), the Secretary of HUD ("the Secretary") 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 there was reasonable cause to believe that discriminatory housing practices had occurred. Accordingly, on August 23, 2005, HUD issued a Charge of Discrimination, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 3610(g)(1)-(2), charging Defendants with engaging in discriminatory housing practices on the basis of familial status, in violation of the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601, et seq.
11. On September 14, 2005, Complainant HOPE made a timely election to have its claims resolved in federal court, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3612(a).12. Following the election described in the previous paragraph, on September 16, 2005, the Secretary of HUD authorized the Attorney General to commence a civil action, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o). 13. At all times relevant to the complaint, Defendants have provided housing during the horse-racing season for backstretch workers at Arlington Park Racecourse and, where applicable, the families of those workers. The trainers who employ the backstretch workers pay a deposit or other fee to Defendants in return for the housing occupied by the workers. Defendants are responsible for assigning housing to the backstretch workers. The horse-racing season at Arlington Park Race Course runs from approximately May through at least part of September each year. 14. At all times relevant to the complaint, the Defendants provided housing for backstretch workers in dormitory-style housing units. Until the 2005 racing season, dorm units were provided in buildings 1-8. The units in buildings 4-8 have private bathrooms. The units in buildings 1-3 do not have private bathrooms. After HOPE filed its complaint with HUD, Defendants constructed two new buildings at Arlington Park Racecourse which have dwelling units with private bathrooms. Defendants housed back stretch workers in the these new buildings, and in buildings 1-8, during the 2005 racing season. 15. At all times relevant to this complaint, Defendants have stated, maintained, and enforced a policy and practice whereby Defendants have excluded families with children from residing in buildings 1, and 4-8 at Arlington Park. Pursuant to this stated policy and practice, Defendants required families with children to live in buildings 2-3 and, during the 2005 racing season, in the two newly constructed buildings.
16. The United States re-alleges and incorporates by reference the allegations set forth in paragraphs 1 through 15, above.
17. By their actions as described above, Defendants have:
- Denied or refused to negotiate for the rental of, and/or otherwise made unavailable dwellings to persons because of familial status, in violation of Section 804(a) of the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 3604(a);
- Discriminated against persons in the terms, conditions, or privileges of the rental of a dwelling because of familial status, in violation of Section 804(b) the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 3604(b); and
- Made, printed, or published, or caused to be made, printed, or published, statements with respect to the rental of a dwelling that indicate a preference, limitation, or discrimination based on familial status or an intention to make such a preference, limitation, or discrimination, in violation of Section 804(c) the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 3604(c).
20. The United States re-alleges and incorporates by reference the allegations set forth in paragraphs 1 through 19 above.
21. The conduct of Defendants described above constitutes:
- A pattern or practice of resistance to the full enjoyment of rights granted by the Fair Housing Act, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3614(a); or
- A denial to a group of persons of rights granted by the Fair Housing Act, which denial raises an issue of general public importance, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3614(a).
22. In addition to HOPE, there are other persons who have suffered damages as a result of Defendants' conduct, and they are aggrieved persons within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. §3602(i). Such persons have suffered actual injury and damages as a result of Defendants' discriminatory housing practices.
WHEREFORE, the United States of America prays that this Court enter an ORDER that:
1. 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.;
2. Enjoins Defendants, and their employees, agents, successors, and all other persons in active concert or participation with any of them from continuing to discriminate on the basis of familial status against any person in any aspect of the rental of a dwelling, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 3612(o)(3), 3613(c)(1) and 3614(d)(1)(A).
3. Awards monetary damages to complainant HOPE and to other aggrieved persons pursuant to pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 3612(o)(3), 3613(c)(1) and 3614(d)(1)(B); and
4. Assesses a civil penalty against each Defendant in an 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.
PATRICK J. FITZGERALD
ALBERTO R. GONZALES
Document Filed: September 30, 2005 > >