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Monday, May 18, 2015

Justice Department Charges Owner of Indiana Mobile Home Park with Discrimination Against Families with Children

The Justice Department today filed a lawsuit against the corporate owner and agent of the Gentle Manor Estates, a 173-lot mobile home park located in Crown Point, Indiana, for discriminating against families with children in violation of the Fair Housing Act.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, alleges that Gentle Manor Estates, LLC and John Townsend, the corporate owner and agent, respectively, of the Gentle Manor Estates, violated the Fair Housing Act by maintaining and enforcing a discriminatory policy of refusing to allow families with children to live at the mobile home park.  The allegations are based on evidence generated by the department’s Fair Housing Testing Program, in which individuals pose as renters to gather information about possible discriminatory practices.

“For over 25 years, the Fair Housing Act has prohibited housing providers from discriminating against families with children,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.  “The Justice Department will continue its vigorous enforcement of the Fair Housing Act to ensure that families with children have equal access to housing opportunities.”

The lawsuit seeks an order prohibiting the defendants from engaging in future unlawful discrimination.  It also seeks the payment of a civil penalty and monetary damages for the individuals who were refused the opportunity to rent at Gentle Manor Estates because of familial status.

Individuals who may have information related to this lawsuit should contact the Justice Department toll-free at 1-800-896-7743, mailbox 9994, or e-mail the Justice Department at fairhousing@usdoj.gov.  The federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin and disability.  More information about the Civil Rights Division and the laws it enforces is available at www.usdoj.gov/crt.

The complaint is an allegation of unlawful conduct.  The allegations must still be proven in federal court.

Updated August 5, 2015