Southern Illinois landlord settles housing discrimination lawsuit

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The owners and operators of a mobile home park in Effingham, Illinois settled a federal lawsuit Wednesday over allegations of race and familial status discrimination, the U.S. Department of Justice said.

According to the suit, the manager of Four Seasons Estates Mobile Home Park, identified as Barbara Crubaugh, refused to let an African-American man become a resident at the park when he moved in with his girlfriend and her uncle, who are Caucasian. The lawsuit also accuses Crubaugh’s son, David, of harassing the man during his stay at the park.

The family eventually moved out of the mobile home park after being threatened with eviction if the African-American man did not leave.

Besides this specific incident, the lawsuit went on to allege further racial discrimination against Barbara Crubaugh, like treating prospective residents differently based upon their race. She would require African-Americans to fill out certain applications while not requiring perspective white residents to do the same, asking African-Americans if they had felonies but asking the same of Caucasians, informing the African-Americans that she would have to inspect their mobile homes while not informing white tenants, and by quoting higher move-in costs to black applicants.

And until the lawsuit was filed, no African-Americans lived at the mobile home park since at least 2007, when Barbara Crubaugh became manager of the park.

The lawsuit also alleged and management later admitted to discriminating against families that had children under the age of 18.

Under the settlement, management at Four Seasons Estates Mobile Home Park will pay $217,500 to the discrimination victims, as well as an additional $34,000 to the government as a civil penalty.

The settlement must still be approved by the U.S. District Court of Southern Illinois.

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