IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF WISCONSIN
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
GERALD J. POWERS II
1. The United States of America initiated this action against Defendant, Gerald J. Powers II, on November 17, 2004 on behalf of Kendra Bland and her three minor children, Nicholas Bland, Gabriella Bland, and Anthony Bland ("Complainants"), pursuant to subsection 812(o) of the Fair Housing Act ("the Act"), as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o). The complaint alleges that the Defendant discriminated against Complainants on the basis of familial status in connection with the rental of a two-bedroom unit located at 1682 North Cass Street, Milwaukee, Wisconsin in violation of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3604(a) and (c).
2. The parties have agreed to the entry of this Consent Order to resolve all claims of the United States and Complainants against the Defendant and to avoid further expenses and the uncertainties of litigation. By entering into this Consent Order, the Defendant does not admit to any violation of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601, et seq. or any other basis for civil or criminal liability.
I. GENERAL INJUNCTION
3. The Defendant, his officers, agents, employees, and all persons in active concert or participation with him are enjoined, with respect to the rental of any dwellings as defined by 42 U.S.C. §3602(b), from:
- Refusing to rent, or to negotiate for the rental of, or otherwise making unavailable or denying, a dwelling to any person because of familial status, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(a);
- Discriminating against any person in the terms, conditions, or privileges of rental of a dwelling, or in the provision of services or facilities in connection therewith, because of familial status, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(b); and,
- Making, or causing to be made, statements with respect to the rental of a dwelling that indicate a preference, limitation, or discrimination based on familial status, or an intention to make any such preference, limitation, or discrimination, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(c).
II. AFFIRMATIVE RELIEF
4. Defendant shall within 30 days of the entry of this Order post and prominently display in the rental office and in any other office where there is rental activity and/or personal contact with applicants for the rental of dwellings from the Defendant, a poster no smaller than 11 inches by 14 inches that indicates that all dwellings are available for rent on a nondiscriminatory basis. The poster shall comply with the requirements set out in 24 C.F.R. Part 110.
5. Defendant shall within 30 days of the entry of this Order include the words "Equal Housing Opportunity" or the fair housing logo in all advertising conducted by the Defendant in newspapers, telephone directories (if utilized), radio or other media, and on all signs, pamphlets, brochures, and other promotional literature. The words or logo shall be prominently placed and easily legible.
6. Defendant shall provide a written notice to each current tenant that, under the federal Fair Housing Act, landlords must make all apartments available for rental by families with children including apartments on upper floors, and that landlords must rent such apartments to families with children without discrimination in the terms and privileges of such rental.
III. MANDATORY EDUCATION AND TRAINING
7. As soon as reasonably possible, but no later than December 22, 2005, Defendant, Gerald J. Powers II, his officers, agents, and employees, shall undergo training on the provisions of the Fair Housing Act, with particular emphasis on discrimination on the basis of familial status. The training shall be conducted by the Metropolitan Milwaukee Fair Housing Council. Defendant, his officers, agents and employees, shall provide to the United States, within 30 days after the training, the name(s), address(es) and telephone number(s) of the trainer(s) and certifications executed by the trainers confirming their attendance.
8. Within 30 days of the date of entry of this Order, Defendant shall provide a copy of this Order to all his agents and employees involved in the rental or management of dwellings and secure the signed statement from each agent or employee acknowledging that he or she has received and read the Order. This statement shall be substantially in the form of Attachment A.
9. During the term of this Order, within 30 days after the date he or she commences an agency or employment relationship with the Defendant, each new agent or employee involved in the rental or management of dwellings shall be given a copy of this Order and be required to sign a statement acknowledging that he or she has received and read the Order. This statement shall be substantially in the form of Attachment A.
IV. MONETARY PAYMENTS TO KENDRA BLAND
10. The Defendant shall pay to Kendra Bland the sum of Thirteen Thousand Dollars ($13,000.00), provided that no amount shall be paid pursuant to this paragraph before Kendra Bland has executed a written release (substantially in the form of Attachment B) of all claims, legal or equitable, that he might have against the Defendant relating to the claims asserted in this lawsuit. The Defendant shall send a check made payable to Kendra Bland to counsel for the United States (1) within 15 days after the date of entry of this Order.
V. RECORD KEEPING AND REPORTING
11. During the term of this Order, the Defendant shall retain all rental records maintained in the normal course of his business -- including, but not limited to, inquiry logs, applications, tenant files, and all records relating to actual or threatened evictions -- created from the date of the entry of this Consent Order. Upon request and reasonable notice, the Defendant shall produce or permit representatives of the United States to review any such records in the possession or control of the Defendant, or his agents, employees, or representatives.
12. During the term of this Order, the Defendant shall give counsel for the United States written notice within 15 days of the receipt of any written or oral complaint against the Defendant regarding discrimination on the basis of familial status or alleging unlawful retaliation, and a description of the resolution of any such complaint within 15 days of resolution. If the complaint is written, the Defendant shall provide a copy of it with the notice; if the complaint is oral, he shall include a written summary of it with the notice. The notice shall include the full details of the complaint, including the complainant's name, address and telephone number. The Defendant shall also promptly provide the United States all information it may request concerning any such complaint and its actual or attempted resolution.
