Housing And Civil Enforcement Cases Documents

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS


UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
     Plaintiff,

v.

CIVIL ACTION NO. 00-331-MJR

CITY OF FAIRVIEW HEIGHTS,
ILLINOIS,
     Defendant.

_____________________________________


CONSENT DECREE
  1. INTRODUCTION

The United States of America filed this action in April 2000 to enforce the provisions of Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (the Fair Housing Act), 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601-3619, against the Defendant, the City of Fairview Heights, Illinois (the City).

  1. Complainant T.R. Forte Investments, Inc. (TR Forte), is a real estate development and investment company run by complainant Rodney L. Forte (Forte), who is African-American. Forte is married to Thalia Forte, who is African-American and has an interest in TR Forte. In partnership with The Lasker Construction Company (Lasker Construction), which is owned by Greg Lasker, who is African-American, Forte developed a plan to build a 154-unit apartment complex, The Villas at Lake Chester (the Villas), in Fairview Heights. The Villas were to be sited on land owned by Intervening Plaintiffs Pauline Brisk, Anthony Holdener, Agnes Schmiskie, Catherine Thouvenot, Lillian M. Holdener, Robert Charles Holdener, Frederick J. Holdener, Ronald J. Holdener, Linda K. Holdener, and Thomas L. Holdener and zoned Planned Residential (PR).
  2. The appraiser, Lee Hill, and the real estate agent, Chiquita Kimari, retained by Forte and Lasker for the Villas are African-American. The architect of the Villas was Terry Burruss. The Villas development was to utilize a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) mortgage insurance program through the State Bank of Danville, Arkansas. The bank was represented by Judious Lewis, who is African-American.
  3. On October 9, 1998, Forte filed a petition or application with the City to build the Villas. On November 10, 1998, the Fairview Heights Planning Commission held a hearing on the Villas. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Commission voted unanimously to recommend denial of the Villas proposal. On November 18, 1998, the City held an Aldermanic Planning Committee Meeting at which the Villas proposal was discussed. By a 2-1 vote, the Planning Committee voted to deny the Villas proposal. On December 1, 1998, the City Council voted 6-0 to deny the Villas proposal and passed Resolution No. 2560-'98, which Mayor Gail Mitchell approved on December 2, 1998. In each instance, the City's stated reasons for denial were detrimental effect on schools and traffic and incompatibility with the adjoining land use.
  4. On February 3, 1999, Forte filed a housing discrimination complaint with the Secretary of HUD. An amended complaint was filed on April 14, 1999. Forte's complaint alleged that Fairview Heights' denial of his proposal to build the Villas constituted discrimination based upon race in violation of the Fair Housing Act. The Secretary of HUD determined that the complaint involved the legality of state or local zoning or other land use laws or ordinances. Accordingly, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3610(g), the Secretary referred the matter to the Attorney General for appropriate action.
  5. The United States alleges that the City discriminated based on race and familial status when it denied the Villas development proposal. The City denies the United States' allegations and denies any liability on the part of the City, its agents, employees, successors or assigns. The parties agree that this matter should be settled, and accordingly, consent to the entry of this Consent Decree, subject to approval by the Court. Entry into this Consent Decree, and the performance of any acts under this Decree, does not constitute, and shall not be taken to constitute, any admission whatever on the part of the City.
  6. Monetary Relief for Identified Aggrieved Persons.
    1. In settlement of the disputed claims of the United States, the Defendant's insurance company, Twin Cities Fire Insurance Company, will pay a total of $275,000.00 to the identified aggrieved persons, including the Intervening Plaintiffs, as monetary relief.
    2. Within thirty (30) days of the entry of the Decree, separate checks made payable to each aggrieved person for his or her respective share of the monetary relief shall be delivered to the United States as follows:
      1. Rodney Forte: $80,000.00;
      2. Greg Lasker: $80,000.00;
      3. Thalia Forte: $10,000.00;
      4. Judious Lewis: $15,000.00;
      5. Terry Burruss: $5,000.00;
      6. Lee Hill: $2,500.00; and
      7. Chiquita Kimari: $2,500.00.
    3. Each aggrieved person shall receive his or her check only after such person has signed a Release of Claims regarding the City. An example of such a release is attached to this Decree as Attachment A.
    4. Within thirty (30) days of the effective date of the Decree, a check made payable to the Intervening Plaintiffs, Pauline Brisk, Anthony Holdener, Agnes Schmiskie, Catherine Thouvenot, Lillian M. Holdener, Robert Charles Holdener, Frederick J. Holdener, Ronald J. Holdener, Linda K. Holdener, and Thomas L. Holdener and their Counsel for $80,000.00 shall be delivered to Counsel for the Intervening Plaintiffs (1).
    5. Each Intervening Plaintiff shall receive his or her check only after such person has signed a Release of Claims regarding the City. An example of such a release is attached to this Decree as Attachment B.

