Housing And Civil Enforcement Cases Documents

WAN J. KIM
Assistant Attorney General
Civil Rights Division
STEVEN H. ROSENBAUM
Chief
KEISHA DAWN BELL
Deputy Chief 
AMBER R. STANDRIDGE
Trial Attorney
Housing & Civil Enforcement Section - G St.
Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20530
Tel: (202) 514-3556
Fax: (202) 514-1116
E-mail: Amber.Standridge@usdoj.gov
 
DEBRA W. YANG
United States Attorney
LEON W. WEIDMAN
Chief, Civil Division
CAROL CHEN
Assistant U.S. Attorney
California Bar No. 212720
The Federal Building
300 North Los Angeles Street, Suite 7516
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Tel: (213) 894-2428
Fax: (213) 894-7819
E-mail: Carol.Chen@usdoj.gov
 
Attorneys for Plaintiff
United States of America
 

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA

   

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,                          

             Plaintiff,                       

                                  COMPLAINT
                                                                                  (And Demand for Jury Trial)

                    v.                                                          

                                                                                  

GARY LUKE and MARY NGO,                             

          Defendants.                                                    

_______________ _________________________

          Plaintiff United States of America, alleges:

1.       This action is brought by the United States to enforce Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, as amended by the Fair Housing Act Amendments of 1988, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq. ("Fair Housing Act"). It is brought on behalf of Rafaela Alonso, Norberto Barranco, Graciela Barrera, Laura Castañeda , Maria Castañeda, Maria del Carmen Maldonado and The Fair Housing Council of Orange County ("Complainants"), pursuant to Section 812(o) of The Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o). It is also brought pursuant to Section 814(a) of The Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3614(a).

2.       This Court has jurisdiction over this action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1345 and 42 U.S.C. §§ 3612(o) and 3614(a).

3.       Venue in this district is proper pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b), in that the events or omissions giving rise to these claims occurred in the Central District of California, the property that is the subject of the action is situated in the Central District of California, and the Defendants conduct business in this judicial district.

4.       The multi-family residential rental properties located at 13172 Adland Street and 13192 Adland Street (the "Subject Property") in Orange County each contain one building with four units.

5.       The Subject Property is a "dwelling" within the meaning of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3602(b).

6.       Defendant Gary Luke is a resident of Orange County, California.

7.       Since 2005, Defendant Gary Luke has been the co-owner of 13172 Adland Street, the owner of 13192 Adland Street and the manager of the Subject Property.

8.       Defendant Mary Ngo is a resident of Orange County, California.

9.       Since 2005, Defendant Mary Ngo has been the co-owner of 13172 Adland Street and has assisted in the management of the Subject Property.

10.     Complainant Rafaela Alonso is a Hispanic female. She resided at 13172 Adland Street, Unit D, from February 20, 1993, to November 25, 2005.

11.     Complainant Norberto Barranco is a Hispanic male. He resided at 13192 Adland Street, Unit D, from 1995 to 2005.

12.     Complainant Graciela Barrera is a Hispanic female. She resided at 13172 Adland Street, Unit B, from April 15, 2004, to December 1, 2005.

13.     Complainant Laura Castañeda is a Hispanic female. She resided at 13192 Adland Street, Unit A, from January 1 of either 1989 or 1991, until October 31, 2005.

14.     Complainant Maria Castañeda is a Hispanic female. She resided at 13172 Adland Street, Unit C, from February 1, 1996, to December 1, 2005.

15.     Complainant Maria del Carmen Maldonado is a Hispanic female. She applied to live at the Subject Property in December 2005.

16.     Complainant Fair Housing Council of Orange County ("FHCOC") is a private, non-profit organization that works to ensure and maintain fair housing by providing a variety of services directed toward education and enforcement.

17.     There were two Vietnamese tenants and six Hispanic tenants living at the Subject Property prior to the time Defendants Gary Luke and Mary Ngo purchased the Subject Property in 2005.

18.     On or about October 15, 2005, Defendant Gary Luke delivered a Notice of Termination of Tenancy to all Hispanic tenants of the Subject Property, demanding that the tenants vacate their apartments within sixty days, so that the apartments could be remodeled.

19.     Prior to issuance of the Notices of Termination of Tenancy, one Complainant heard Luke say, "it was his first time working with Mexicans and he did not know how it was going to go."

