Housing And Civil Enforcement Cases Documents

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

FOR THE DISTRICT OF MINNESOTA

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,

           Plaintiff,

v.

ROBERT WONES; RL ONE, INC.
d/b/a S&R PROPERTY
MANAGEMENT;
HOWARD MELIN; WELTY
PROPERTIES, INC.; MELISSA
WONES d/b/a SHUMEL
MANAGEMENT,

          Defendants.

CASE NO. COMPLAINT
JURY TRIAL DEMANDED

_______________________________

The United States of America alleges:

1. This action is brought by the United States to enforce the provisions of Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (the Fair Housing Act), as amended by the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601, et seq.

2. This court has jurisdiction over this action under 28 U.S.C. § 1331, 28 U.S.C. § 1345 and 42 U.S.C. § 3614(a).

3. Venue is proper under 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b) because the actions giving rise to the United States' allegations occurred in the District of Minnesota, the subject properties are located in the District of Minnesota, and all of the defendants reside and/or do business in the District of Minnesota.

4. Defendant Robert Wones is a resident of Minnesota. During the period of time relevant to this action, Defendant Robert Wones has been the owner and/or manager of rental properties in the Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota, area, including but not limited to 7700 12th Ave. in Richfield; 231-239 26th Avenue, NE in Minneapolis; 6551 Channel Road in Fridley; and 5711 Quincy St. in Moundsview ("the subject properties"). Each of these properties contains four or more rental units.

5. The rental units at the subject properties are dwellings within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 3602(b).

6. Defendant RL One, Inc. d/b/a S&R Management is a Minnesota corporation. Its principal place of business is at 13055 Riverdale Drive NE, Coon Rapids, Minnesota.

7. During the period of time relevant to this action, Defendant RL One, Inc. d/b/a S&R Management provided property management services at the subject properties, and Defendant Robert Wones was an officer and employee of Defendant RL One, Inc. d/b/a S&R Management.

8. Defendant Melissa Wones d/b/a Shumel Management is an individual who resides in Minnesota operating under an assumed name registered in Minnesota. Its principal place of business is 13055 Riverdale Drive NE, Coon Rapids, Minnesota.

9. During the period of time relevant to this action, Defendant Melissa Wones d/b/a Shumel Management provided property management services at 5711 Quincy St., Moundsview, Minnesota, and Defendant Robert Wones was an employee and/or agent of Defendant Melissa Wones d/b/a Shumel Management.

10. Defendant Welty Properties Inc. is a Minnesota corporation. Its principal place of business is 6810 Valley View Rd., Edina, Minnesota.

11. During the period of time relevant to this action, Defendant Welty Properties Inc. was the owner of 7700 12th Ave. in Richfield, Minnesota, and Defendant Robert Wones was an employee and/or agent of Defendant Welty Properties Inc.

12. Defendant Howard Melin is an individual who is a resident of Minnesota.

13. During the period of time relevant to this action, Defendant Howard Melin was the owner of 231-239 26th Ave. NE in Minneapolis, and Defendant Robert Wones was an employee and/or agent of Defendant Howard Melin.

14. During the period of time relevant to this action, Defendant Robert Wones provided property management services at the subject properties.

15. Defendants have violated the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601, et seq., by discriminating against persons on the basis of sex in connection with the rental of the subject properties.

16. Defendant Robert Wones has engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination based on sex by subjecting female tenants of the subject properties to discrimination on the basis of sex, including severe, pervasive, and unwelcome sexual harassment. Such conduct has included, but is not limited to, unwanted verbal sexual advances; unwanted sexual touching; conditioning the terms and conditions of women's tenancy on the granting of sexual favors; entering the apartments of female tenants without permission or notice; and taking adverse action against female tenants when they refused or objected to his sexual advances.

17. Defendants RL One, Inc. d/b/a S&R Management, Melissa Wones d/b/a Shumel Management, Welty Properties Inc., and Howard Melin are liable for the above-described discriminatory conduct of its agent and principal, Defendant Robert Wones, which conduct occurred within the scope of his employment and/or agency.

18. The conduct of Defendants described above constitutes:

  1. A denial of housing or making housing unavailable because of sex, in violation of Section 804(a) of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3604(a);
  2. Discrimination in the terms, conditions, or privileges of the rental of dwellings, or in the provision of services or facilities in connection therewith, because of sex, in violation of Section 804(b) of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3604(b);
  3. The making of statements with respect to the rental of dwellings that indicate a preference, limitation, or discrimination based on sex, in violation of Section 804(c) of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3604(c); and
  4. Coercion, intimidation, threats, or interference with persons in the exercise or enjoyment of, or on account of their having exercised or enjoyed, their rights under Section 804 of the Fair Housing Act, in violation of Section 818 of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3617.

19. The conduct of Defendants described above constitutes:

  1. A pattern or practice of resistance to the full enjoyment of rights granted by the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq.; and
  2. A denial to a group of persons of rights granted by the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq., which denial raises an issue of general public importance.

20. Female tenants, prospective tenants, and persons associated with them have been injured by Defendants' discriminatory conduct. Such persons are aggrieved persons as defined in 42 U.S.C. § 3602(i), and have suffered damages as a result of Defendants' conduct.

21. Defendants' conduct was intentional, willful, and taken in disregard for the rights of others.

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

1. Declares that Defendants' discriminatory practices violate the Fair Housing Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601 et seq.;

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

  1. Discriminating on account of sex against any person in any aspect of the rental of a dwelling;
  2. Interfering with or threatening to take any action against any person in the exercise or enjoyment of rights granted or protected by the Fair Housing Act, as amended; and
  3. Failing or refusing to take such affirmative steps as may be necessary to restore, as nearly as practicable, the victims of Defendants' past unlawful practices to the position they would have been in but for the discriminatory conduct;

3. Awards monetary damages to each identifiable victim of Defendants' discriminatory housing practices for injuries caused by Defendants' discriminatory conduct, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3614(d)(1)(B); and

4. Assesses civil penalties against Defendants in order to vindicate the public interest, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3614(d)(1)(C).

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


JOHN ASHCROFT
Attorney General




_________________________
R. ALEXANDER ACOSTA
Assistant Attorney General
Civil Rights Division



THOMAS B. HEFFELFINGER
United States Attorney




PERRY SEKUS
Assistant United States Attorney
300 South 4th St.
600 US Courthouse
Minneapolis, MN 55415
Tel.: (612) 664-5600
Fax:(612) 664-5787
_________________________
STEVEN H. ROSENBAUM
Chief
Housing and Civil Enforcement
Section _________________________
TIMOTHY J. MORAN
Deputy Chief
JUSTIN DILLON (VA Bar #48233)
CHARLA D. JACKSON
Trial Attorneys
Housing and Civil Enforcement Section
Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. (NWB)
Washington, D.C. 20530
Tel.: (202) 305-3102
Fax: (202) 514-1116



Document Filed: December 16, 2004 > >
Updated August 6, 2015

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