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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Ohio

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Justice Department settles sexual harassment lawsuit against Cincinnati landlord

CINCINNATI – U.S. Attorney David M. DeVillers announced today that landlord John Klosterman and his wife, Susan Klosterman, will pay $177,500 total to resolve a Fair Housing Act lawsuit alleging that John Klosterman sexually harassed female tenants since at least 2013 at the 55 residential properties the couple owned in Sedamsville.

“In this settlement, Klosterman acknowledges that the United States has evidence he sexually harassed tenants on multiple occasions,” said U.S. Attorney David M. DeVillers. “He’s being held accountable under the Fair Housing Act and will pay more than $167,000 to victims of his heinous conduct.”

The defendants acknowledged in the settlement that, if this case had gone to trial, the United States was prepared to introduce the following evidence:

  • sworn deposition testimony from John Klosterman acknowledging that, on multiple occasions, he engaged in inappropriate sexual communications with his female tenants and prospective tenants, made comments about the physical appearances of his female tenants and prospective tenants, sent pictures of a naked male statue to his female tenants, and offered to send to his female tenants, and requested that his female tenants send to him, sexual photographs;
  • sworn deposition testimony from John Klosterman admitting that he offered to pay an “allowance” to a female tenant in exchange for engaging in a sexual relationship with him; and
  • text messages and recordings of phone calls in which John Klosterman made sexual comments to female tenants and prospective female tenants.


According to the complaint filed in 2018, Klosterman engaged in unwanted sexual touching, offered to reduce rent and overlook or excuse late or unpaid rent in exchange for sex. He evicted or threatened to evict female tenants who objected to or refused sexual advances. Klosterman also entered the homes of female tenants without their consent and otherwise monitored their daily activities with cameras directed at their units. 


Under the settlement, which still must be approved by the court, the Klostermans will pay $167,125 in damages to former tenants who were harmed by John Klosterman’s harassment, $7,875 to another plaintiff in the lawsuit, and a $2,500 civil penalty to the United States. The consent order also bars the defendants from participating in the rental or management of residential properties in the future.


The United States’ lawsuit was pursued jointly with the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. The Civil Rights Division enforces the Fair Housing Act, which 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


Individuals can report sexual harassment or other forms of housing discrimination by calling the Justice Department’s Housing Discrimination Tip Line at 1-800-896-7743, e-mailing the Justice Department at, or submitting a report online.


David M. DeVillers, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, and Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband for the Civil Rights Division announced the settlement agreement filed in federal court today. Deputy Civil Chief Matthew Horwitz is representing the United States in this case.



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Civil Rights
Updated September 30, 2020