$1 Million Judgment in Sexual Harassment Case Against Cincinnati Landlord

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Education & Training with 123 ConEd LLC -- Michigan real estate continuing education School Sponsor 373

Here is another example of a Fair Housing Act lawsuit that was fairly recently settled by the United States Department of Justice ("DOJ"). I try to post summaries of these types of cases in order to provide updates to real estate professionals about the "dos and don'ts" under the Fair Housing Act, since fair housing is such an important issue.

In September 2008, the DOJ settled a fair housing lawsuit that was brought again a Cincinnati landlord, James G. Mitchell, and his company, Land Baron Enterprises. Mr. Mitchell was the owner and operator of several rental properties in the Cincinnati, Ohio, metropolitan area. The defendants agreed to pay $1 million in monetary damages and a civil penalty, after admitting that they violated the Fair Housing Act. This was the largest monetary settlement that the DOJ has ever obtained in a case alleging sexual harassment violations under the Fair Housing Act.

The DOJ’s lawsuit alleged that Mr. Mitchell had subjected female tenants to unwanted verbal sexual advances and unwanted sexual touching, entered the apartments of female tenants without permission or notice, granted and denied tangible housing benefits based on sex, and took adverse action against female tenants when they refused or objected to his sexual advances.

The DOJ began investigating Mr. Mitchell after Housing Opportunities Made Equal (“HOME”), a Cincinnati-based non-profit fair housing advocacy group, notified the DOJ of several sexual harassment complaints it had received about Mr. Mitchell.

Under the terms of the settlement, the defendants were required to pay $890,000 in compensation to 12 women who Mr. Mitchell sexually harassed and $110,000 in a civil penalty to the United States. In addition, the settlement enjoined Mr. Mitchell from further discrimination and required him to retain an independent management company to manage any future rental properties he acquires. Mr. Mitchell currently does not own or operate any rental properties.

Every real estate professional should already know that the Fair Housing Act makes it unlawful to discriminate in housing on the basis of sex. What many real estate professionals do not realize, however, is that that includes sexual harassment.

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To learn more about Fair Housing issues (and many other topics affecting Michigan real estate professionals), please visit us at www.123ConEd.com. 123 ConEd LLC (www.123ConEd.com) is a leading online provider of continuing education courses to real estate professionals in Michigan. Our online Michigan real estate con ed courses are fully approved and properly certified by the Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Growth. All of our courses are designed to offer our students the most information, as quickly and economically as possible.

Copyright © 123 ConEd LLC 2009. All rights reserved.

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Ambassador
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Silvia Dukes PA, Broker Associate, CRS, CIPS, SRES
Tropic Shores Realty - Ich spreche Deutsch! - Spring Hill, FL
Florida Waterfront and Country Club Living

After all the sexual harassment cases, one really wonders why some people still think it's ok or can get away with it.  Mindboggling. Thanks for sharing.

Feb 26, 2009 08:21 AM #1
Rainmaker
70,777
Loan Survivor Real Estate Financing Expert
Purchases, First Time Buyers, Pre-Approvals, Refinance - Birmingham, MI

He got what he deserved.

Feb 26, 2009 11:17 AM #2
Rainmaker
510,181
Robert L. Brown
www.mrbrownsellsgr.com - Grand Rapids, MI
Grand Rapids Real Estate Bellabay Realty, West Mic

Well well. I hope he learned his lesson. You have to hit th pocketbook to get most peoples attention. And in this economy it should not take too long

Feb 27, 2009 02:19 AM #3
Rainmaker
179,901
Jason Rose
123 ConEd LLC -- Michigan real estate continuing education - Farmington Hills, MI
www.123ConEd.com

Thanks for the comments.  You're certainly right that he got what he deserved.  The disturbing part is that this kind of stuff continues to go on every day, in every part of the country.  The Fair Housing Act is not rocket science, but it seems like agents are blatantly violating it every day.  And, forgetting about the Fair Housing Act for a second, what the guy in this case did was just plain wrong.

Feb 27, 2009 04:35 AM #4
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Jason Rose

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