UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v. Civ. No. 01-632 PK/WWD
JAMES B. McCOLLUM, a/k/a
JIM McCOLLUM, d/b/a QUEENS
- The United States filed this action on June 11, 2001 pursuant to § 814 of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. 3614, alleging that Defendant James B. McCollum has been engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination on the basis of familial status in the rental of dwellings at Queens Point Manor Apartments located at 3308 Morris Street, NE, in the City of Albuquerque, in Bernalillo County, New Mexico (hereinafter, "Queens Point Manor"), in violation of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. 3604(b), et seq.
- Queens Point Manor is owned, operated, and managed by Defendant James B. McCollum (hereinafter, "Defendant").
- From November 1997 through September 1998, the Fair Housing Project of the Legal Aid Society of Albuquerque, Inc. (hereinafter, "FHP") conducted a series of fair housing tests at Queens Point Manor. The United States contends that the evidence that would be presented at trial demonstrates that the Defendant engaged in discriminatory housing practices on the basis of familial status at Queens Point Manor. Specifically, the United States contends that the testing evidence revealed that Defendant refused to rent units at Queens Point Manor to families with children, refused to negotiate for the rental of units to families with children, stated preferences against renting to families with children, and offered to rent to families with children on different, less favorable, terms than for rentals to persons without children. The Defendant denies these allegations.
- In addition, the United States was prepared to present evidence at trial that from 1988 to 1993, Defendant placed advertisements about Queens Point Manor in the Albuquerque Apartment Guide and the Yellow Pages which stated a preference for renting to individuals instead of families with children by offering a "Single Occupancy Discount." The Defendant contends that he did not discriminate against families with children in advertising.
- Further, the United States was prepared to present evidence at trial that the Defendant admitted the following: he did not allow families with children to lease or occupy units above the ground floor level at Queens Point; it is probably accurate that he quoted different prices of rental units at Queens Point Manor and made different comments to families with children than individuals or families without children; and he did make a statement about teenage boys being responsible for robberies in the community. The Defendant contends that he never made any statements that discriminate against families with children.
- The entry into an agreement to the terms and conditions of this Consent Order shall and do not constitute any admission by the Defendant.
- The United States and Defendants desire to avoid costly and protracted litigation and to resolve the United States' claims against the Defendants voluntarily without the necessity of a trial. Therefore, the parties have agreed to the entry of this Consent Order, as indicated by the signatures appearing below.
Therefore, it is hereby ORDERED, ADJUDGED and DECREED:
- Scope and Duration of Consent Order
The provisions of this Consent Order shall apply to the Defendant, his employees, his agents, any person acting under his direction, and all those acting in concert or participation with any of them.
- The provisions of this Consent Order shall apply to all residential rental properties which are, in whole or in part, owned, managed or operated by Defendant, or whose managers are supervised, in whole or in part, by Defendant, at any time during the term of this Consent Order.
- This Consent Order is effective immediately upon its entry by the Court and shall remain in effect for three (3) years and nine (9) months from the date of entry.
- The Court shall retain jurisdiction over this action and over the Defendants, James McCollum and Queens Point Manor, during the three (3) year and nine (9) month period specified above.
- Injunctive Relief
- Refusing to rent a dwelling unit, refusing or failing to provide or offer information about a dwelling unit, or otherwise making unavailable or denying a dwelling unit to any person because of familial status;
- Discriminating against any person in the terms, conditions or privileges of renting a dwelling unit, or in the provision of services or facilities in connection therewith, because of familial status;
- Making, printing, publishing, or causing to be made, printed, or published any notice, statement or advertisement with respect to the rental of a dwelling unit that states any preference, limitation or discrimination based on familial status;
- Misrepresenting to any person because of familial status that any dwelling unit is not available for inspection or rental when such dwelling unit is, in fact, so available;
- Taking any action to enforce, modify or enact any rules, regulations, policies, practices, or any other restrictions for any multi-family housing complex which prohibit families with minor children from residing in certain units of the complex, or which limit or purport to limit occupancy or use of facilities by families with children in any manner; and
- Engaging in any other discriminatory housing practice prohibited by 42 U.S.C. 3601, et seq.
