CENTRAL DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
SPRING VALLEY PROPERTIES;
PARTNERSHIP; NARSH GOEL;
KOELI GOEL; and MICHAEL
JURY TRIAL REQUESTED
The United States of America alleges:
- 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.
- This Court has jurisdiction over this action under 28 U.S.C. §1345 and 42 U.S.C. §3614.
- Defendant Spring Valley Properties ("Spring Valley")is an Illinois business entity engaged in the ownership and\or management of both single-family and multi-family residential rental housing units in the State of Illinois, including the communities of Danville, Westville, Georgetown, and Catlin. Its office is located in Danville, Illinois. All these communities are located within the Central District of Illinois.
- Defendant Rivercrest Limited Partnership ("Rivercrest") is an Illinois Limited Partnership engaged in the ownership and\or management of both single-family and multi-family resi-dential rental housing units in the State of Illinois, including the communities of Danville, Westville, Georgetown, and Catlin. Its office is located in Danville, Illinois. All these com-munities are located within the Central District of Illinois.
- Defendant Narsh Goel is a general partner of defendant Rivercrest. Mr. Goel and his wife, defendant Koeli Goel, are owners and/or agents of defendant Spring Valley. They live in Danville, Illinois.
- Since approximately March, 1999, defendant Michael Langevin has been a rental agent or manager for Spring Valley and Rivercrest with responsibilities relating to the rental of residential dwellings owned and/or managed by those two business entities.
- The apartments and single-family homes available for rent owned and/or managed by the defendants are dwellings within the meaning of the Fair Housing Act. 42 U.S.C. §3602(b).
- Since at least 1997, the defendants, individually and through their agents, are and have been engaged in discriminatory housing practices, and have instructed their employees to engage in discriminatory housing practices, including:
- Denying the availability of dwellings, both for inspection and for rent, to black persons, while at the same time telling white persons about the availability of dwellings for inspection or rent;
- Steering black persons away from certain dwellings where the occupants and/or the neighborhood were pre-dominantly or exclusively white and to other dwellings whose occupants included black persons; and
- Making statements with respect to the rental of dwel-lings that indicated a preference, limitation, or dis-crimination based on race or color.
- In May of 1999, Annette Miller, a black woman, inquired about the availability of an apartment at the defendants' Sonny Lane complex. Defendant Langevin told Ms. Miller that there was nothing available there and attempted to interest her in a unit at the defendants' Jackson Court Apartments. There were in fact one or more units available for inspection and rent at the Sonny Lane site. All or virtually all of the occupants of Sonny Lane are white, while many of the residents of the Jackson Court Apartments are black. Mr. Langevin misrepresented the avail-ability of housing to Ms. Miller and attempted to steer her away from Sonny Lane to another apartment complex because of her race or color.
- In June of 1999, Ms. Miller, together with her husband, Everett, who also is black, again inquired about the availability of an apartment at Sonny Lane. Again, Mr. Langevin falsely told them that no apartment was available there because of their race or color. The Millers then had a white acquaintance call to inquire about the availability of an apartment at Sonny Lane; the defendants told her a unit was available and she made an appoint- ment with Mr. Langevin to see the unit. Mr. Langevin kept the appointment, for which the Millers appeared, and he continued to deny to them the availability of an apartment at Sonny Lane because of their race or color.
- The conduct of the defendants, including that described in Paragraphs 8-10, constitutes discrimination against persons because of race or color in the rental of dwellings in violation of the Fair Housing Act, as follows:
- A refusal to rent or otherwise make unavailable or deny dwellings to persons because of race or color, in violation of 42 U.S.C. §3604(a);
- Discrimination against persons in the conditions or privileges of the rental of dwellings, and in the provision of services in connection therewith, because of race or color, in violation of 42 U.S.C. §3604(b);
- The making of statements with respect to the rental of dwellings that indicates a preference, limitation, or discrimination on the basis of race or color, in violation of 42 U.S.C. §3604(c); and
- The representation to persons because of race or color that dwellings are not available for inspection or rental when such dwellings are in fact so available, in violation of 42 U.S.C. §3604(d).
- The conduct of the defendants as described above constitutes:
- A pattern or practice of resistance to the full enjoy- ment of rights granted by the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§3601 et seq.; and
- 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.
- As a result of the defendants' racially discriminatory conduct, Annette and Everett Miller have suffered economic loss, emotional distress, humiliation, and embarrassment. The Millers are aggrieved persons as defined in 42 U.S.C. §3602(i).
- There may be other individuals who have been victims of the defendants' discriminatory housing practices and who may also have suffered damages as a result of the defendants' conduct described above. Such persons are aggrieved persons as defined in 42 U.S.C. §3602(i).
- The South Suburban Housing Center (SSHC) is an Illinois nonprofit organization located in Homewood, Illinois which pro-vides a range of fair housing services in the Chicago metro-politan area and elsewhere, including counseling and referral of home seekers and educational programs directed at both housing providers and home seekers. SSHC diverted resources from these activities to investigate and initiate legal action with respect to the Millers' discrimination complaint against the defendants.
- SSHC is an aggrieved person as defined in 42 U.S.C. §3602(i). The organization has suffered injury and damages, including the diversion of its resources from its counseling, referral, educational, and other programs, as a result of the defendants' unlawful conduct as described above.
- Defendants' conduct described above was intentional, willful, and taken in disregard for the rights of others.
WHEREFORE, the United States prays that the Court enter an order that:
- Declares that the defendants' policies and practices, as alleged herein, violate the Fair Housing Act;
- Enjoins all defendants, their partners, officers, employees, and agents, and all other persons in active concert or participation with any of them, from:
- Discriminating because of race or color against any person in any aspect of the rental of a dwelling;
- Failing or refusing to notify the public that dwellings owned or operated by defendants are available to all persons on a nondiscriminatory basis;
- Failing or refusing to take such affirmative steps as may be necessary to restore, as nearly as practicable, the victims of defendants' unlawful practices to the position they would have been in but for the discriminatory conduct; and
- Failing or refusing to take such affirmative steps as may be necessary to prevent the recurrence of any dis- criminatory conduct in the future and to eliminate, to the extent practicable, the effects of the defendants' unlawful housing practices.
- Awards such damages as would fully compensate each person aggrieved by 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);
- Awards each person aggrieved by the defendants' pattern or practice of discrimination punitive damages because of the intentional and willful nature of the defendants' conduct, pur-suant to 42 U.S.C. §3614(d)(1)(B); and
- Assesses a civil penalty against each defendant in an amount authorized by 42 U.S.C. §3614(d)(1)(C) in order to vin-dicate the public interest.
The United States further prays for such additional relief as the interests of justice may require.
Bill Lann Lee
Acting Assistnat Attorney General
Civil Rights Division
Joan A. Magagna
Chief, Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
Isabelle M. Thabault
Burtis M. Dougherty
U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
P.O. Box 65998
Washington, D.C. 20035-5998
Frances C. Hulin
United States Attorney
James A. Lewis
Assistant United States Attorney
600 East Monroe Street
Springfield, IL 62701
(217) 492-4450 > >