Housing And Civil Enforcement Cases Documents

R. ALEXANDER ACOSTA
Assistant Attorney General
STEVEN H. ROSENBAUM
TIMOTHY J. MORAN
ERIN MEEHAN RICHMOND
Attorneys
Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W.
Northwestern Building, 7th Floor
Washington, D.C. 20530
Phone: (202) 514-4713
Fax: (202) 514-1116

FRANK D. WHITNEY
United States Attorney
R.A. RENFER, JR.
Chief, Civil Division
United States Attorney's Office
310 New Bern Avenue
Federal Building, Suite 800
Raleigh, NC 27601-1461
Phone: (919) 856-4530
Fax: (919) 856-4487

Attorneys for Plaintiff
United States of America


IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF NORTH CAROLINA

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,

           Plaintiff,
                                                                                                                   Case No:
         v.

VICKIE N. HARRIS; THETFORD                                                              Complaint for Damages
PROPERTIES IV LIMITED PARTNERSHIP;                                             Demand for Jury Trial
THETFORD ASSOCIATES, INC.;
THETFORD PROPERTY MANAGEMENT, INC.;
and RICHARD A. URBAN,

           Defendants.
___________________________________

The United States of America alleges as follows:

  1. This action is brought by the United States on behalf of North Carolina Fair Housing Center ("the Center") pursuant to Section 812(o) of the Fair Housing Act, Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq.
  2. This Court has jurisdiction over this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1345 and 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o).
  3. Venue is proper in the Eastern District of North Carolina under 28 U.S.C. §1391(b) and 42 U.S.C. §3612(o), in that the events or omissions giving rise to this action occurred in this district.
  4. Defendant Thetford Properties IV Limited Partnership is a Virginia limited partnership doing business in North Carolina. At all times relevant to this complaint, Defendant Thetford Properties IV Limited Partnership has been the owner of Glendale Court Apartments ("Glendale Court"), a multi-family residential apartment complex located in Pitt County, North Carolina.
  5. Defendant Thetford Associates, Inc. is a Virginia corporation doing business in North Carolina. At all times relevant to this complaint, Defendant Thetford Associates, Inc. has been a general partner for Defendant Thetford Properties IV Limited Partnership.
  6. At all times relevant to this complaint, Defendant Richard A. Urban, a resident of Deltaville, Virginia, has been a general partner for Defendant Thetford Properties IV Limited Partnership.
  7. Defendant Thetford Property Management, Inc. is a North Carolina corporation. At all times relevant to this complaint, Defendant Thetford Property Management, Inc. has been the property management company that manages Glendale Court.
  8. Defendant Vickie N. Harris was employed by Thetford Property Management, Inc. from February 1996 to March 2000. During that time she acted as Property Manager at Glendale Court. Ms. Harris is a resident of Pitt County, North Carolina.
  9. The units available for rent at Glendale Court are dwellings within the meaning of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3602(b).
  10. The North Carolina Fair Housing Center ("the Center") is a non-profit corporation whose mission is to support and encourage equal opportunities in housing in the State of North Carolina. To achieve this goal the Center, among other things, investigates alleged violations of fair housing statutes, provides assistance to individuals pursuing legal rights and remedies related to fair housing, provides education to the community on fair housing issues, promotes community involvement in fair housing issues, performs research and policy development in the area of fair housing, provides services to government and industry that can assist them in meeting their fair housing goals, and provides housing counseling.
  11. Beginning in 1999, the Center started receiving housing discrimination complaints from tenants at Glendale Court. The Center investigated these complaints by, among other things, interviewing tenants, gathering and reviewing information and documentation, and gathering witness statements. The Center also conducted outreach to Glendale Court by attending tenant meetings and educating those tenants about their rights under the fair housing laws and about the HUD complaint process.
  12. On August 17, 2000, the Center filed a timely complaint with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development ("HUD") pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3610(a) alleging that the Defendants had discriminated against persons on the basis of, inter alia, race in connection with the rental of apartments at Glendale Court, in violation of the Fair Housing Act.
  13. Pursuant to the requirements of 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 existed to believe that illegal discriminatory housing practices had occurred at Glendale Court. Therefore, on July 9, 2003, the Secretary issued a Determination of Reasonable Cause and Charge of Discrimination, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3610(g)(2)(A), charging that the Defendants had engaged in discriminatory practices, in violation of the Fair Housing Act.
  14. On August 4, 2003, the Defendants timely elected to have the charge resolved in a federal civil action, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3612(a).
  15. The Secretary subsequently authorized the Attorney General to file this action on behalf of the Center pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3610(o).
  16. The Defendants, individually and/or through their agents, have engaged in discriminatory housing practices at Glendale Court, including, but not limited to, the following practices:
    1. Issuing lease violations to black tenants and threatening to evict black tenants because of the race of those tenants;
    2. Making statements with respect to the rental of dwellings that indicate a preference, limitation, or discrimination based on race;
    3. Imposing different terms and conditions of the rental of dwelling based on race. Specifically, restricting black tenants' use of their yards, restricting black tenants' use of public and common use areas of the complex, restricting and/or prohibiting black tenants from having guests, and refusing repair requests from black tenants.
  17. By the actions set forth above, Defendants have, individually and/or in conjunction with one another:
    1. Refused to rent or otherwise made unavailable or denied one or more dwellings to persons because of race, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(a);
    2. Discriminated against persons in the terms, conditions or privileges of the rental of dwellings because of race, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(b);
    3. Made statements with respect to the rental of dwellings that indicates a preference, limitation, or discrimination on the basis of race, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(c); and
    4. Coerced, intimidated, threatened or interfered with persons in the exercise or enjoyment of any right granted or protected by section 803, 804, 805, or 806 of the Fair Housing Act, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3617.
  18. The North Carolina Fair Housing Center is an aggrieved person as defined in 42 U.S.C. § 3602(i). The Center has suffered injury and damages as a result of the Defendants' unlawful conduct described above.
  19. The Defendants' discriminatory actions as set forth above were intentional, willful, and taken in disregard for the rights of others.

