UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
THE CITY OF MT.PLEASANT, CIVIL ACTION NO.:
TENNESSEE; CARL MARTIN;
SOUTH CENTRAL TENNESSEE
DEVELOPMENT DISTRICT; AND
ROGER JOE EVANS;
The United States of America alleges as follows:
1. This is a civil action brought by the United States on behalf of Rosalyn Y. Baker and her three minor sons, Curtis " Dante " Lee, James Baker, and Dominique Baker, against the City of Mt. Pleasant, Tennessee, Carl Martin, the City's inspector and code enforcement officer during the relevant period, the South Central Tennessee Development District (SCTDD), and Roger Joe Evans, Project Manager at SCTDD, (" Defendants ") to enforce the provisions of the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq. (the " Fair Housing Act ").
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 in this judicial district under 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b), in that the events giving rise to this action occurred in this district.
4. Defendant City of Mt. Pleasant is an incorporated city in the Middle District of Tennessee, approximately 40 miles south of Nashville.
5. Defendant Carl Martin is employed by the City of Mt. Pleasant as a housing inspector. From at least in or about 1998 until November 1999, Mr. Martin was also employed as the City's inspector and Code Enforcement Officer for the City's 1998 HOME program, a HUD-funded program designed to provide rehabilitation services to low income homeowners.
6. Defendant South Central Tennessee Development District is an association of thirty-six municipal and thirteen county governments in southern middle Tennessee organized to advocate and promote economic and community development within the region. SCTDD contracted with the City of Mt. Pleasant to administer the City's 1998 HOME program.
7. Defendant Roger Joe Evans is a Project Manager for the South Central Tennessee Development District. Mr. Evans was the Project Manager at SCTDD in charge of administering the City of Mt. Pleasant's 1998 HOME program.
8. Rosalyn Y. Baker is a Black female who resides at 206 E. Cooper Street, Mt. Pleasant, Tennessee. Mrs. Baker was a participant in the City's 1998 HOME program.
9. Mrs. Baker's residence, 206 E. Cooper Street, is a " dwelling " within the meaning of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3602(b).
10. In or about October 1999, Mrs. Baker timely filed a complaint with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (hereinafter " HUD "), pursuant to the Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3610(a). The complaint alleged, inter alia, that Defendants engaged in discriminatory housing practices because of Mrs. Baker's race, and that these practices injured Mrs. Baker and her three sons, Dante, James, and Dominique.
11. As required by the Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3610(a) and (b), the Secretary of HUD (hereinafter the " Secretary ") conducted an investigation of the complaint, attempted conciliation without success, and prepared a final investigative report. Based on the information gathered in this investigation, the Secretary, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3610(g)(1), determined that reasonable cause exists to believe that a discriminatory housing practice has occurred. Therefore, on April 6, 2001, the Secretary issued a Charge of Discrimination pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3610(g)(2), charging Defendants with engaging in discriminatory practices in violation of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. 3601 et seq.
12. On April 30, 2001, the Defendants elected to have the charge resolved in a federal civil action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3612(a).
13. In October 1998, Mrs. Rosalyn Baker and her husband James Baker (now deceased) applied for funds to rehabilitate their home through the City of Mt. Pleasant's 1998 HOME program.
14. The HOME program is a HUD-funded program administered by the City to rehabilitate single-family homes of low and moderate income persons.
15. In January 1999, Defendant Carl Martin, the City's inspector and, at the time, the inspector/code enforcement officer for its HOME program, inspected Mrs. Baker's home to determine her eligibility for the program and assess the rehabilitation services that would be necessary in order to bring her home into compliance with local housing codes.
16. In February 1999, Mrs. Baker was informed by Defendant Roger Joe Evans, Community Development Specialist with the South Central Tennessee Development District (SCTDD), the local agency that was under contract with the City to administer and supervise the City's HOME program, that her home had been approved for rehabilitation under the City's HOME program.
17. The City performed some rehabilitation work on Mrs. Baker's home, but refused to provide work and services that were authorized and performed for White persons.
18. Though Mrs. Baker's home was ranked second by the City in terms of need for rehabilitation services, Defendants recommended and authorized more extensive and more costly rehabilitation services for lower-ranked White participants in the City's HOME program.
19. Some repairs that Mrs. Baker was told could not be provided to her using HOME funds were provided to White participants in the City's 1998 HOME program, such as new vinyl siding, kitchen cabinets and countertops, new flooring in the kitchen, and new windows.
20. The rehabilitation services defendants recommended and authorized on Mrs. Baker's home did not bring the home into compliance with local housing codes, while Defendants provided rehabilitation services to White participants in the City's 1998 HOME program that brought their homes into compliance with local housing codes.
21. White participants in the HOME program were offered replacement housing if the cost of rehabilitation would have exceeded the cost of reconstruction or replacement, while
Mrs. Baker was not offered a replacement home until after she filed her complaint with HUD.
22. Defendants' actions discriminated against Mrs. Baker on the basis of her race by, among other ways, refusing to approve repairs to her home that were approved for White participants in the HOME program; providing her with rehabilitation services that did not bring her home into compliance with local housing codes, while providing services to Whites that did bring their homes into compliance with such codes; refusing to offer Mrs. Baker a replacement house until after she filed her HUD complaint while making such offers to White participants; and recommending and authorizing more extensive and more costly rehabilitation services for White participants in the HOME program than were recommended and authorized for Mrs. Baker.
23. By their actions referred to in the foregoing paragraphs, Defendants have discriminated based on race or color in the provision of financial assistance in administering the City's 1998 HOME program (a " residential real-estate transaction "), in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3605.
24. Mrs. Baker and her three sons, Dante, James, and Dominique, are " aggrieved persons" as defined in 42 U.S.C. § 3602(i), and suffered injuries as a result of Defendants' discriminatory conduct.
25. Defendants' actions described in the preceding paragraphs were intentional, willful, and taken in disregard for the fair housing rights of Mrs. Baker and her family.Prayer for Relief
WHEREFORE, the United States prays that this Court enter an ORDER that:
a. Declares that Defendants' discriminatory housing practices violate the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq.;
b. Enjoins Defendants, their agents, employees, and successors, and all other persons in active concert or participation with them from discriminating because of the race or color of any person in any aspect of the use or enjoyment of a dwelling pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3612(g)(3).
c. Awards such damages as will fully compensate Mrs. Baker and her family for all injury caused by Defendants's discriminatory actions, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 3612(o)(3) and 3613 (c); and
d. Awards punitive damages because of the intentional and willful nature of Defendants's conduct, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 3612(o)(3) and 3613(c).
The United States further prays for such additional relief as the interests of Justice may require.
Richard F. Clippard
United States Attorney
First Assistant United States Attorney
Middle District of Tennessee
110 Ninth Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203-3870
William R. Yeomans
Acting Assistant Attorney General
Civil Rights Division
Document Filed: June 29, 2001. > >