Sunday, September 13, 2015

Use of Fair Housing Testers Key To Justice Dept. Probe Yielding $75K Settlement From Illinois Mobile Home Park Landlord, Resolving Allegations That It Discriminated Against Blacks, Families w/ Kids

From the U.S. Department of Justice (Washington, D.C.):
  • The Justice Department announced [] that the owners and operators of the Williams Trailer Court mobile home park in Marion, Illinois, had agreed to pay $75,000 to settle allegations that they discriminated against African Americans and families with children, in violation of the federal Fair Housing Act. The settlement was approved [] by the U. S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois.

    The settlement agreement resolves a lawsuit alleging that the owners and operators of the park, located at 200 East Patrick Street in Marion, Illinois, violated the Fair Housing Act by refusing to rent mobile homes to African Americans and families with children. The lawsuit is based on the results of testing conducted by the department’s fair housing testing program. Testing is a simulation of a housing transaction that compares responses given by housing providers to different types of home-seekers to determine whether illegal discrimination is occurring.

    The testing conducted by the department revealed that the manager and part owner of the park, Lyle Williams, falsely told African Americans inquiring about renting mobile homes that no homes were available, while telling white home-seekers that such mobile homes were available. The testing also revealed that Williams unlawfully discouraged families with children from living there. In addition to Lyle Williams, the lawsuit also names as defendants the park’s other two owners, Kyle Williams and David Williams.

    ***

    Under the terms of the settlement, defendants will establish a settlement fund in the amount of $45,000 to compensate victims of the discriminatory practices. Defendants also will pay $30,000 in civil penalties to the United States. In addition, the agreement requires defendants to implement a nondiscrimination policy, establish new nondiscriminatory application and rental procedures, and undergo training on the Fair Housing Act. Persons who believe they may have been discriminated against at Williams Trailer Court should contact the department at 1-800-896-7743, extension 3, or by email at fairhousing@usdoj.govEmail links icon.

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