United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland and Justice Department Civil Rights Division Secure Agreement in Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Against Baltimore County Fire Department
Baltimore, Maryland – United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron and Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division announced today that Maryland-based developer Humphrey Stavrou Associates, Inc. and related entities have agreed to pay $475,000 to settle claims that they violated the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by failing to build six multi-family housing complexes in Maryland with required accessible features for people with disabilities. As part of the settlement, the defendants also agreed to make extensive retrofits to remove accessibility barriers at the three properties Humphrey Stavrou Associates, Inc. still owns and the three properties Humphrey Stavrou Associates, Inc. sold to third parties.
The Justice Department previously resolved part of its lawsuit, which was filed in September 2022, with Maryland-based developer Stavrou Associates, Inc. and related entities, which agreed to pay $185,000 to settle claims that they failed to build 11 multi-family housing complexes in Maryland with required accessible features. Stavrou Associates, Inc. also agreed to make extensive retrofits to remove accessibility barriers at the complexes. The U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland entered the parties’ settlement, in the form of a consent order, on November 22, 2022.
“Developers who fail to abide by the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act will be held accountable,” said U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron. “These settlements will help ensure people with disabilities have fair and equal access to their homes by making these housing complexes more accessible.”
“When the retrofits required by these settlements are completed, people with disabilities will have equal access to 1,300 more residential units in Maryland,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department remains committed to ensuring that apartment complexes are accessible to people with disabilities.”
Humphrey Stavrou Associates, Inc. will deposit a sum of $410,000 in an interest-bearing escrow account to be used to retrofit the three properties it has sold since construction, which are now owned by other entities.
The combined 17 properties at issue in the case were built with financial assistance from the federal government’s Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program and the HOME Investment Partnerships Program, and some of the properties are specifically marketed as housing for seniors.
The settlement with Humphrey Stavrou Associates, Inc., which must still be approved by the Court, also requires the defendants to pay $60,000 into a settlement fund to compensate individuals who were harmed by the inaccessible conditions and $5,000 to the government in civil penalties to vindicate the public interest.
Under the settlement, the defendants will, among other things, replace steeply-sloped walkways, widen doorways, and modify bathrooms so they are accessible for individuals who use wheelchairs. The settlement also requires the defendants to receive training about the FHA and the ADA, to ensure that their future multi-family housing construction complies with these laws and to provide periodic reports to the Justice Department. The six complexes are:
The 11 complexes built by Stavrou Associates, Inc. that are the subject of the previously entered Consent Decree are:
Individuals who believe they or someone they know may have had difficulties because of the inaccessible conditions at any of these properties should send an e-mail to the Justice Department at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a message at 1-833-591-0291, selecting option 1 for English, selecting option 4 for housing accessibility for persons with disabilities, and selecting option 4 for Stavrou Associates Inc.
The United States Attorney’s Office together with the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division enforce the FHA, which prohibits discrimination in housing based on disability, race, color, religion, national origin, sex and familial status. This law requires that most multifamily housing buildings with four or more units constructed after March 13, 1991, have basic accessible features. Enacted in 1990, the ADA requires that places of public accommodation, such as rental offices at multifamily housing complexes constructed after Jan. 26, 1993, be accessible to persons with disabilities.
U.S. Attorney Erek L. Barron and Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Kimberly S. Phillips of the District of Maryland and Trial Attorneys Beth Pepper and Jennifer McAllister of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, who are handling these cases.
For more information on the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office, its priorities, and resources available to help the community, please visit www.justice.gov/usao-Maryland and https://www.justice.gov/usao-Maryland/civil-rights.
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