The Times of India, July 19 2010
WASHINGTON: The US justice
has filed a lawsuit against the owner and management of an apartment
Renton in Washington state for racial discrimination against Indians who
treated less favourably than other tenants and even told to "go back" to
The lawsuit seeking
monetary damages and an order barring further
discrimination was filed on Friday in the US district court for the
district of Washington and named as defendants Summerhill Place LLC --
of Summerhill Place Apartments; GRAN Inc. -- the management company; and
Lovejoy -- the former on site manager.
The suit alleges, among other
things, that the defendants steered Indian tenants away from one of the
buildings at Summerhill, treated tenants from India less favourably than
tenants and discouraged African-Americans, Hispanics and families with
from living at Summerhill.
The names of Indians have not been
"Equal access to housing in the United States is a
fundamental right, and this nation will not tolerate discrimination in
said assistant attorney general for the civil rights division Thomas E
The justice department alleged that the owner and management of
apartment complex instructed its staff not to show new or renovated
to people from India, Hispanics and African Americans.
and its staff engaged in discriminating against Indian tenants by not
their carpets or their broken appliances, while providing such services
similarly situated tenants, the law suit alleges.
It also alleges
that one or more Indian tenants were told that their children cannot
outside and that they should take them to park to play. They were also
told to "go back to India" if they could not learn how to work their
and faced other derogatory comments about their national origin.
"Few things are more fundamental to success and happiness than
having a safe place to live. Fair and equal access to housing is a
of our society," said US attorney for the western district of Washington
"Apartment owners must ensure that their managers treat all
tenants and potential tenants, in a fair and equitable manner without
race, national origin or whether they have children. The US Attorney's
will actively pursue these cases with the goal of fairness and equity
As alleged in the complaint, two Summerhill employees
contacted the King County Office of Civil Rights (KCOCR) in 2007 and
of discriminatory housing practices at Summerhill. KCOCR then contracted
Fair Housing Council of Washington to conduct testing at Summerhill.
After testing was conducted, kcocr referred the matter to HUD
(housing and urban development department).
After an investigation,
the secretary of HUD determined that there was reasonable cause to
discriminatory housing practices had occurred and issued a charge of
The defendants elected to have the matters asserted
in the HUD charge heard in federal court.
"Housing discrimination is
illegal and unacceptable," said assistant secretary for fair housing and
opportunity John Trasviña.
"HUD and the justice department
work to eliminate it," he said.
The suit seeks monetary damages for
those harmed by the defendants' actions, civil penalties and a court
barring future discrimination.