Housing And Civil Enforcement Cases Documents

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE CENTRAL DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
URBANA DIVISION

____________________________________





UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,

           Plaintiff,

v.

LAVERNE BOETTCHER and BARBARA A.
BOETTCHER TESTAMENTARY FAMILY
TRUST,

           Defendants.

No. 05-2175

Judge Michael P. McCuskey

Magistrate David G. Bernthal

____________________________________

EARLIE ANDREW, JENNIFER ANDREW,
and SOUTH SUBURBAN HOUSING CENTER,

           Intervening Plaintiffs,

v.

LAVERNE BOETTCHER and BARBARA A.
BOETTCHER TESTAMENTARY FAMILY
TRUST,

            Defendants.

CONSENT ORDER

The United States instituted this action against Defendants Laverne Boettcher and Barbara A. Boettcher Testamentary Family Trust on behalf of Earlie Andrew and the South Suburban Housing Center on August 10, 2005 pursuant to Section 812(o) of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3612(o). Earlie Andrew and Jennifer Andrew and the South Suburban Housing Center (SSHC) were granted leave to intervene as Party Plaintiffs on September 15, 2005. The above parties will hereafter collectively be referred to as Plaintiffs.

This action was brought pursuant to the Fair Housing Act of 1968, as amended by the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601, et seq. ("the Act"). The complaints alleged that the defendants engaged in discrimination at their four-unit apartment building located at 860 Stratford Drive East, Bourbonnais, IL 60914 (the "Building") against persons on the basis of their familial status, in violation of the Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3604(a) and (c), in the rental of dwellings owned and/or managed by them.

The defendants have filed answers to Plaintiffs' complaints and deny that they have violated the Fair Housing Act. However, if this case were to proceed to trial, the defendants recognize that the Plaintiffs would offer evidence that would support a finding by the Court that the defendants, individually and through their agents, have engaged in discrimination on the basis of familial status, in violation of the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 3604(a) and (c).

The parties desire to avoid the cost and uncertainty of protracted litigation and agree that this dispute should be resolved without the necessity of an evidentiary hearing. Therefore, the parties have waived a hearing and the entry of findings of fact and conclusions of law and have agreed to the entry of this Consent Order, as indicated by the signatures appearing below.

Therefore, it is hereby ORDERED, ADJUDGED and DECREED:



I.    INJUNCTIVE RELIEF

1. Defendants, their agents, employees, successors, and all persons in active concert or participation with them are enjoined, with respect to the rental of dwellings, from:

  1. Refusing to rent after the making of a bona fide offer, or otherwise making unavailable or denying a dwelling to any person because of familial status, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3604(a);
  2. Making, printing, or publishing, or causing to be made, printed, or published any notice, statement, or advertisement with respect to the rental of a dwelling that indicates any 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); and
  3. Coercing, intimidating, threatening, or interfering with any person, including the Intervening Plaintiffs, as well as anyone who participated in HUD's investigation of the administrative complaint that gave rise to this action, in the exercise or enjoyment of, or on account of his or her having exercised or enjoyed, or on account of his or her having aided or encouraged any other person in the exercise or enjoyment of any right granted or protected by Sections 803, 804, 805, or 806 of the Fair Housing Act, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 3617.

2. This Consent Order shall terminate with respect to the Building in the event that the building is sold for value to a bona fide purchaser unaffiliated in any way with any of the defendants, provided that at least thirty (30) days before any such sale is closed, the defendants notify counsel for the United States and SSHC in writing of the transfer and provide sworn certification that (1) no individual defendant nor any owner, partner, officer, or shareholder of defendants, or any member of their family will maintain any managerial, ownership, or other interest in that apartment complex; and (2) the sale is an arm's length transaction for value to a bona fide purchaser unaffiliated in any way with any of the defendants.

II.    STANDARDS FOR ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS

3. The defendants shall adopt and shall implement within a reasonable time, not to exceed 90 days after the date of entry of this Order, objective, uniform, non-discriminatory standards and procedures for the processing of applications and the approval of applicants for the rental of available dwelling units at the Building. These standards shall be made available upon request to any applicant for a rental unit.

4. The defendants shall, with respect to dwellings at the Building:
  1. Maintain an accurate list of all dwellings known or expected to be available for rental including for each unit the apartment number, number of bedrooms, monthly rent, and deposit requirements;
  2. Inform prospective applicants who inquire about renting at the Building of all available units of the type requested; and
  3. Permit all prospective applicants the opportunity to complete a written rental application, which shall be maintained for the duration of this Order.

III.     MANDATORY EDUCATION AND TRAINING

5. Within sixty (60) days from entry of this Order, defendants shall attend a program of educational training focusing on the familial status provisions of federal, state, and local fair housing laws, regulations, and ordinances. Defendants shall provide to the United States, within thirty (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 the attendance of the trainee(s).

6. For the duration of this Order, in the event Defendants employ agents at the Building to assist in the rental of apartment units, said agent(s) shall be given a copy of and be required to read this Consent Order and sign a statement acknowledging same within ten (10) days after the date he or she commences an employment or agency relationship with any of the defendants. Upon reasonable request of the SSHC or the United States, the defendants shall deliver to SSHC and the United States copies of all documents required to be maintained by this paragraph.

