IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF KANSAS
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
The United States of America alleges:
JURISDICTION AND VENUE
1. This action is brought by the United States of America on behalf of Lee Zachary pursuant to Section 812(o) of the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o).
2. This Court has jurisdiction over this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1345 and 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o).
3. Venue is proper under 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b) because the actions giving rise to the United States' allegations occurred in the District of Kansas and the subject property is located in the District of Kansas.
PARTIES AND PROPERTY
4. Complainant Lee Zachary is an African-American man. He currently resides in Kansas City, Kansas.
5. Defendant Margie Loftus is a Hispanic woman. She currently resides in Lenexa, Kansas.
6. The subject property is a four-unit rental property ("the four-plex") located at 4712 - 4718 Mission Road in Roeland Park, Kansas. The four-plex is a dwelling as defined in Section 802(b) of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3602(b).
7. At all times relevant to this action, Ms. Loftus owned and managed the four-plex.
8. On or about November 18, 2004, Mr. Zachary asked his friend, Vicki Distefano-Perbeck, who is White, to view an apartment for rent at the four-plex on his behalf.
9. On or about November 20, 2004, Ms. Distefano-Perbeck viewed the apartment. Ms. Loftus and her adult son, Robert Loftus, were present for the viewing.
10. After she viewed the apartment, Ms. Distefano-Perbeck told Ms. Loftus that she thought Mr. Zachary would want to rent the apartment.
11. Ms. Loftus asked Ms. Distefano-Perbeck whether Mr. Zachary was Black. Ms. Distefano-Perbeck answered yes.
12. After Ms. Distefano-Perbeck informed Ms. Loftus that Mr. Zachary was African-American, Ms. Loftus told Ms. Distefano-Perbeck she could not rent to a Black person because her other tenants would move out and the apartments were her only source of income. Ms. Loftus further stated that the neighborhood was going down because a Black beauty shop located on the corner braided hair for Black people and because Black people were starting to come into the neighborhood.
13. On or about November 21, 2004, after speaking with Ms. Distefano-Perbeck about her meeting with Ms. Loftus, Mr. Zachary telephoned Ms. Loftus and told her he wanted to view the apartment. Mr. Zachary and Ms. Loftus agreed to meet at the apartment on or about November 22, 2004.
14. After numerous postponements and reschedulings by Ms. Loftus, Mr. Zachary telephoned Ms. Loftus on November 23, 2004, to inquire about the viewing. During this conversation, Ms. Loftus initially told Mr. Zachary she did not want to rent the apartment to him, but then stated that he should call the manager because the manager would make the decision about whether he could rent the apartment. Ms. Loftus gave Mr. Zachary the telephone number for the manager.
15. On or about November 24, 2004, Mr. Zachary telephoned the manager at the number provided by Ms. Loftus to inquire about the apartment. The manager told Mr. Zachary that she could not rent the apartment to him because he was Ms. Distefano-Perbeck's friend.
16. In December 2004, Mr. Zachary timely filed a complaint of determination (HUD Form 903) with the Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development ("the Secretary") alleging Ms. Loftus engaged in housing discrimination on the basis of race in violation of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3604(a).
17. In July 2005, the complaint was amended to allege Ms. Loftus made discriminatory statements on the basis of race in violation of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3604(c).
18. Pursuant to the requirements of Sections 810(a) and (b) of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3610(a) and (b), the Secretary conducted an investigation of the amended complaint, attempted conciliation without success, and prepared a final investigative report.
19. Based on the information gathered in that investigation, the Secretary, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3610(g)(1), determined that reasonable cause exists to believe that a discriminatory housing practice occurred. On September 14, 2005, the Secretary issued a Charge of Discrimination pursuant to Section 810(g)(2)(A) of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3610(g)(2)(A), charging Ms. Loftus with engaging in discriminatory housing practices in violation of the Fair Housing Act.
20. On or about October 11, 2005, Ms. Loftus timely elected to have the charge resolved in a federal civil action pursuant to Section 812(a) of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3612(a).
21. On or about October 12, 2005, the Secretary authorized the Attorney General to commence a civil action on behalf of Mr. Zachary pursuant to Section 812(o) of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o).
FAIR HOUSING ACT CLAIMS
22. By the facts and conduct alleged above in Paragraphs 4 - 15, Defendant has
- refused to sell or rent after the making of a bona fide offer, or refused to negotiate for the sale or rental of, or otherwise made unavailable or denied, a dwelling, on the basis of race or color, in violation of Section 804(a) of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3604(a);
- made statements with respect to the rental of a dwelling indicating a preference, limitation, or discrimination based on race or color, and an intention to make such a preference, limitation, or discrimination based on race or color, in violation of Section 804(c) of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3604(c).
23. As a result of Defendant's conduct, Complainant is an aggrieved person as defined in Section 802(i) of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3602(i), and has suffered injury.
24. Defendant's conduct described herein was intentional, willful, and taken in disregard for the rights of Complainant.
PRAYER FOR RELIEF
WHEREFORE, the United States prays that the Court enter an order that
(i) declares that Defendant's conduct as alleged herein violates the Fair Housing Act;
(ii) enjoins Defendant, her agents, employees, and successors, and all other persons in active concert or participation with them from discriminating on account or race or color against any person in any aspect of the rental of a dwelling;
(iii) awards monetary damages to Complainant pursuant to Section 812(o)(3) of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o)(3), and Section 813(c) of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3613(c);
(iv) awards such additional relief as the interests of justice may require.
The United States demands a jury trial.
Dated __________________, 2005
ERIC F. MELGREN
____s/Christina L. Medeiros____
Respectfully submitted,ALBERTO R. GONZALES
WAN J. KIM
Assistant Attorney General
Civil Rights Division
STEVEN H. ROSENBAUM
Housing and Civil
Document Filed: November 9, 2005 > >