|HUD No. 00-100|
|Further Information:||For Release|
|In the Washington, DC area: 202/708-0685||Thursday|
|Or contact your local HUD office||May 11, 2000|
CUOMO ANNOUNCES SETTLEMENT WITH CHAPLAIN TO THE KU KLUX KLAN ACCUSED OF HOUSING DISCRIMINATION
Read the enforcement agreement (PDF File)
WASHINGTON - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today announced that a self-described Chaplain to the Ku Klux Klan has settled a housing discrimination complaint by agreeing to pay part of his income and to publicly apologize to a woman and her daughter who felt terrorized by his actions, and by agreeing to perform 1,000 hours of community service.
The agreement settles a housing discrimination complaint against Roy Frankhouser and his group - United Klans of America - accusing them of violating the Fair Housing Act by harassing and intimidating Bonnie Jouhari and her now 18-year-old daughter, Pilar Danielle Horton. Jouhari - who helped people file housing discrimination complaints with a HUD-funded group in Reading, PA - quit her job and fled to Seattle with her daughter because she feared Frankhouser was a threat to her family.
Other portions of the settlement require Frankhouser to display a HUD Fair Housing poster on the outside of his house; broadcast HUD fair housing public service announcements as part of his "White Forum" public access television show; and attend sensitivity training approved by HUD.
In her complaint, Jouhari said that in 1998 a flyer was placed on her car that said "Race Traitor Beware" and pictured a Klansman with a noose. Jouhari said that at about the same time, Frankhouser began sitting on a bench outside her office on a regular basis and taking photographs of her, making her feel intimidated and harassed. Jouhari also said she began receiving threatening phone calls at home and at work. The alleged intimidation continued even after she and her daughter fled the state, Jouhari said.
Cuomo was joined in announcing settlement of the case by Jouhari and her daughter; Rev. Jesse Jackson; Martin Luther King III, President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference; and Kweisi Mfume, President of the NAACP.
"This settlement sends an important message," Cuomo said. "HUD has zero tolerance for interference with courageous people who work selflessly to abolish housing discrimination. These people are heroes, and we will protect them from efforts to halt their courageous efforts."
Jackson said: "Secretary Cuomo is to be congratulated for enforcing the law and affording an environment of domestic tranquillity. In time, we must overcome attitudes of hatred, but we must immediately enforce the law to stop of acts of violence and threats."
In addition, Mfume said: "I commend Ms. Jouhari and Secretary Cuomo for taking up the fight for fair housing and against discrimination. We must stand together against intimidation, threats and other hostile acts, to ensure that brave men and women like Ms. Jouhari know that they have support for their efforts. This settlement is a real step toward justice."
King said: "Justice delayed is justice denied, and in Ms. Jouhari's case, justice is finally being done. On behalf of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, I commend Secretary Cuomo and the Department for remaining vigilant in support of Ms. Jouhari and for fighting so hard for the cause of fair housing. This case reminds us once again that we all must keep fighting for my father's dream of an America free of prejudice, and the resolution of this case is an important step forward."
Jouhari said: "My case serves notice to those people who espouse hatred and seek to deprive the rights of all people to live where they choose. You will not prevail, and there are consequences for your actions. For those who have joined me in the fight for fair housing, let this be an inspiration to you. Your fight is just and you will succeed. You will succeed because you have an advocate in Andrew Cuomo and HUD, who I thank for their fierce commitment to my case and the cause of eliminating housing discrimination."
Frankhouser presently operates the Mountain Church of Jesus Christ in Reading and has called himself a "Chaplain to the Klan." He also hosts a program on a local cable television access channel called "White Forum."
Jouhari, who is white, filed housing discrimination complaints with HUD against Frankhouser, the United Klans of America, and another man, Ryan Wilson of Philadelphia and his hate group known as ALPHA HQ. Frankhouser lives in Reading PA, and Wilson lives in Philadelphia.
