MONTGOMERY TRAILER PARK OWNER TO PAY $30,000

MONTGOMERY TRAILER PARK OWNER TO PAY $30,000

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A Montgomery, Alabama, trailer park owner will pay $30,000 to resolve allegations that he discriminated against African American home seekers, under an agreement reached today with the Justice Department.

The settlement, filed today in U.S. District Court in Montgomery, resolves a complaint

filed by the Justice Department in April 1998, alleging that David Damron, owner of the Court

Street Trailer Park, also known as Bruner Trailer Park, in Montgomery, engaged in a pattern of

racial discrimination.

“This kind of conduct is particularly objectionable not only because of its blatant nature,

but also because it was inflicted upon people who had very limited housing choices because of

their modest incomes,” said Bill Lann Lee, Acting Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights.

“It is important for housing providers whose tenants or prospective tenants have few housing

options to recognize that discriminatory rental practices will not be tolerated.”

The Justice Department found that Mr. Damron conditioned tenancy to prospective white

tenants upon representations that the prospective tenants would not have any African American

visitors, and evicted and otherwise harassed white tenants who had African American visitors. It

was also found that he instructed at least one agent responsible for screening applicants not to

rent to African-Americans and to tell any African Americans who inquired about available

trailers that the landlord had just rented the last trailer, while telling other tenants that he would

not allow African Americans to move into the trailer park. Damron also directed African

Americans who inquired about available trailers to another trailer park occupied predominantly

by African Americans.

“This case involved overt and odious discrimination against African American and low

income citizens, who simply sought to exercise their fundamental American right of access to

affordable housing and the freedom of association,” said Redding Pitt, U.S. Attorney in the

Middle District of Alabama. “Today’s lawsuit and agreement signal again our determination

to vindicate the basic rights of citizenship.”

Under the agreement, Mr. Damron will:

admit that he violated the Fair Housing Act, conceding that the Justice Department has

significant evidence of racial discrimination which supports a finding by the court that he

has engaged in a pattern of discrimination on the basis of race;

create a $10,000 fund to compensate any persons identified as victims of the alleged

discriminatory practices who no longer reside in the trailer park; and,

provide $20,000 in rent credits available to identified victims currently residing in the

trailer park.

The Justice Department’s case stems from complaints filed with the Central Alabama

Fair Housing Center in Montgomery and from fair housing testing conducted by the

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

The FBI “tests” compared the treatment received by black and white agents posing as

prospective renters who visited the trailer park to inquire about available trailers. After being

informed of the investigation, the Justice Department alleges that Damron began to rent trailers

to African Americans, but that he discriminated against them in the terms and conditions of

rental, such as requests for repairs, based on race.

Individuals who believe they may have been the victims of housing discrimination at

Bruner Trailer Park should call the Housing Section of the Civil Rights Division of the Justice

Department at 1-800-896-7743 or the U.S. Attorney’s Office at 205-223-7280.