- Notice to Public of Nondiscriminatory Policies
- Prominently post in the rental office at Queens Point Manor and in any office or apartment where there is rental activity and/or personal contact with prospective tenants for dwelling units at Queens Point Manor, a Fair Housing sign no smaller than ten (10) inches by thirteen (13) inches that indicates that all apartments are available for rent on a nondiscriminatory basis. The sign shall conform with regulations promulgated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 24 C.F.R. Part 109;
- Whenever dwelling units are available at Queens Point Manor, prominently post an easily readable "For Rent" or "Vacancy" sign or notice at the entrance to the complex and in front of the rental office. The sign or notice shall include the slogan "Equal Housing Opportunity" and the fair housing logo. Such slogan and logo shall be prominently displayed and easily readable;
- Whenever the Defendant advertises to prospective tenants he shall include the words "Families with Children Welcome" and either "Equal Housing Opportunity" or the fair housing logo in all advertising conducted for Queens Point Manor (when next published or otherwise subscribed to) in newspapers, telephone directories, apartment guides, and other written materials; on radio, television or other media broadcasts; and on all billboards, signs, pamphlets, brochures and other promotional literature. The words and/or logo shall be prominently placed and easily readable. In addition, all newspaper and radio advertising regarding Queens Point Manor subsequent to the date of entry of this Order shall conform to the provisions of the applicable advertising guidelines of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 24 C.F.R. Part 109;
- The Defendant shall include the following phrase in any rental application(s) and lease(s) used for Queens Point Manor, using letters in bold print and of equal size to those of the text in the body of the document:
- Standards for Accepting and Processing Rental Inquiries and Applications
- Maintain an accurate list of all dwelling units known or expected to be available for rental, including for each unit the address or apartment number, number of bedrooms, and monthly rent;
- Inform all persons who inquire about renting dwelling units of all available units at that complex of the type about which the person has inquired (e.g., one-bedroom or two-bedroom), if any, and if none are available, about the availability of the Waiting List, which shall be maintained pursuant to subparagraph D below;
- Permit all persons who inquire about renting dwelling units the opportunity to complete a written rental application and/or to be placed on the Waiting List, which shall be maintained pursuant to subparagraph D, below; and
- Maintain a Waiting List of all persons who inquire about renting dwelling units at the complex and who wish to be placed on such a list in chronological order by date and time of inquiry. For each such person, the List shall state the person's name, current address, daytime and evening telephone numbers, and a description of the type of dwelling unit desired (e.g., number of bedrooms).
- When Defendant or any agent or employee of Queens Point Manor become aware of any vacancy at the complex, they shall contact persons on the Waiting List in chronological order to offer them an opportunity to apply for the apartment, before making that dwelling unit available to any other person. Defendant shall have the right to allow current tenants to have the right of first refusal as to any vacant unit before contacting persons on the Waiting List or offering the unit to any other prospective tenants. Notations shall be made on the Waiting List of the date and time of each attempt to contact persons on the Waiting List along with the initials of the person who made the attempted contact.
- Mandatory Education and Training
- Within ninety (90) days after the date of entry of this Consent Order or at the next time the course is offered, Defendant, all agents, employees, and contractors with responsibility for showing, renting or managing dwelling units at any of Queens Point Manor, and all persons who supervise any such employee, agent, or contractor shall complete an educational program, to be conducted by the Albuquerque Human Rights Office, that shall include the following:
- Informing each person attending of his or her duties and obligations under this Consent Order as well as under the federal Fair Housing Act and applicable state nondiscrimination laws;
- Providing each attendee with a copy of the federal Fair Housing Act and all applicable state nondiscrimination laws;
- Instructing each attendee on procedures to ensure that familial status does not enter into the process of providing rental information to persons who make inquiry or making decisions on rental applications;
- A question and answer session to review each of the foregoing areas;
- Securing the signed statement appearing at Attachment A from each attendee indicating that he or she has received, read, and understands this Consent Order and the Defendant's policy of nondiscrimination and further understands that violation of this Order may result in sanctions against the Defendant by the Court; and
- Certification of attendance by the person conducting the educational program for each person attending the program.
- During the period in which this Consent Order is in effect, each new employee, agent, or contractor of the Defendant who has any responsibility relating to the leasing or management of units at Queens Point Manor shall complete an educational program of the type described in Paragraph A above and sign the statement appearing at Attachment A, within ten (10) days after the date on which he or she commences an employment, agency, or contractual relationship with the Defendant or as soon thereafter as the next course is offered.
