In its seventh action since September, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development today charged the owners, operators and a resident manager of Urbana Estates, a mobile home park in Urbana, Ohio, with fair housing violations.
HUD’s investigation showed that in April 2002, Urbana MHP, LLC, purchased the mobile-home park and appointed Randy and Mary Daniels as resident managers. Later that summer, Randy Daniels allegedly used racial epithets and told residents he did not want African-American residents living in the park.
In June 2002, Randy Daniels died and his son Robin Daniels was appointed as his replacement. Later that summer, Robin Daniels allegedly continued the pattern of harassment against African-American residents.
On a separate occasion, Lloyd Stewart, an African-American resident, called the rental office to complain about what he considered management trespassing on his property. Once the call ended, Robin Daniels called the local police to report that Stewart had harassed him by making derogatory comments about his deceased father. Robin Daniels insisted that a telephone harassment charge be filed against Stewart. However, when Stewart appeared in Champaign County Municipal Court to answer the charge, the case against him was dismissed, according to HUD.
HUD’s investigation found that on two separate occasions when white residents made threats against resident managers, the managers wished only to document the incidents.
“No family should be subjected to the torment and public humiliation this couple went through,” said Carolyn Peoples, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “The right to live where you want, without regard to race is one of the cornerstones of the Fair Housing Act.”
A hearing on the charges is slated for Jan. 11, 2005. Housing discrimination charges carry a maximum civil penalty of $11,000 for a first offense in addition to actual damages, including emotional distress damages, for the complainant, injunctive or other equitable relief, and attorney fees.
Earlier this week, HUD charged an Illinois apartment complex company and its manager with Fair Housing Act violations for refusing to accommodate the request of a woman with a disability to be transferred to a larger apartment that was easier to access.
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