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED, ADJUDGED, AND DECREED AS FOLLOWS:

  1. INJUNCTIVE RELIEF (2)
  1. Compliance with the Fair Housing Act.

    The Defendant, its agents, employees, successors, and assigns, as well as anyone in active concert or participation with it, are hereby permanently enjoined from:

    1. discriminating on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, religion, familial status, or handicap in any aspect of the administration of its zoning code or ordinances relating to housing;
    2. denying or otherwise making dwellings unavailable to persons because of race, color, sex, national origin, religion, familial status, or handicap;
    3. discriminating in the terms, conditions, or privileges of the sale or rental of dwellings, or in the provision of facilities and services in connection therewith, because of race, color, sex, national origin, religion, familial status, or handicap;
    4. making, printing, or publishing, any notice, statement, or advertisement relating to any housing that indicates any preference, limitation or discrimination based on race, color, sex, national origin, religion, familial status, or handicap;
    5. coercing, intimidating, threatening, or interfering with any person in the exercise or enjoyment of, or on account of having exercised or enjoyed, or on account of having aided or encouraged any other person in the exercise or enjoyment of, any right protected by the Fair Housing Act; and
    6. taking any other action that violates the Fair Housing Act.
  2. DESIGNATION OF FAIR HOUSING COMPLIANCE OFFICER.
    1. Within thirty (30) days of the entry of this Decree, the City shall designate a Fair Housing Compliance Officer (FHCO) to receive complaints of alleged housing discrimination against the City, educate the City and its employees on fair housing, participate in fair housing meetings and training and coordinate the City's compliance with this Decree. The FHCO shall maintain copies of this Consent Decree, the HUD Complaint form and the HUD pamphlet entitled "Are you a victim of housing discrimination?" (HUD official form 903 and 903.1, respectively) (3) and make these materials freely available to anyone, upon request, without charge, including all persons making fair housing complaints to the FHCO.
    2. The City shall become a member of the St. Louis area Fair Housing Collaborative (FH Collaborative) (4). The FHCO shall attend the regular meetings of the FH Collaborative, the Fairview Heights Affirmative Action Committee (AA Committee) and similar City committees concerning housing, discrimination, race, or civil rights. The FHCO shall report every three months to the City on the issues discussed at the FH Collaborative meeting and on fair housing in general. If the FH Collaborative or AA Committee are renamed, reorganized, or discontinued, the FHCO must attend similar meetings and committees for the duration of this Decree.
    3. The City shall submit to the United States the identification of the FHCO within forty-five (45) days after entry of this Decree. The City shall, annually after entry of this Decree, submit to the United States the identity of the FHCO and a list of the FH Collaborative, AA Committee, and other fair housing-related meetings attended by the City and FHCO during the previous year.
  3. FAIR HOUSING OUTREACH.
    1. The City shall place the phrase "Equal Housing Opportunity" or the fair housing logo in all future published notices and advertisements relating to housing or residential development and submit copies of all such notices and advertisements to the United States within six (6) months of publishing.
    2. Within forty-five (45) days from the date of entry of this Decree, the Defendant shall obtain an official HUD "Equal Housing Opportunity" poster (HUD form 928). The City shall place a legible sticker on the poster containing the name, telephone number and location of the City's FHCO. The poster shall be placed in a prominent location in the City Hall, in an area where applicants/petitioners for zoning- and land use-related transactions acquire information and forms from the City.
    3. The City shall include a copy of HUD form 903.1 and the identity of the City's FHCO, in written form, in the application packet that is given to residential developers seeking information on zoning and land use.
  4. FAIR HOUSING TRAINING AND EDUCATION.