- Attraction of Families with Children
- Defendant shall modify the sign that has been located in front of Queens Point Manor prior to and during the course of this litigation so that it prominently displays the words "Families with Children Welcome" and either the words "Equal Housing Opportunity" or the fair housing logo. Such modification shall be subject to the approval of the United States, which approval shall not be unreasonably withheld so long as these words are prominently displayed, are consistent in size with other items on the size, and can be easily read from a distance and so long as there is no other content on the sign that is inconsistent with the requirements of the Fair Housing Act. Any changes to the sign must be approved by the United States pursuant to Section VI.F.
- If the Defendant chooses to apply occupancy standards at Queens Point Manor, he shall not apply any standard that restricts occupancy to fewer than two (2) persons per bedroom, not counting children under two (2) years of age, except that a third person six(6) years of age or less may also occupy a one (1) bedroom apartment. Defendant may apply an occupancy standard of any larger number of persons who would be permitted to occupy an apartment pursuant to any occupancy code enacted by the City of Albuquerque. Any occupancy standard adopted pursuant to this provision of the Consent Order shall be submitted to the United States for approval prior to adoption. Following approval of such occupancy standards by the United States, such occupancy standards may not be made more restrictive without first obtaining the approval of the United States to any such change pursuant to Section VI.F.
- Within ten (10) days following the date of entry of the Consent Order, Defendant shall submit to the United States for approval a nondiscriminatory policy relating to rental and other fees and charges for applicants and residents at Queens Point Manor. The United States will review such policy for compliance with the Fair Housing Act. Defendant shall adopt such policy, as approved by the United States, within thirty (30) days of the date of entry of this Consent Order. Such policy shall be applied uniformly to all applicants for rental at Queens Point Manor and shall be posted in the rental office. Any change in such policy shall not be implemented without first obtaining the approval of the United States pursuant to Section VI.F.
- Defendant shall not advertise a discount relating to the rental of an apartment at Queens Point Manor that states a preference for single occupancy (i.e., no "single occupancy discount") or that states any preference for occupancy by families without children under 18 years of age.
- Within ten (10) days following the date of entry of the Consent Order, Defendant shall submit to the United States for approval a revised set of community rules or regulations that do not discriminate on the basis of familial status. The United States shall review such rules for compliance with the Fair Housing Act. Within thirty (30) days of the date of entry of the Consent Order, Defendant shall adopt such community rules or regulations, as approved by the United States, and such community rules or regulations shall be applied uniformly to all residents at Queens Point Manor. A copy of the such community rules or regulations shall be posted in the rental office and shall be provided to each new and existing tenant at Queens Point Manor. Such community rules or regulations shall not be changed without first obtaining the approval of the United States pursuant to Section VI.F.
- Any change in the sign referenced in VI.A., the standards referenced in VI.B., the policy referenced in VI.C, and the rules or regulations referenced in VI.E. shall not be implemented without first obtaining the approval of the United States. Any proposed change shall be submitted to the United States, which shall have 30 days to review proposed changes for compliance with the Fair Housing Act. If the United States does not object to any proposed changes within thirty (30) days of receipt by the United States of such proposed changes, the changes shall be considered to be approved.
- Record Keeping and Monitoring
- With respect to the rental of dwelling units at Queens Point Manor, Defendants shall ensure that each of the following are created and maintained for each complex:
- An Availability List on a current basis that includes the address and apartment number of each unit known to be available or reasonably expected to be available for rental within thirty (30) days, the number of bedrooms in each such unit, the monthly rent for each such unit (including any rent special and/or other discounts), the date the Defendant or his agents, employees, and/or contractors were first informed it would be available for rental, and the first date it would be vacated by the prior tenant(s);
- An Inquiry Register, which lists on a current basis all persons who inquire about renting a dwelling unit. The Register shall contain space for the recording of the following information: the date of inquiry, the name of the person who made the inquiry, current address, telephone number, familial status of person making inquiry, and name of person who received the inquiry. The top portion of the Register shall contain the following disclaimer: "The following information is requested to assist Queens Point Manor in complying with the federal Fair Housing Act and will be kept confidential. Providing your familial status is voluntary and this information is not required in order to rent an apartment"; and
- A Rental Application Log, which sets forth on a daily basis the name of the applicant, whether the application for tenancy was approved or rejected, the building and unit number occupied for all approved applicants, and a detailed explanation for all rejected applications.
