Department of Justice Files Suit Against Owner and Operator of Four Seasons Mobile Home Park

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Published on February 5 2014 8:39 pm
Last Updated on February 5 2014 10:12 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

The Justice Department has filed suit against the owner and those involved in the management of a mobile home park in Effingham.  The suit alleges violations of the Fair Housing Act by discriminating against African-Americans and families with children.

The suit was filed against Four Seasons Estates Mobile Home Park.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn Samuels for the DOJ's Civil Rights Division said, "People should not be denied the housing of their choice because of their race or because they have children."

The lawsuit, filed in the US District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, charges that Four Seasons owner Lorraine Wallschlaeger, manager Barbara Crubaugh and David Crubaugh, another employee with management responsibilities, engaged in a pattern or practice of violating the Fair Housing Act by imposing requirements on African-Americans interesting in living at Four Seasons that they did not impose on white prospective tenants, such as completing a written application and having their mobile homes inspected before being accepted into the park.  The suit also charges that the defendants threatened to evict a white resident and his niece from the park if her African-American boyfriend did not leave, and refused to register the African-American boyfriend as a resident.

The lawsuit also alleges that the defendants did not permit families with children to live on one of the four rows at the mobile home park.

The lawsuit arose after the residents who reportedly were subjected to the discriminatory conduct contacted HOPE Fair Housing Center, who in turn contacted the Justice Department.  

Some of the evidence leading to the filing of the lawsuit came from statements allegedly made by Four Seasons offiicials to testers, individuals who pose as renters to gather information about possible discriminatory practices.

The lawsuit seeks a court order prohibiting future discrimination by the defendants, monetary damages for those harmed by the defendants' actions and a civil penalty.