    1. Within ninety (90) days after the entry of this Decree and annually thereafter for the duration of the Decree, the City shall provide, through an independent contractor approved by the United States, an educational training session for all of its employees with responsibilities relating to zoning and land use, including all planning commission members, all elected officials, all zoning board members, all inspectors, all code enforcement officers, and all employees of the land use and development and planning departments. The purpose of the training is to educate the participants on their own and the City's responsibilities under the Fair Housing Act and local fair housing laws. Each training sessions shall be a minimum of two (2) hours in duration. All participants shall have their attendance certified in writing by the person conducting the training. Within fourteen (14) days after the training sessions, the written attendance certification(s) shall be submitted to the United States.
    2. Within sixty (60) days after the entry of this Consent Decree and thereafter sixty (60) days prior to the annual training sessions for the duration of this Decree, the City shall provide, or direct the training contractor to provide, a copy of the training materials to be used at the training sessions to the United States for its review and approval, which may not be unreasonably withheld. Said approval shall be given no later than thirty (30) days before the training session.
    3. Within sixty (60) days after the entry of this Decree, the City shall furnish to all of its employees and agents in the land use and development and planning departments a copy of this Consent Decree and inform each of the duties of the City and its employees and agents pursuant to the Decree. The City shall forward a list identifying by name and title each said employee or agent receiving this Decree and being informed of the City's and its employees' duties under the Decree to the United States within ninety (90) days of the date of entry of this Consent Decree.
    4. Within twenty-one (21) days after a new or current employee begins to work in the land use and development and planning departments, that employee shall receive a copy of this Consent Decree and be informed of the duties of the City and its employees and agents pursuant to the Decree. Such employees shall also participate in the next annual training session as described in Section II 4(a). The City shall forward a list identifying by name and title each said employee or agent receiving this Decree and being informed of the City's and its employees' duties under the Decree to the United States within fourteen (14) days after the person receives the Decree and is informed of said duties.

  5. REPORTING AND RECORD-KEEPING REQUIREMENTS.
    1. For the duration of this Consent Decree, the Defendant shall notify the United States of each and every proposal presented by any entity for any multi-family housing development of any type which is denied, disapproved, or turned down by the City or its agents or employees. This notification shall identify: (i) the name, address, and telephone number of the entity making the proposal and the race of the representative(s) of the entity; (ii) the nature of the proposal; and (iii) the disposition of the proposal. The City shall maintain all records relating to these proposals for at least the duration of this Decree.
    2. The City shall notify the United States, in writing, within sixty (60) days of the receipt by the City of any written complaint alleging housing discrimination by the City. This notification to the United States shall indicate any action taken by the City in response to the complaint, and shall be accompanied by all pertinent documents, including a copy of the complaint, any documents filed with the complaint, and any written response to the complaint by the City.
    3. For the duration of this Consent Decree, the Defendant shall maintain all records relating to each and every proposal presented by any entity for any multi-family housing development of any type. These records shall identify: (i) the name, address, and telephone number of the entity making the proposal and the race of the representative(s) of the entity; (ii) the nature of the proposal; and (iii) the disposition of the proposal.

