HUD No. 07-055
May 2, 2007
HUD CHARGES KANSAS CITY PROPERTY MANAGERS WITH VIOLATING THE FAIR HOUSING ACT
Management accused of terminating employee because she informed tenants about their fair housing rights
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced today that it has charged Central Park Towers II Limited Partnership, AIMCO Properties, L.P., NHPMN Management, LLC, and several individual respondents with violating the federal Fair Housing Act by firing an in-house social worker because she referred tenants with fair housing issues to HUD or an attorney.
The charge alleges that Stacy Sturdevant, a former Senior Community Manager at Central Park Towers (CPT), terminated the Complainant for participating in a HUD investigation and for advising tenants of their right to file fair housing complaints. Sturdevant, an employee of AIMCO, was responsible for overseeing daily operations of Central Park Towers (CPT) and for supervising the Complainant.
HUD's investigation showed that on several occasions, the Complainant advised tenants of their right to file fair housing complaints. On one occasion, Sturdevant overheard the Complainant tell a co-worker that she had advised a tenant to call HUD or an attorney concerning her eviction. Sturdevant allegedly became very angry, and directed the Complainant that under no circumstances should she give tenants advice about contacting HUD or attorneys.
HUD's charge alleges that as a result of the Complainant's activities related to fair housing, respondents contrived a reason for terminating her.
"To terminate someone for encouraging tenants to exercise their Fair Housing Rights is unlawful," said Kim Kendrick, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. "Property owners and managers everywhere should know that HUD will enforce the law when you retaliate against someone who is trying to uphold it."
A hearing on the charge will be held by a U.S. Administrative Law Judge on July 24, 2007, in the Kansas City area, unless any party elects to have the case heard in U.S. District Court. An election to go to district court must be made by May 16, 2007.
Housing discrimination charges heard before an Administrative Law Judge carry a maximum civil penalty of $16,000 for a first offense, in addition to actual damages for each complainant, injunctive or other equitable relief, and attorney's fees. Sanctions can be more severe if a respondent has a history of housing discrimination. FHEO and its partners in the Fair Housing Assistance Program investigate approximately 10,300 housing discrimination complaints annually. People who believe they are the victims of housing discrimination should contact HUD at 1 (800) 669-9777 (voice), (800) 927-9275 (TTY). Additional information is available at www.hud.gov/fairhousing.