20.     Defendant Gary Luke rejected requests to transfer the Hispanic tenants to a vacant apartment or to allow them to reapply for a vacant apartment, despite some tenants' offers to pay increased rent once Defendant Gary Luke remodeled the apartments.

21.     Complainant Rafaela Alonso requested to move to another apartment on or about October 22, 2005, indicating her willingness to pay increased rent after the remodeling. Defendant Gary Luke refused explaining that he would be replacing the windows and it would be "too noisy and inconvenient."

22.     Complainant Rafaela Alonso's children each individually requested that the family be transferred, but Defendant Gary Luke refused.

23.     Complainant Norberto Barranco requested on several occasions that he be transferred or allowed to reapply. Defendant Gary Luke refused these requests.

24.     Complainant Graciela Barrera's daughter requested that the family be allowed to reapply, but Defendant Gary Luke never provided the Complainant Graciela Barrera or her daughter a rental application.

25.     Complainant Laura Castañeda and her family asked repeatedly to either reapply or be transferred to a vacant apartment and offered to pay increased rent after Defendant Gary Luke completed renovations, but Defendant Gary Luke twice reiterated that they must vacate by December 15, 2005.

26.     Complainant Maria Castañeda's son, Javier Castañeda, Jr., requested that the Castañeda family be transferred to one of the vacant units at the Subject Property, but Defendant Gary Luke said this option was "too inconvenient" for him and for the tenants.

27.     Complainant Maria Castañeda's son, Javier Castañeda, Jr., requested a rental application on two occasions, but Defendant Gary Luke avoided providing the Castañedas an application.

28.     Defendant Mary Ngo rejected Complainant Laura Castañeda's daughter's request for a rental application after the family vacated the unit at the Subject Property claiming all units were rented when multiple rental units were not under contract.

29.     Defendant Gary Luke rejected Complainant Maldonado's rental application, stating, "my partner has in mind to rent to Vietnamese families" and "Mexicans" have a tendency to "destroy the property."

30.     On or about October 2005, Defendants Gary Luke and Mary Ngo began showing the apartments to new prospective Asian tenants.

31.     Defendants Gary Luke and Mary Ngo subsequently rented all units at the Subject Property to Vietnamese tenants, completing numerous repairs from installing windows and doors to laying floor tile in the units of some Vietnamese tenants while they occupied the apartments.

32.     Prior to delivering the Notices of Termination of Tenancy, Ngo visited at least one of the two original Vietnamese tenants, Mai Tran, at the Subject Property and entreated Tran to remain at the Subject Property despite the increased rent. Ngo promised that repairs would be made to the unit if Tran would remain.

33.     On or about May 15, 2006, Complainant Rafaela Alonso timely filed a complaint with HUD against Defendants Gary Luke and Mary Ngo, alleging that the Defendants committed discriminatory housing practices against her, on the basis of national origin (Hispanic), in violation of the Fair Housing Act.

34.     On or about May 9, 2006, Complainant Norberto Barranco timely filed a complaint with HUD against Defendants Gary Luke and Mary Ngo, alleging that the Defendants committed discriminatory housing practices against him, on the basis of national origin (Hispanic), in violation of the Fair Housing Act.

35.     On or about May 15, 2006, Complainant Graciela Barrera timely filed a complaint with HUD against Defendants Gary Luke and Mary Ngo, alleging that the Defendants committed discriminatory housing practices against her, on the basis of national origin (Hispanic), in violation of the Fair Housing Act.

36.     On or about May 9, 2006, Complainant Laura Castañeda timely filed a complaint with HUD against Defendants Gary Luke and Mary Ngo, alleging that the Defendants committed discriminatory housing practices against her, on the basis of national origin (Hispanic), in violation of the Fair Housing Act.

37.     On or about May 9, 2006, Complainant Maria Castañeda timely filed a complaint with HUD against Defendants Gary Luke and Mary Ngo, alleging that the Defendants committed discriminatory housing practices against her, on the basis of national origin (Hispanic), in violation of the Fair Housing Act.

38.     On or about June 6, 2006, Maria del Carmen Maldonado timely filed a complaint with HUD against Defendants Gary Luke and Mary Ngo, alleging that the Defendants committed discriminatory housing practices against her, on the basis of national origin (Hispanic), in violation of the Fair Housing Act.

39.     On or about May 9, 2006, the FHCOC timely filed a complaint with HUD against Defendants Gary Luke and Mary Ngo, alleging that the Defendants committed discriminatory housing practices on the basis of national origin (Hispanic), in violation of the Fair Housing Act.

