Sunday, June 26, 2016

Civil Rights Feds $queeze Developer, Architect For $160K To Resolve Allegations That Pair Violated Fair Housing Act By Designing, Building Two Neighboring Condo Complexes With Variety Of Features That Made Them Inaccessible To Persons With Disabilities

From the U.S. Department of Justice (Washington, D.C.):
  • The Justice Department announced [] that Dean Windham and Milton Studer, a real estate developer and an architect in Ohio, as well as several companies that they owned and controlled, have agreed to pay a total of $160,000 to resolve allegations that they violated the Fair Housing Act by designing and constructing two neighboring condominium complexes in Hartville, Ohio, with a variety of features that made them inaccessible to persons with disabilities.

    Under the terms of the agreement, which must still be approved by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, the defendants will pay $100,000 to current condominium owners at Windham Bridge Condominiums and Hampton Court Condominiums who choose to make accessibility modifications to their units.

    These modifications include:
  • eliminating steps and excessive slopes in the walkways to the front entrances of their units;
  • widening doorways;
  • removing or lowering thresholds;
  • installing removable cabinets in kitchens and bathrooms to increase maneuvering space for wheelchair use and relocating toilets, showers and sinks to provide access to a wheelchair user.
  • [U]nder the agreement, the defendants will also pay $10,000 to the Tri-County Center for Independent Living and $10,000 to the Fair Housing Advocates Association, two fair housing community organizations that expended resources in connection with this matter, as well as a $40,000 civil penalty to vindicate the public interest.

    The lawsuit arose out of complaints that Tri-County Center for Independent Living and the Fair Housing Advocates Association originally filed with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). After investigating the complaints, HUD determined that the defendants had violated the Fair Housing Act and referred the matter to the Justice Department.

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