Housing And Civil Enforcement Cases Documents

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

FOR THE CENTRAL DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS

PEORIA DIVISION


UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,               


                        Plaintiff,

            v.                                                                   Case No. _________________


NELSON E. STUBER
and ELLA M. STUBER,


                        Defendants.                                                               


COMPLAINT


JURISDICTION AND VENUE

1.         This is a civil action brought by the United States of America to enforce Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, as amended by the Fair Housing Amendments Act of l988, 42 U.S.C.§§ 3601-3619 (The "Fair Housing Act"). This action is brought by the United States on behalf of Patricia Tyus and D.T., a minor, 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 Peoria Division of the Central District of Illinois and the subject property is located in the Peoria Division of the Central District of Illinois.

PARTIES AND PROPERTY

4.         Patricia Tyus and D.T., her minor daughter, are African-American.

5.         The subject property is located at 730 Detroit Avenue, Morton, Illinois 61550. The subject property is a dwelling as defined in Section 802(b) of the Fair Housing Act. 42 U.S.C. § 3602(b).

6.         Defendants Nelson Stuber and Ella Stuber are white and, at all times relevant to this action, they were married and jointly owned approximately 16 rental properties, including the subject property.

FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS

7.         Patricia Tyus wanted to move to Morton, Illinois, because the Morton School District

offered special education programs for D.T. and because Morton was close to her work in Peoria, Illinois.

8.         On or about September 21, 2005, Ms. Tyus called the Stubers because she had heard that they had a unit to rent. She spoke to Ms. Stuber. Ms. Stuber said that Mr. Stuber handled rentals, that he was not at home and that he would call her back.

9.         Soon thereafter, Mr. Stuber called back and left a message on Ms. Tyus' voicemail.

10.       On or about September 22, 2005, Ms. Tyus called Mr. Stuber. He said that he had a duplex to rent for $595.00 per month.

11.       Ms. Tyus and Mr. Stuber scheduled an appointment to see the duplex on or about September 23, 2005.

12.       On or about September 23, 2005, Mr. Stuber showed Ms. Tyus the duplex.

13.       After showing Ms. Tyus the property, Mr. Stuber asked her if she was African-American. She replied affirmatively.

14.       Ms. Tyus told Mr. Stuber that she was very interested in the duplex and wished to fill out an application.

15.       Mr. Stuber said that he had the paperwork at home, and would get it and bring it back to her. Ms. Tyus and Mr. Stuber agreed that she would wait for him to return with the paperwork.

16.       Mr. Stuber returned without any paperwork. Mr. Stuber told Ms. Tyus that his wife had said that he should not rent to her. Ms. Tyus asked if it was because she was African-American. Mr. Stuber replied affirmatively.

17.       Ms. Tyus was unable to find housing in Morton before her lease expired, and moved instead to Bloomington, Illinois.

18.       After refusing to rent to Ms. Tyus, Mr. and Mrs. Stuber rented the subject property to three white college students.

19.       At least as of February 15, 2006, the Stubers had never rented to an African-American person.

HUD ADMINISTRATIVE PROCESS

20.       On or about October 18, 2005, Ms. Tyus filed a timely complaint of discrimination with the Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development ("the Secretary"), alleging that Defendant Nelson Stuber had engaged in housing discrimination on the basis of race in violation of the Fair Housing Act. On or about May 20, 2006, Ms. Tyus amended her complaint to add Ella Stuber as a respondent, to add another claim under the Fair Housing Act and to add her minor daughter as an aggrieved person.

21.       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 complaint, attempted conciliation without success, and prepared a final investigative report.

22.       Based on the information gathered in that 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. On August 25, 2006, 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 the Defendants with engaging in discriminatory housing practices, based on race, in violation of the Fair Housing Act.

23.       On or about September 22, 2006, Ms. Tyus 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).

24.       On or about October 17, 2006, the Secretary authorized the Attorney General to commence a civil action on behalf of the Complainants pursuant to Section 812(o) of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o).

FAIR HOUSING ACT CLAIMS

25.       By the facts and conduct alleged above, Defendants have:

            A.        Refused to rent after the making of a bona fide offer, or refused to negotiate for the rental of, or otherwise made unavailable or denied, a dwelling to persons because of race, in violation of Section 804(a) of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C.

§ 3604(a); and

            B.        Made statements with respect to the rental of a dwelling indicating a preference, limitation, or discrimination based on race, or an intention to make any such preference, limitation, or discrimination, in violation of Section 804(c) of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3604(c).

26.       As a result of Defendants' conduct, Ms. Tyus and D.T. are aggrieved persons as defined in Section 802(i) of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3602(i), and have suffered injury.

27.       Defendants' conduct described herein was intentional, willful, and taken in disregard for the rights of Complainants.

PRAYER FOR RELIEF

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

            (i) Declares that Defendants' conduct as alleged herein violates the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601, et seq.

            (ii) Enjoins Defendants, their agents, employees, and successors, and all other persons in active concert or participation with them from discriminating on the basis of race against any person in any aspect of the rental of a dwelling, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o)(3) and 3613(c)(1);

            (iii) Awards monetary damages to Complainants pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 3612(o)(3) and 3613(c)(1); and

            (iv) Awards such additional relief as the interests of justice may require.

                                                                        Respectfully submitted,

WAN J. KIM

Assistant Attorney General

STEVEN H. ROSENBAUM

Chief, Housing and Civil Enforcement Section

Civil Rights Division

ELIZABETH A. SINGER

Director, U.S. Attorneys' Fair Housing Program

Housing and Civil Enforcement Section

Civil Rights Division

U.S. Department of Justice


                                                                        RODGER A. HEATON

                                                                        United States Attorney


                                                            By:      ___________________________________

                                                                        JAMES A. LEWIS, NC Bar No. 5470

                                                                        Attorney for Plaintiff

                                                                        United States Attorney’s Office

                                                                        318 South Sixth Street

                                                                        Springfield, IL 62701

                                                                        Telephone: (217) 492-4450

                                                                        Fax: (217) 492-4888

                                                                        Email: jim.lewis2@usdoj.gov


Document Filed: October 20, 2006 > >
Updated August 6, 2015

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