- Within one hundred twenty (120) days of the date of entry of this Consent Order, the Defendant shall deliver to counsel for the United States (1) the following documents:
- Copies of all mandatory education acknowledgments signed by Defendant's agents, employees, and contractors and certifications of attendance at such educational program as required under Section V of this Order;
- A listing, by unit number and familial status of the occupants, of the move-ins and of the move-outs during the reporting period (alternatively, Defendant may provide a copy of all leases entered into during the period and a copy of move out documents that will permit the United States to identify each tenant who has moved out);
- A photograph of each office or apartment in which rental or sales activity is conducted, showing the fair housing signs required by Section III of this Order;
- A photograph of the sign located in front of Queens Point Manor, as required by Section VI.
- Within six (6) months of the date of entry of this Consent Order, and every six (6) months thereafter for the period in which the Order is in effect, the Defendant shall deliver to counsel for the United States a detailed report covering the preceding six (6) months containing information about the Defendant's compliance efforts, including but not limited to:
- Copies of all mandatory education acknowledgments signed by Defendant's agents, employees, and contractors and all certifications of attendance of the Defendant, his agents, employees, and contractors in such educational program, pursuant to Section V of this Order;
- Copies of the Availability Lists, Inquiry Registers or copies of Guest Cards for all persons making inquiries, Rental Application Logs and Waiting Lists maintained pursuant to Section VII of this Order;
- A list setting forth the occupancy of each dwelling unit of Queens Point Manor, by familial status of occupant(s), as of the close of the reporting period;
- A listing setting out the unit number and occupant names of each unit occupied by a family with a child or children under 18 years of age.
- During the period in which this Consent Order is in effect, the Defendant shall preserve all records that are the source of, contain, or relate to any of the information pertinent to the obligations under this Order, including but not limited to all rental applications, leases, and Occupancy Lists for dwelling units at Queens Point Manor. Upon reasonable notice to counsel for the Defendant, representatives of the United States shall be permitted to inspect and copy all such records at any and all reasonable times.
- During the period in which this Consent Order is in effect, the Defendant shall notify counsel for the United States in writing within fifteen (15) days of receipt of any written or oral complaint against the Defendant, Queens Point Manor, or the Defendant's agents or employees, regarding equal opportunity or discrimination in housing. If the complaint is written, the Defendant shall provide a copy of it with the notification. The notification shall include the full details of the complaint, including the complainant's name, address, and telephone number. The Defendant shall also promptly provide the United States all information it may request concerning any such complaint and its actual or attempted resolution.
- Monetary Relief
- Within twenty (20) days after entry of this Consent Order by the Court, Defendant shall pay a total of twelve thousand dollars in monetary relief to resolve this lawsuit, which amount shall include relief paid to the United States pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3614(d)(1)(C). Payment shall be made in the form of three (3) or more checks issued by the Defendant, with the United States to determine the payee and the amount payable for each of the check. Within ten (10) days after entry of this Consent Order by the Court, the United States shall provide Defendant with written direction regarding the payee and amount payable for each check to be issued by Defendant pursuant to the terms of this Consent Order. The determination of the amounts, if any, to be paid to any aggrieved person and to be paid pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3614(d)(1)(C) shall be made by the United States in its sole discretion.
- The United States shall not release any check issued by Defendant pursuant to Paragraph VIII.A. above until such time as it has received a signed release in the form of Attachment B. The United States shall forward all signed releases to counsel for Defendant within fifteen (15) days after receiving them from any aggrieved person.
- Remedies for Non-Compliance
- The United States may move the Court to extend the period in which this Consent Order is in effect if it determines that the Defendant has violated one or more terms of the Order or if it believes that the interests of justice otherwise require an extension of the terms of the Consent Order.
- The parties to this Consent Order shall endeavor in good faith to resolve informally any differences regarding interpretation of and compliance with this Order prior to bringing such matters to the Court for resolution. However, in the event of a failure by the Defendant, whether willful or otherwise, to perform in a timely manner any act required by this Consent Order or otherwise to act in violation of any provision thereof, the United States may move this Court to impose any remedy authorized by law or equity, including, but not limited to, an order requiring performance of such act or deeming such act to have been performed, and an award of any damages, costs, and attorney's fees which may have been occasioned by the Defendant's violation or failure to perform.
If the Defendant believes that the United States unreasonably withholds approval of his signs, occupancy standards, rental policies and/or community rules and regulations pursuant to Section VI of this Order, Defendant must, pursuant to Section IX.B, endeavor in good faith to resolve informally the matter with the United States. If such good faith efforts fail, Defendant may bring the matter to the Court for resolution.