IV.     NOTIFICATION TO PUBLIC OF NONDISCRIMINATION POLICIES

7. Within ten (10) days after the date of entry of this Consent Order, the defendants shall take the following steps to notify the public of their nondiscriminatory policies:

  1. Pursuant to 24 C.F.R. Part 110, post and prominently display in any office where there is rental activity and/or personal contact with applicants for units in defendants' Illinois complexes, a Fair Housing Poster.
  2. Include the words "Equal Housing Opportunity" or the fair housing logo in all advertising conducted by defendants at the Building in newspapers, telephone directories, radio, television or other media, and on all billboards, signs, pamphlets, brochures and other promotional literature. The words or logo should be prominently placed and easily legible.

V.    RECORD KEEPING AND MONITORING

8. With respect to the rental of dwellings at the Apartments, the defendants shall:

  1. Maintain an Availability List which includes the address or unit number of each dwelling known to be available for rental, the number of bedrooms in each such unit, the monthly rent for each such unit, the required deposit amount to move into the unit, the date the defendants were first informed it would be available for rental, and the first date it would be available for rental or occupancy by a new tenant.
  2. Maintain a Tenant Inquiry Log of all people who inquire in person about the availability of rental units, stating the date of inquiry, and their name, current address, telephone number and number of children in their household. If the person rents a unit, the unit number and date of occupancy for that person shall be noted on the Tenant Inquiry Log. If the person applies, but is not accepted, for residency or rejects an offer of residency, that too shall be noted on the Tenant Inquiry Log together with the reason for the rejection. The defendants or their representatives shall make a good faith effort to obtain the information referred to in this Paragraph with respect to each prospective applicant.

9. During the term of this Order, the defendants shall preserve all records which are the source of, contain, or relate to any of the information pertinent to their obligations under this Order, including all rental applications and leases for dwellings at all of defendants' complexes.

10. During the term of this Order, the defendants shall give counsel for the United States and SSHC written notice within fifteen (15) days of receipt of any written or oral complaint against the defendants, or against any of their employees or agents, regarding discrimination on the basis of familial status or conduct prohibited by 42 U.S.C. § 3617, and a description of the resolution of any such complaint within 15 days of resolution. If the complaint is written, the defendants shall provide a copy of it with the notice; if the complaint is oral, they 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 defendants shall also promptly provide the United States and SSHC with all information they may request concerning any such complaint and its actual or attempted resolution.

VI.     COMPENSATION

11. Upon entry of this Order, defendants shall pay to the Intervening Plaintiffs and their counsel, the total sum of twenty-four thousand dollars and no cents ($24,000.00) in a single check made payable to "Kinoy, Taren & Geraghty P.C on behalf of Earlie and Jennifer Andrew and the South Suburban Housing Center" in full and final settlement of all claims for damages and attorneys' fees on behalf of the Andrews and the SSHC and in full and final settlement of all claims. The damages will be allocated as follows: $8,000.00 to Earlie and Jennifer Andrew, $8,000.00 to the South Suburban Housing Center and $8,000.00 to Kinoy, Taren & Geraghty P.C. for attorneys' fees and costs.

VII.     PROVISIONS RELATING TO PLAINTIFF-INTERVENORS AND DEFENDANTS

The following provisions are applicable only to the Intervening Plaintiffs and the Defendants.

12. Defendants, their agents, employees, successors, and all persons in active concert or participation with them are permanently enjoined, with respect to the rental of dwellings, from:

  1. Refusing to rent a dwelling unit, refusing to negotiate for the rental of a dwelling unit, refusing or failing to provide or offer information about a dwelling unit, or otherwise making unavailable or denying a dwelling unit to any person because of race, color or familial status;
  2. Discriminating against any person in the terms, conditions or privileges of rental of a dwelling unit, or in the provision of services or facilities in connection therewith, because of race, color or familial status;
  3. Making, printing, publishing, or causing to be made, printed, or published any notice, statement, or advertisement with respect to the rental of a dwelling unit that states any preference, limitation, or discrimination based on race, color or familial status or an intention to make such a preference, limitation, or discrimination;
  4. Representing to any person because of race, color or familial status; that any dwelling unit is not available for inspection or rental when such dwelling unit is, in fact, so available;
  5. Directing, suggesting, or showing a dwelling unit to a person -- or failing to do so -- because of the race, color or familial status of that person or of persons already living at the location of a particular dwelling unit;
  6. Engaging in any other discriminatory housing practice prohibited by 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601, et seq.

13. Within sixty (60) days from entry of this Order, defendants and any of their agents in Illinois with responsibility for the rental of dwellings at any of the defendants' Apartments shall attend a four-hour program of educational training concerning their responsibilities under federal, state, and local fair housing laws, regulations, or ordinances. The program shall be conducted by South Suburban Housing Center. All persons attending this program shall have their attendance certified in writing by the person conducting the educational program.

