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Press Release

United States files motion claiming landlord is violating lawsuit consent decree by continuing to rent properties & harass female tenants

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Ohio

CINCINNATI – The United States Attorney’s Office filed a motion today requesting a federal judge to find local landlord John Klosterman in civil contempt of court for failing to meet the requirements of a negotiated federal consent decree.

 

The United States sued Klosterman in 2018, alleging Klosterman sexually harassed female tenants since at least 2013 at the 55 residential properties he and his wife Susan Klosterman owned in Sedamsville.

 

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. 

 

In 2020, the Justice Department settled the lawsuit with Klosterman, who agreed to various terms in a consent decree. Today’s filing states Klosterman has violated these terms:

  • Accurately represent and update the extent of their rental property holdings;
  • Cease personally interacting with tenants or otherwise participating in rental management;
  • Secure an independent property manager for any properties owned outside of a receivership created as a result of a lawsuit filed by the City of Cincinnati;
  • Complete fair housing training and ensure compliance with a sexual harassment policy; and
  • Pay monetary damages.

 

The United States argues Klosterman has failed to fully comply with the provisions of the federal court’s consent decree. For example, according to today’s motion, Klosterman continues to personally manage five rental properties, failed to secure an independent property manager, and has been accused of further improper conduct regarding female tenants.

 

In September and November 2020, Klosterman was charged criminally by the state of Ohio with Menacing by Stalking a female tenant victim.

 

“Klosterman’s repeated and ongoing refusal to comply with the consent decree justifies a finding of civil contempt in this case,” said U.S. Attorney Vipal J. Patel. “We seek to hold Klosterman accountable for his severe and pervasive sexual harassment.”

 

The court may remedy civil contempt by issuing fines or other relief intended to secure compliance with the federal court’s orders.

 

The United States’ motion asks the court to fine Klosterman $100 per day and $500 per incident until he meets various provisions of the consent decree. The United States is also asking the court to extend the duration of the decree by nine months, until July 2026.

 

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 http://www.justice.gov/crt.

 

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, emailing the Justice Department at fairhousing@usdoj.gov, or submitting a report online.

 

Vipal J. Patel, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, announced the motion filed in federal court today. Civil Chief Matthew J. Horwitz is representing the United States in this case.

 

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Updated July 27, 2021

Topic
Civil Rights