VI. COURT JURISDICTION, SCOPE AND TERM OF CONSENT ORDER
13. The parties have consented to the entry of this Order as indicated by the signatures below. To this end, the parties stipulate and the Court finds that this Court has subject matter jurisdiction over this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§1331 and 1345 and 42 U.S.C. §3612(o). This Consent Order is effective immediately upon its entry by the Court.
14. This Consent Order will remain in force and effect for two years from the date of its entry.
15. The Court shall dismiss this case with prejudice. The parties to this Consent Order shall endeavor in good faith to resolve informally any differences regarding interpretation of and compliance with this Order prior to bringing such matters to the Court for resolution. However, in the event of a failure by Defendant, whether willful or otherwise, to perform in a timely manner any act required by this Order or in the event of any other act violating any provision hereof, the United States may move this Court to reopen the case and impose any remedy authorized by law or equity.
VII. COSTS OF LITIGATION
16. Each party will pay its own attorneys fees and costs associated with this litigation.
So ORDERED this ___ day of _________________, 2005.
CHARLES N. CLEVERT
United States District Judge
The undersigned hereby apply for and consent to the entry of this Order:
FOR THE UNITED STATES:
STEVEN H. ROSENBAUM, Chief
NICOLE PORTER, Deputy Chief
JENNIFER C. CASS, Attorney
U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.-G St.
Washington, DC 20530
Tel.: (202) 616-1958
Fax: (202) 514-6614
STEVEN M. BISKUPIC
United States Attorney
MATTHEW V. RICHMOND
State Bar No. 1005513
Chief, Civil Division
517 East Wisconsin Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53202
Tel.: (414) 297-1700
FOR THE DEFENDANT:
Rod W. Rogahn
State Bar No. 1028404
Colleen Wentworth Jones
State Bar No.1026318
Rogahn Law Offices
605 Milwaukee St.
P.O. Box 180636
Delafield, WI 53018
FOR THE DEFENDANT:
Mary L. Richards
State Bar No. 1000385
EMILE BANKS & ASSOCIATES, LLC
Mayfair North Tower, Suite 1120
2600 North Mayfair Road
Milwaukee, WI 53226
Employee Acknowledgment Form
I , _______________________________ , hereby acknowledge that I have been provided with a copy of and have read the Consent Order entered by the United States District Court in United States v. Gerald J. Powers II, Case No. 04-C-1117.
(City, State, Zip) __________________________________
FULL SETTLEMENT AND FINAL RELEASE OF ALL CLAIMS
In consideration of the Consent Order entered in United States v. Gerald J. Powers II, Case No. 04-C-1117 (E.D. Wis.) and Thirteen Thousand Dollars and no/100 ($13,000.00), the receipt of which is hereby acknowledged, I, Kendra Bland, do hereby forever release and discharge Gerald Powers II (a/k/a Joe Powers) and American Family Mutual Insurance Company (hereinafter referred to as the released parties) from any and all claims and causes of action, in any way arising out of or related to incidents that occurred on or about September 2, 2003, and February 8, 2004, involving the rental of Mr. Powers' apartment located at 1682 North Cass Street in Milwaukee, WI.
This Release fully extinguishes all claims and causes of action related to the above described incidents, including but not limited to those for: compensatory damages (including economic and non-economic damages); loss of housing opportunity, general emotional distress damages, past or future medical bills, lost wages, loss of earning capacity claims, contractual and extra-contractual claims; loss of society, companionship and consortium; civil penalties; punitive damages; costs and fees; attorneys' fees; statutory damage awards; any damages in connection with violations of state or federal fair housing laws, and any claims based upon contribution, indemnification or subrogation (whether based on statute, contract or equity), derivation or assignment, and including by any person or entity, including but not limited to, on behalf of Medicare/Medicaid or Title XIX.
I agree to indemnify and hold harmless the released parties for any expenses, including attorney's fees, incurred in defending against any claims brought in the future that may be made by or on behalf of myself for any claims or causes of action related to the above-described incidents. I further agree to indemnify and hold harmless the released parties against any claims which may be made by or on behalf of any of my children for any claims or causes of action related to the above described incidents including those for loss of care, companionship, protection, services or benefits. I agree that this Release is also made for and binding upon my heirs, successors and assigns. By this agreement any liability of subsidiaries, parent corporations, insurers, predecessors, successors, officers, directors, agents or employees of the released parties is also released and discharged.
With full knowledge and understanding of the contents of this release, I voluntarily enter into settlement and do so without having relied on any statement or representation by the released parties, representatives of the released parties, or anyone retained by the released parties.
I understand that in making this Release I will have no right to make a claim against anyone, including the released parties, for more money even if I later become dissatisfied with this settlement for any reason whatsoever.
The statements in this Full Settlement and Final Release are contractual terms, and are not mere recitals.
I have read this Release, which consists of two (2) pages, and understand that it is a full and complete compromise and full settlement of all claims for which I have been fully compensated.
Subscribed and sworn to before me______________________this ___ day of ________________, 2005.
Notary Public, State of Wisconsin
My commission expires: ______________
1. For purposes of this Consent Decree, submissions to counsel for the United States should be to Chief, Housing and Civil Enforcement Section, Civil Rights Division, United States Department of Justice, 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.-G St., Washington, D.C. 20530, Attn: DJ# 175-85-424, or as otherwise agreed by counsel.
Document Filed: September 8, 2005 > >