Jouhari said actions and alleged threats by the two men and their groups forced her and her daughter to flee Pennsylvania for Washington State, preventing her from working to help enforce the Fair Housing Act. Jouhari's job as a Fair Housing Specialist at the Reading-Berks Human Relations Council in Reading, PA, was to help housing discrimination victims file complaints under the Act. She was also the founder and chairperson of the Hate Crimes Task Force for Berks County, PA, and served on the Pennsylvania Governor's Interagency Task Force on civil tension.
As part of the settlement agreement announced today, Frankhouser agreed to:
Pay five percent of his annual income to Jouhari and five percent to her daughter for the next 10 years for any year in which his annual income as reported to the IRS is more than $25,000.
Perform 1,000 hours of community service work over the next five years.
Read a public apology to Jouhari and her daughter on his public access cable television show, "White Forum"; and submit the text of the apology in a Letter to the Editor of The Reading Eagle and Philadelphia Inquirer.
Display a HUD fair housing poster on the outside of his house at South Fourth Street in Reading in a place that is clearly visible to passers-by for the next six years.
For the next three years, broadcast fair housing public service announcements to be supplied by HUD at the end of every episode of his public access cable television show "White Forum," or on any other television show hosted, sponsored, directed or produced by him, and refrain from making comments or adding disclaimers that would tend to disparage fair housing rights or detract from the efficacy of the PSAs.
Within the next year, attend 80 hours of Sensitivity Training at an agency or facility approved by HUD.
Refrain from referring to Jouhari or her daughter on his public access cable television show or in any other forum, in any context whatsoever, for the remainder of his life, with the sole exception of the apology.
Refrain from encouraging, enabling, or assisting any other person or group from discussing, telephoning, intimidating, threatening, or harassing Jouhari or her daughter for the remainder of his life.
Stay at least 100 feet from Jouhari and her family for the remainder of his life.
If Frankhouser does not comply with the terms of the settlement, the case can be turned over to the Department of Justice for enforcement in U.S. District Court.
The Fair Housing Act bars housing discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, disability, family status and national origin. It covers the sale, rental, financing and advertising of almost all housing in the nation. It also prohibits intimidation or interference with people who are helping others exercise their rights to fair housing.
In January, Cuomo announced that Ryan Wilson of Philadelphia and the neo-Nazi hate group he runs had been charged by HUD with violating the Fair Housing Act. The charge stemmed from threats posted on Wilson's Internet web site and made by him in a TV interview against Jouhari. The case is the first brought by HUD for an Internet-related hate incident.
Wilson's web site carried Jouhari's picture, labeled her a "race traitor" and said: "Traitors like this should beware, for in our day, they will be hung from the neck from the nearest tree or lamp post." The site also carried an animated picture of Jouhari's office being blown up by explosives.
In addition, HUD has a videotape of a television interview in which Wilson responds to the question "Would you ever hang her (Jouhari) from a tree?" with the reply: "In our time, yes."
In February, Chief Administrative Law Judge Alan W. Heifetz issued a default decision against Wilson and his group ALPHA HQ. The ruling said that because Wilson failed to respond to the housing discrimination charge within 30 days, as required under law, Wilson by default admitted to HUD's charges that he violated the Fair Housing Act. The judge is expected to rule by August on how much money - if any - Wilson and his group must pay Jouhari in damages.
Cuomo has pledged HUD's efforts in fighting hate crimes via the Internet. At a meeting in March in New York City with representatives of national civil rights, religious, and Internet organizations and businesses, Cuomo announced that HUD will provide $200,000 to create a national task force of civil rights groups, religious groups, Internet companies, fair housing groups, fair housing advocates, and others to develop strategies to reduce hate and discrimination on the Internet while preserving free speech rights.
Private groups have recently reported significant increases in the number of hate pages on the World Wide Web. The task force will hold a series of regional meetings around the country to develop an action plan.