ICRC E.D. issues multiple charges against Indianapolis, Ind. property

INDIANAPOLIS – Jamal L. Smith, in his official capacity as the Executive Director of the Indiana Civil Rights Commission (ICRC), issued charges today on behalf of a couple who was denied access to renting a mobile home at Garden City Trailor Park in Indianapolis, Ind. Both charges state that there is reasonable cause to believe that an unlawful discriminatory practice occurred in violation of the Indiana Fair Housing Act (Ind. Code § 22-9.5, et seq.) and the Indiana Civil Rights Law (Ind. Code § 22-9, et seq.).

The incident in question involves two Complainants, an unmarried couple consisting of a Caucasian male and a bi-racial (African American and Caucasian) female. The female called Respondent (Garden City Trailor Park) about renting a mobile home. Although she is employed, evidence shows that Respondent told her that she needed “two people to pay rent” or “a man” to help and was not interested in renting to her.

However, about a week later, the Complainant’s along with their daughter and two other family members visited Respondent’s property to once again inquire about renting a mobile home. During the course of the visit, Respondent pointed to the bi-racial female Complainant and said “what is that”? Respondent then inquired about the female Complainant’s race. Upon informing Respondent that she was bi-racial (African American and Caucasian) Respondent said that “we do not accept that race here” and refused to rent to the Complainant.

While Respondent alleges that he does not recall speaking to the female Complainant, he asserts that he would have only denied her because of insufficient income. However, evidence shows that Complainant was gainfully employed and had the required first month’s rent and deposit necessary to rent from Respondent. Following the state’s investigation, it was found that reasonable cause exists to believe a discrimination practice occurred as alleged.

It is important to note that two separate charges were filed on behalf of the couple. The first Complainant, who is female and bi-racial, is seeking damages for being refused to rent a mobile home because of her race and/or gender. The second Complainant, who is a Caucasian male, has charged the Respondent with refusing to rent to him because of his association with an individual of another race. In both charges the Complainant is alleging they were subjected to discriminatory statements by the Respondent.

A public hearing is necessary to determine whether a violation of the Indiana Fair Housing Act and the Indiana Civil Rights Law occurred. As permitted by 910 IAC 2-6-6(h), Respondents, Complainant, or an aggrieved person on whose behalf the Complaint is filed may elect to have the claims asserted in a civil action under Ind. Code § 22-9.5-6-12 in lieu of an administrative proceeding.