40.     As required by the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3610(a) and (b), the Secretary of HUD conducted an investigation of the complaints, attempted conciliation without success, and prepared a final investigative report. Based on the information gathered in its investigation, the Secretary, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3610(g), determined that reasonable cause exists to believe that illegal discriminatory housing practices have occurred. Therefore, on or about September 29, 2006, the Secretary issued a Determination of Reasonable Cause and a Charge of Discrimination on or about October 3, 2006, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3610(g), charging Defendants Gary Luke and Mary Ngo with discrimination on the basis of national origin (Hispanic) in violation of the Fair Housing Act.

41.     On or about October 17, 2006, Complainants Rafaela Alonso, Norberto Barranco, Graciela Barrera, Laura Castañeda, Maria Castañeda, Maria del Carmen Maldonado and the FHCOC elected to have their claims asserted in HUD's Charge of Discrimination resolved in a federal civil action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3612(a).

42.     On or about October 17, 2006, the Chief Administrative Law Judge issued a Notice of Election and terminated the administrative proceedings on the HUD complaints filed by Complainants Rafaela Alonso, Norberto Barranco, Graciela Barrera, Laura Castañeda, Maria Castañeda, Maria del Carmen Maldonado and the FHCOC.

43.     Following this Notice of Election, the Secretary of HUD authorized the Attorney General to commence a civil action, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o).

44.     By their actions and statements referred to in the foregoing paragraphs, the Defendants have:

(a) Made unavailable or denied a dwelling because of national origin, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(a);

(b) Made statements with respect to the rental of a dwelling that indicate a preference, limitation, or discrimination based on national origin, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(c); and

(c) Misrepresented the availability of units on the basis of national origin, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(d).

45.     Complainants are "aggrieved persons" as defined in 42 U.S.C. § 3602(i), and suffered injuries as a result of Defendants' discriminatory conduct.

46.     The actions and statements of Defendants, as described in the preceding paragraphs, were intentional, willful, and taken in disregard for the Complainants' rights.

47.     The conduct of the Defendants described above constitutes:

(a)A pattern or practice of resistance to the full enjoyment of rights granted by the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601-3619; or

(b)A denial to a group of persons of rights granted by the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601-3619, which raises an issue of general public importance.

48.     In addition to the Complainants, there may be other victims of Defendants' discriminatory actions and practices who are "aggrieved persons" as defined by the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3602(i). These persons may have suffered damages as a result of Defendants' discriminatory conduct as described herein.

49.     Defendants' actions and statements were intentional, willful, and taken in disregard for the rights of others.

 

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

          A.      Declares that Defendants' conduct, as set forth above, violates the Fair Housing Act;

          B.      Enjoins the Defendants and their agents, employees, and successors, and all other persons in active concert or participation with them from:

                    (1)     Discriminating on account of national origin, in violation of the Fair Housing Act; and

                    (2)     Failing or refusing to notify the public that dwellings owned or operated by Defendants are available to all persons on a nondiscriminatory basis;

          C.      Awards monetary damages to the Complainants and all other perons harmed by Defendants' discriminatory housing practices, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o)(3) and 42 U.S.C. § 3614(d)(1)(B); and

          D.      Assesses a civil penalty against each Defendant in order to vindicate the public interest, in an amount authorized by Section 814(d)(1)(C) of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3614(d)(1)(C).

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

 

          Pursuant to Rule 38 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the United States of America hereby demands a trial by jury of this action of all issues triable of right to a jury.
   

   
ALBERTO R. GONZALES
Attorney General


DEBRA W.YANG
United States Attorney



LEON W.WEIDMAN
Chief, Civil Division





______________________________
CAROL CHEN
Assistant U.S. Attorney
California Bar No.212720
The Federal Building
300 North Los Angeles Street
Suite 7516
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Tel: (213) 894-2428
Fax: (213) 894-7819
E-mail:  Carol.Chen@usdoj.gov
_______________________
WAN J. KIM
Assistant Attorney General
Civil Rights Division


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


______________________
KEISHA DAWN BELL
Deputy Chief
AMBER R. STANDRIDGE
Trial Attorney
Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
Northwestern Building, 7th Floor
Washington, D.C. 20530
Tel: (202) 514-3556
Fax: (202) 514-1116
E-mail: Amber.Standridge@usdoj.gov



Document Filed: November 16, 2006 > >
Updated August 6, 2015

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