- Any time limits for performance imposed by this Consent Order may be extended by mutual written agreement of the parties.
- This Consent Order constitutes the entire agreement between the parties and supersedes and renders void all prior agreements, written or oral, among the parties. In the event any provision or term of this Order is determined to be or is rendered invalid or unenforceable, all other provisions and terms of the Order shall remain unaffected to the extent permitted by law.
- Upon entry of this Consent Order, this case shall be automatically dismissed without prejudice. However this Court shall retain jurisdiction of the action and over the Defendant for the term of this Consent Order.
Defendant, his agents, employees, successors, and all persons in active concert or participation with any of them are enjoined from:
Within twenty (20) days after the date of entry of this Consent Order, the Defendant shall take the following steps to notify the public of his nondiscriminatory policies:
We are an equal housing opportunity provider. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, religion, disability or familial status (having children under age 18).
Within ten (10) days of the entry of this Consent Order, Defendant shall, with respect to each dwelling rented at Queens Point Manor:
It is so ORDERED this day of _____________, 2003.
PAUL J. KELLY, JR.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
The undersigned hereby agree to and request the entry of this Consent Order:
For the United States:
| DAVID C. IGLESIAS |
United States Attorney
| RALPH F. BOYD, JR.|
Assistant Attorney General
| JAN ELIZABETH MITCHELL |
Assistant U.S. Attorney
P.O. Box 607
Albuquerque, NM 87103
JOAN A. MAGAGNA
JEANINE M. WORDEN
RHONDA L. CAMPBELL
ERIN MEEHAN RICHMOND
U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
Housing and Civil Enforcement
Section - G Street
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20530
For the Defendants:
Paul J. Kennedy, Esq.
1122 Central Avenue, SW
Albuquerque, NM 87102
On _________________ , 200__, I was instructed by attorney Paul Kennedy with respect to my responsibilities under the Consent Order entered by the federal district court in United States v. Queens Point Manor, et al., C.A. No. 01-632 PK/WWD (D. N.M.), the federal Fair Housing Act and applicable state laws prohibiting discrimination in housing. I also was instructed as to the nondiscriminatory rental policies and procedures set out in the Consent Order. I have received copies of and have read the Consent Order, the federal Fair Housing Act, and the applicable state laws. I understand my legal responsibilities and will comply with those responsibilities. I further understand that the Court may impose sanctions on me if I violate a provision of this Order.
On ____________, 2002, I was instructed by James McCollum, with respect to my responsibilities under the Consent Order entered by the federal district court in United States v. Queens Point Manor, et al., C.A. No. 01-632 LCS/WWD (D.N.M.), the federal Fair Housing Act and applicable state laws prohibiting discrimination in housing. I also was instructed as to the nondiscriminatory rental policies and procedures set out in the Consent Order. I have received copies of and have read the Consent Order, the federal Fair Housing Act, and the applicable state laws. I understand my legal responsibilities and will comply with those responsibilities. I further understand that the Court may impose sanctions on me if I violate a provision of this Order and that my employer may also discipline me if I violate a provision of this Order. I have been informed by my employer that I will not be reprimanded by my employer for providing information to any law enforcement agency (including the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Housing and Civil Enforcement Section, 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 20530 (telephone 202-514-4713) or official regarding my employer's compliance with the Fair Housing Act and/or the Consent Order.
In consideration for the parties' agreement to the terms of the Consent Order entered in United States v. James B. McCollum, et al., C.A. No. 01-632 PK/WWD (D. N.M.), and the Defendant's payment to me [and my spouse jointly] of $ ________ , I hereby release and forever discharge all claims related to the facts at issue in the litigation referenced above, or in any way related to that litigation, and any other claims arising from alleged housing discrimination up to and including the date of execution of this release, that I may have against the Defendant, his heirs, executors, administrators, successors or assigns.
I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct.
1. All documents or other communications required by this Consent Order to be sent to the United States or counsel for the United States shall be sent via facsimile, 202-514-1116, and via U.S. mail, addressed as follows: Chief, Housing and Civil Enforcement Section, Civil Rights Division, United States Department of Justice, 950 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W., Northwestern Building, Seventh Floor, Washington, D.C. 20530. Attn: DJ No. 175-49-55. For documents exceeding 30 pages, the first 30 pages shall be sent via facsimile and the complete document shall be sent by U.S. mail.
Document Entered: January 23, 2003 > >