Saturday, July 25, 2015

Civil Rights Feds, Fair Housing Testers 'Sting' Illinois Mobile Home Park Operator Out Of $250K+ In Settlement Of Suit Accusing Landlord Of Discrimination Against Blacks, Families w/ Kids

From the U.S. Department of Justice (Washington, D.C.):
  • The Justice Department [] announced an agreement with the owners and operators of Four Seasons Estates Mobile Home Park in Effingham, Illinois, to settle allegations of race and familial status discrimination. Under the consent order, which must still be approved by the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Illinois, the defendants must pay $217,500 to victims of discrimination, who intervened in the lawsuit, to account for the harm they suffered and their attorneys’ fees, and an additional $34,000 to the government as a civil penalty.

    The lawsuit alleged that the mobile home park’s manager, Barbara Crubaugh, refused to let an African-American individual be added as a resident at the park when he moved in with his white girlfriend and her uncle. The lawsuit also alleged that while the African-American individual was staying at the mobile home park, he was subjected to harassment by the manager’s son, David Crubaugh. The family moved out after the park threatened them with eviction if the African-American individual did not move out. They contacted HOPE Fair Housing Center, an organization in Illinois that advocates for equal opportunity in housing, who in turn contacted the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Justice Department. HUD referred the complaints to the Justice Department for further investigation as a potential pattern or practice of discrimination.

    The lawsuit also alleged discrimination on the basis of race based on fair housing testing conducted by the Department of Justice’s Fair Housing Testing Program. The testing revealed that Barbara Crubaugh treated prospective residents differently based on their race by, for example, requiring African-American testers to fill out applications while not requiring white testers to do so, asking African-American testers if they had felonies but not asking the same of white testers, informing African-American testers that she would have to inspect their mobile home while not so informing white testers and quoting higher move-in costs to African-American testers.

    Until this lawsuit was filed, there had been no African-American residents at the mobile home park since at least 2007, when Barbara Crubaugh became manager.

    Additionally, the lawsuit alleged, and the defendants admitted, that they discriminated on the basis of familial status (having children under the age of 18) by prohibiting families with children from living on one of the four rows of lots at the mobile home park.

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