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

  1. Declares that the Defendants' actions as set forth above violate the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 3601 et seq., specifically 42 U.S.C. §§ 3604(a),(b),(c) and 3617;
  2. Declares that the Defendants' actions were intentional, willful, and/or taken in disregard for the rights of others;
  3. Enjoins all Defendants, their partners, officers, employees, agents, and successors, and all other persons in active concert or participation with any of the Defendants, from:
    1. Discriminating because of race against any person in any aspect of the rental of a dwelling; and
    2. Failing or refusing to take such steps as may be necessary to prevent the recurrence of any discriminatory conduct in the future and to eliminate, to the extent practicable, the effects of the Defendants' unlawful housing practices.
  4. Awards monetary damages to the North Carolina Fair Housing Center pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 3612(o)(3) and 3613(c).

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

Dated: _________________, 2003 JOHN ASHCROFT
Attorney General
FRANK D. WHITNEY
United States Attorney ________________________
By: R.A. RENFER, JR.
Chief, Civil Division
United States Attorney's Office
310 New Bern Avenue
Federal Building, Suite 800
Raleigh, NC 27601-1461
Phone: (919) 856-4530
Fax: (919) 856-4487
_______________________
R. ALEXANDER ACOSTA
Assistant Attorney General
Civil Rights Division


________________________
STEVEN H. ROSENBAUM
Chief, Housing and Civil
Enforcement Section
Civil Rights Division


________________________
TIMOTHY J. MORAN
Deputy Chief
ERIN MEEHAN RICHMOND
Attorney
Housing and Civil Enforcement
Section
Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Northwestern Building, 7th Fl.
Washington, D.C. 20530
Phone: (202) 514-4713
Fax: (202) 514-1116



Document Filed: October 3, 2003 > >
Updated August 6, 2015

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