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Justice Department Obtains Settlement against MHC

Dept_of_justice_seal_their_creditThe U. S. Department of Justice tells MHProNews it has reached an agreement to settle allegations of race and familial status discrimination against the owners and managers of Four Seasons Estates Mobile Home Park in Effingham, Illinois. While the consent order must still be approved by the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Illinois, it requires Four Seasons to pay $217,500 to the victims of discrimination for the harm they suffered, and $34,000 as a civil penalty to the federal government.

The lawsuit stemmed from allegations the community’s manager, Barbara Crubaugh, refused to allow an African-American man move in to Four Seasons to join his white girlfriend and her uncle, and that while he was staying there, he was harassed by the manager’s son, David Crubaugh. After being threatened with eviction if the boyfriend did not leave, the family moved out and contacted HOPE Fair Housing Center, an advocate of equal opportunity in housing in Illinois, which in turn contacted the Justice Dept.

Justice subsequently conducted a Fair Housing Testing Program on Four Seasons.  As MHProNews reported in a story Feb. 7, 2014 on the 126 home site community, the testing revealed discriminatory application treatment based on race, including higher move-in costs for African-Americans. Moreover, the community management admitted to the allegation that they prohibited families with children from living on one of the four rows of homesites, which is considered familial status discrimination.

There had been no African-American residents living in the community since at least 2007 when Barbara Crubaugh became manager.

In addition to the monetary damages, the consent order requires Four Seasons to implement a nondiscrimination policy, institute new nondiscriminatory application and rental procedures and undergo training on the Fair Housing Act.

Individuals and families looking for decent affordable housing shouldn’t be treated differently just because of their race or because they have children,” said Assistant Secretary Gustavo Velasquez of HUD. “It unfairly limits their housing options and it violates the law. We will continue to work with our fair housing partners and the Justice Department to ensure that property owners and managers meet their obligation to comply with the requirements of the Fair Housing Act.

Frank Bowman, the Illinois Manufactured Housing Association’s (IMHA) Executive Director, says the community in question is “not an IMHA member.

There are far more issues that have resulted from this case that impact Manufactured Housing. Those matters of concern are reviewed in the Masthead post, linked here. ##

(Image credit: U. S. Department of Justice)

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-comArticle submitted by Matthew J. Silver to Daily Business News-MHProNews.

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