WASHINGTON – The United States has filed a lawsuit against Terence
Flanagan, a Chicago area property owner and rental agent, alleging that
he refused to rent properties he owned or controlled to
African-Americans, in violation of the federal Fair Housing Act, the
Justice Department announced.
The lawsuit, filed today in federal court in Chicago, alleges that
Flanagan refused to rent a single-family house he owns in Orland Park,
Ill., to Kamal Alex Majeid, who is African-American, because of his
race. The lawsuit also alleges that Flanagan asked a white tester
employed by the Justice Department whether her husband was
African-American and admitted to her that he did not want to rent to
African-Americans. The suit further alleges that Flanagan told this
tester that he had numerous other rental properties in the Chicago area.
Testers are individuals who pose as applicants for housing and report
on their interactions with housing providers to determine the
providers’ compliance with fair housing laws. Since 1991, the
Department has operated a Fair Housing Testing Program whereby it uses
federal employees or contractors as testers to identify violations of
the Fair Housing Act.
"Racial discrimination has no place in this nation, particularly when
it stands in the way of an individual satisfying a basic need like
housing," said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General of the Civil
Rights Division. "This lawsuit makes clear that such discrimination
will not be tolerated, and we will use all tools at our disposal to
root out unlawful discrimination against racial and ethnic minorities."
"We are committed to seeking out discrimination and acting forcefully
to eliminate it in all its forms from the Chicago-area housing market,"
said Patrick J. Fitzgerald, United States Attorney for the Northern
District of Illinois.
This lawsuit resulted from a complaint submitted to the Justice
Department by the South Suburban Housing Center, a private suburban
Chicago fair housing organization, after it was contacted by Majeid.
Majeid filed a lawsuit against Flanagan in August. That lawsuit is
currently pending in federal court before the Honorable Samuel
Der-Yeghiayan. The United States’ complaint seeks a court order
prohibiting future discrimination by the defendant, monetary damages
for those harmed by the defendant’s actions and a civil penalty.
Individuals who may have information related to this lawsuit should
contact the Justice Department toll-free at 1-800-896-7743, mail box
number 93, or email the Justice Department at [email protected].
Fighting illegal housing discrimination is a top priority of the
Justice Department. The federal Fair Housing Act prohibits
discrimination in housing based on race, color, religion, national
origin, sex, disability and familial status. More information about the
Civil Rights Division and the laws it enforces is available at http://www.justice.gov/crt.
Individuals who believe that they may have been victims of housing
discrimination can call the Housing Discrimination Tip Line at
1-800-896-7743, e-mail the Justice Department at [email protected],
or contact HUD at 1-800-669-9777.
The complaint is an allegation of unlawful conduct. The allegations must be proven in federal court.