Justice Department Files Statement of Interest in Religious Land Use Case Involving Oregon Church That Feeds People Who are Homeless or Hungry
The Justice Department today announced a settlement of its lawsuit against the owners, developers, architect and civil engineers of Park Place Apartments, a 276-unit complex in Louisville, Ky., resolving allegations that those involved in the design and construction of the complex discriminated against people with disabilities. Under the settlement, which must still be approved by a federal district judge in Louisville, the defendants will pay all costs related to making the apartment complex accessible to persons with disabilities and pay $275,000 to compensate 29 individuals who have been harmed by the inaccessible housing.
“The Fair Housing Act requires equal access to housing for persons with disabilities,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, “and this comprehensive resolution will ensure equal access at this apartment complex and compensate those injured by the defendants’ failure to provide accessible housing.”
“Our office is committed to ensuring that all Kentucky residents have equal access to housing,” stated David J. Hale, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky. “We will continue to build on our record of enforcing fair housing laws and remove these barriers that are discriminatory to Kentuckians with disabilities.”
The defendants responsible for the payments and retrofits are Kevin Cogan, Doris Cogan, Edwynn Burkle, George Clark, the Estate of James A. Hall, A. Bayus Inc., Mindel Scott & Associates Inc. +and A. Stanley Willett. The retrofitting includes modifying walkways, removing steps, providing accessible curb ramps and providing accessible walks to site amenities, such as the clubhouse, pool, mailbox and trash facilities. It also requires the defendants to reconfigure thermostats and outlets to accessible heights, increase door widths and reconfigure bathrooms and kitchens.
The lawsuit arose from a complaint that was filed with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) by a former resident of Park Place Apartments, who is represented by the Lexington Fair Housing Council, a Kentucky-based non-profit organization that enforces federal, state and local fair housing laws. HUD referred the matter to the Justice Department, which conducted its own investigation and subsequently filed the lawsuit in August 2010.
The federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability and familial status. More information about the Civil Rights Division and the laws it enforces is available at www.justice.gov/crt . Individuals who believe that they may have been victims of housing discrimination can call the Housing Discrimination Tip Line at 1-800-896-7743, email the Justice Department at email@example.com , or contact HUD at 1-800-669-9777.