CENTRAL DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v. Case No. 02-3
URBAN RENTAL COMPANY,
PATRICK W. KRETZER and
and SUSAN L. KRETZER,
The United States of America alleges that:
1. This is a civil action brought by the United States on behalf of Joseph Edmonson and Debra Edmonson (1) to enforce the provisions of the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§3601 - 3619 (hereinafter " the Fair Housing Act " ).
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 Springfield Division of Central District of Illinois under 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b) in that a substantial part of the events giving rise to this claim occurred in Christian County, Illinois, which is in the Springfield Division of the Central District of Illinois.
4. Urban Rental Company is an Illinois corporation doing business in the Central District of Illinois. It owns Urban Mobile Home Village, which is a 40-lot mobile home park located at West Spresser, Taylorville, Christian County, Illinois, which is also in the Central District of Illinois.
5. Defendant Susan L. Kretzer is the president of Urban Rental Company. Defendant Patrick W. Kretzer is the secretary and treasurer of Urban Rental Company. Together Susan and Patrick Kretzer exercise management responsibilities of Urban Mobile Home Village.
6. Joseph Edmonson and Debra Edmonson (hereinafter referred to as " the Edmonsons ") are a black couple who attempted to rent a lot for a mobile home in Urban Mobile Home Village in 1997.
7. The mobile homes in Urban Mobile Home Village and the lots on which they are located are " dwellings " within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 3602(b).
8. On April 18, 1997, Debra Edmonson spoke with Defendant Susan Kretzer by telephone to inquire about the availability of a mobile home lot in the Urban Mobile Home Village. Susan Kretzer told Debra Edmonson that one lot was available and that she would have to come by and fill out an application.
9. On April 21, 1997, Joseph Edmonson went to Urban Mobile Home Village and completed an application to rent lot #26. Defendant Susan Kretzer told him at that time that it would be necessary for Patrick Edmonson to inspect the Edmonsons' trailer, as part of the routine application procedure. The Edmonsons had picked out a trailer that was built in 1986, but had not yet purchased it. Susan Kretzer told Joseph Edmonson that the Edmonsons would be called about the results of the application in a few days.
10. On April 23, 1997, Doris and Charles Yonkers (hereinafter referred to as " the Yonkers "), a white couple, were driving though Urban Mobile Home Village and observed an empty lot there. They met with Defendant Patrick Kretzer on that day, asked if they could rent the lot and were informed at that time that they could. They then proceeded to purchase a new trailer for lot #26.
11. On April 25, 1997, Debra Edmonson called Urban Mobile Home Village to check on the status of their application and spoke to Defendant Patrick Kretzer. At first, Mr. Kretzer told her that she had the wrong number and when she persisted, he informed her that lot #26 had already been rented.
12. Defendants claim they rented lot #26 to the Yonkers because of an unwritten policy they instituted in 1990 which established a preference of renting to individuals who own newer mobile homes. This claim is a pretext for discrimination since defendants failed to apply this policy to more than half of the mobile homes in Urban Mobile Home Village since 1990.
13. Defendants have never rented any lots in Urban Mobile Home Village to blacks.
14. By refusing to rent the mobile home lot to the Edmonsons, the defendants discriminated against them because of their race and color in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(a).
15. By subjecting the Edmonsons to an inspection of their mobile home and applying its new mobile home policy to them and not to more than half of the mobile homes in its mobile park, defendants discriminated against the Edmonsons because of race and color in violation of 42 U.S.C. §3604(b).
16. Because of the defendants' unlawful actions, the Edmonsons were not able to rent a lot for their mobile home in the Urban Mobile Home Village in April of 1997.
17. On or about June 7, 1997, the Edmonsons filed a complaint with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (hereinafter " HUD " ) pursuant to the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3610, alleging that they had been discriminated against by Urban Mobile Home Village, Urban Rental Company, Inc., Urban Mini Storage, Patrick W. Kretzer and Susan L. Kretzer, when they were refused an opportunity to rent a space for a mobile home in Urban Mobile Home Village.
18. Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 3610(a) and (b), the Secretary of HUD (hereinafter the " Secretary ") conducted an investigation of the complaint, attempted conciliation without success, and prepared a final investigative report.
19. 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 a discriminatory housing practice had occurred.
20. On July 26, 2002, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §3610(g)(2), the Secretary issued a charge of discrimination charging defendants with engaging in racially discriminatory practices in violation of the Fair Housing Act.
21. On August 19, 2002, the defendants elected to have this matter resolved in the United States District Court pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3612(a).
22. By their actions, including those described above, defendants discriminated against the Edmonsons on the basis of race and color in that they did:
a. Refuse to rent after the making of a bona fide offer, or refuse to negotiate for the rental of, or otherwise make unavailable or deny a dwelling to the Edmonsons on the basis of race and color in violation of 42 U.S.C.§ 3604(a);
b. Discriminate against the Edmonsons in the terms, conditions and privileges of rental and occupancy of a dwelling, or in the provision of services or facilities in connection therewith, because of race and color in violation of 42 U.S.C. §3604(b).
23. Defendants' actions described above were intentional, willful, and taken in disregard for the fair housing rights of the Edmonsons.PRAYER FOR RELIEF
WHEREFORE, the United States prays that this Court enter an Order that:
A. Declares that defendants' discriminatory housing practices violate the Fair Housing Act;
B. Enjoins the defendants, their agents, employees, and successors, and all other persons in active concert or participation with any of them from discriminating because of race and color against any person in any aspect of the rental of a dwelling;
C. Awards such damages to fully compensate the Edmonsons for all injury occasioned by defendants' discriminatory actions, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 3612(o) and 3613(c);
D. Awards punitive damages because of the intentional and willful nature of defendants' conduct and statements, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 3612(o) and 3613(c).
The United States further prays for such additional relief as the interests of justice may require.
JAN PAUL MILLER
UNITED STATES ATTORNEY
Elizabeth L. Collins
Assistant United States Attorney
600 E. Monroe Street, Suite 312
Springfield, IL 62701-1675
Telephone: (217) 492-4450
1. Debra Edmonson is now known as Debra Tucker, but will be referred to in this complaint by her married name, Debra Edmonson, which was her name during all relevant periods of this complaint.
Document Filed: September 18, 2002 > >