  6. INSPECTION OF DOCUMENTS.

    For the duration of this Consent Decree, the Defendant shall preserve all records pertaining to the Defendant's implementation of the provisions of and obligations under the Consent Decree. Upon reasonable notice to the Defendant's counsel, representatives of the U.S. Department of Justice shall be permitted to inspect and copy all such records at reasonable times in order to monitor the Defendant's compliance with the Consent Decree.

  1. JURISDICTION AND ADMINISTRATION

This Consent Decree shall remain in effect for a period of three (3) years following the date this Consent Decree is entered and becomes final, and the Court shall retain jurisdiction over this action for purposes of resolving any disputes that may arise under the Consent Decree. The parties to this Consent Decree shall endeavor in good faith to resolve informally any differences regarding interpretation of and compliance with the Consent Decree prior to bringing such matters before the Court for resolution. The signatures of the parties to this Consent Decree constitute waivers by each executing party of any right to challenge the validity of this Consent Decree at any time.

*****

DATED this ___ day of ___, 2001.

BY THE COURT:

_________________________
MICHAEL J. REAGAN
United States District Judge


AGREED TO BY:


For Plaintiff, United States of Amierca, For Defendant, City of Fairview Heights, Illinois,

JOAN A. MAGAGNA, Chief
TIMOTHY J. MORAN
RICHARD A. KOFFMAN
KEVIN J. KIJEWSKI
U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
P.O. Box 65998
Washington, D.C. 20035-5998
202-305-3102
FAX: 202-514-1116

DAWN A. SALLERSON
MARK D. BAUMAN
JEFFREY A. KOPIS
HINSHAW & CULBERTSON
521 West Main Street, Ste. 300
Belleville, IL 62222-0509
618-277-2400
FAX: 618-277-1144

W. CHARLES GRACE
Acting United States Attorney

ROBERT E. BECKER
GARRETT P. HOERNER
BECKER, PAULSON & HOERNER, P.C.
5111 West Main Street
Belleville, IL 62226
618-235-0020
FAX: 618-235-8558

JAMES M. HIPKISS
Assistant United States Attorney
9 Executive Drive, Suite 300
Fairview Heights, IL 62208
618-628-3700
FAX: 618-628-3720

For Intervening Plaintiffs,

JOHN J. PAWLOSKI
BOGGS, BACKER & BATES, LLC
7912 Bonhomme, Ste. 400
St. Louis, MO 63105-1912
314-726-2310
FAX: 314-726-2360

1. John J. Pawloski, Boggs, Backer & Bates, LLC, 7912 Bonhomme, Ste. 400, St. Louis, MO 63105-1912.

2. All submission and notifications to the United States required by this Consent Decree shall be sent to: Chief of the Housing and Civil Enforcement Section, Attn: 175-25-85, Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice, P.O. Box 65998, Washington, DC 20035-5998.

3. Copies of HUD forms 903, 903.1 and 928 are available free of charge by calling HUD directly at 800-669-9777, 800-765-9372, TTY 312-353-7143, or 312-353-7776.

4. The Collaborative is currently held at 9:30 am on the second Thursday of each month at the office of the Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing Opportunity Council (EHOC), 1027 South Vandeventer Avenue, Fourth Floor, St. Louis, MO 63110. The contact for the Collaborative is Sonja B. McClendon, Community Builder, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Robert A. Young Federal Office Building, 1222 Spruce Street, 3rd Floor, St. Louis, MO 63103-2836, 314-539-6588, 314-539-6583, Fax: 314-539-6384, TTD: 314-539-6331 and the contact for EHOC is Catherine Ndegwa, Executive Director, 314-534-5800, 800-555-3951, FAX: 314-534-2551, TDD (Missouri Relay) 800-735-2966, TDD (Illinois Relay) 800-526-0844.


Document Signed: September 18, 2001. > >

Updated August 6, 2015

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