14. For the duration of this Order, each new employee of defendants working at the Building and having any rental management responsibility shall attend the next regularly scheduled educational training program identified by SSHC unless they certify in writing that they have received comparable training within 30 days of the commencement of their employment with defendants.

15. Within ten (10) days after the date of entry of this Consent Order, the defendants shall include the following phrase in the standard rental application and lease used for the Building in bold print equal in size to the text of the document:

We are an equal housing opportunity provider. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, handicap or familial status (having children under age 18).

16. The Tenant Inquiry Log, referenced in paragraph 8(b) above, shall include, based on the good faith belief and observation of the defendants or their representatives, the person's race. The defendants or their representatives shall make a good faith effort to obtain the information referred to in this Paragraph with respect to each prospective applicant.

17. During the term of this Order, the defendants shall advise SSHC in writing within fifteen (15) days of receipt of any written or oral complaint against the defendants, or against any of their employees or agents, regarding equal opportunity in housing. They shall also promptly consult with SSHC concerning any such complaint and its actual or attempted resolution.

18. The defendants shall give SSHC immediate notice about the availability of an upcoming vacancy so that it may refer potential applicants.

19. In its sole discretion, SSHC may refer persons seeking housing to defendants' Building. It shall be the sole decision of the defendants whether or not to accept an applicant as a tenant utilizing the objective, nondiscriminatory standards required herein. The defendants may also refer prospective applicants to SSHC for information about this program.

20. In the event this Order is violated by the defendants in any respect, the duration of the Order shall be extended, upon application to the Court, for a period not less than one additional year.

21. By consenting to the entry of this Order, the Intervening Plaintiffs and the defendants agree that in the event it is determined in any future action or proceeding brought by the United States or any agency that any of the defendants engaged in any violation(s) of the Fair Housing Act, such violation(s) shall constitute a "subsequent violation" by the defendant pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §3614(d)(1)(C)(ii).

VIII.     DURATION OF CONSENT ORDER

22. 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. The United States and the Intervening Plaintiffs, whether jointly or individually, may move the Court to extend the duration of the Order if they determine that the defendants have violated one or more terms of the Order or if the interests of justice otherwise require.

IX.     CONSULTATION AND REMEDIES FOR NONPERFORMANCE

23. 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 a defendant, whether willful or otherwise, to perform in a timely manner any act required by this Consent Order or otherwise to act in violation of any provision thereof, the United States or the Intervening Plaintiffs may move this Court to impose any remedy authorized by law or equity, including, but not limited to, an order requiring performance of such act or deeming such act to have been performed, and an award of any damages, costs, and attorneys' fees which may have been occasioned by the defendants' violation or failure to perform.

X.     COUNTERPARTS

24. This Decree may be signed by the Parties in counterparts.

XI.     SETTLEMENT AND RELEASE OF CLAIMS

25. By entry into this Consent Order, the Parties further agree as follows:

  1. This Order resolves all claims asserted by the Intervening Plaintiffs in their complaints arising out of any act or occurrence prior to the entry of the Order relating to the rental and/or fair housing practices of the defendants at the Building.
  2. The Intervening Plaintiffs covenant that they will not sue defendants or take any judicial or administrative enforcement actions against defendants based upon any of defendants' rental practices which may have occurred prior to the date this Decree is entered.
  3. The Court shall retain jurisdiction over this action and over the defendants for two years from the date of entry of this Consent Order to enforce the terms of the Order, after which time the case shall be dismissed with prejudice.

    ORDERED this ____day of December 2005.


    ____________________________________
    UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE



    The undersigned apply for and consent to the entry of this Order:



    Defendants:

    BARBARA A. BOETTCHER
    TESTAMENTARY FAMILY TRUST



    s/ Laverne Boettcher
    By: ___________________________________
    LAVERNE BOETTCHER

    s/ Laverne Boettcher

    _______________________________________
    LAVERNE BOETTCHER, Individually





    s/ Marc J. Ansel

    _______________________________________
    Marc J. Ansel, ARDC #0058513 IL
    Attorney for Defendants
    LAW OFFICE OF ANSEL & SMALL, LTD.
    41 East University Avenue, Suite 3A
    Post Office Box 468
    Champaign, IL 61824-0458
    Phone: 217.359.0200
    Fax: 217.359.0888
    E-mail: mjalaw@shout.net
    Plaintiffs

    For the UNITED STATES:




    s/ James A. Lewis
    _______________________________________
    Jim Lewis
    Assistant United States Attorney
    318 S. Sixth St.
    Springfield, IL 62701
    Tel: (217)-492-4450
    Fax: (217)-492-4888
    Jim.lewis2@usdoj.gov



    FOR INTERVENING PLAINTIFFS





    /s Jeffrey L. Taren________
    Kinoy, Taren & Geraghty P.C.
    224 S. Michigan Ave.
    Suite 300
    Chicago, IL 60604
    (312) 663-5210
    Fax: (312) 663-6663
    e-mail: ktgtaren@aol.com
    Ill. Reg. No. 2796821


    Document Entered: December 14, 2005 > >
Updated August 6, 2015

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