DOJ Sues North Carolina Landlord for Race Discrimination

On September 25, 2012, the United States Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against the owners and managers of a number of rental homes in Washington, NC, alleging that apartment manager William I. Cochran III discriminated against African American tenants.

According to the press release issued by the DOJ:

The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, names Cochran and three related corporate entities – EKP LLC, WRC LLC and Emlan Properties LLC – that own or owned the various properties managed by Cochran.  The complaint alleges that Cochran delayed or refused to perform maintenance or repairs at properties rented by African-Americans and refused to credit them for repairs they paid for or made themselves; verbally harassed African-American tenants with racial slurs and epithets, having made statements indicating that he disfavored African-American tenants; and threatened, harassed and retaliated against African-American tenants who resisted his discriminatory housing practices.

The case began when a former tenant at one of Cochran’s properties contacted the Justice Department to report Cochran’s conduct.  The department conducted an extensive investigation and then filed today’s lawsuit, which seeks an order prohibiting the defendants from engaging in future unlawful discrimination, and requiring the defendants to pay monetary damages to victims of their discrimination and civil penalties to the government.

To read the DOJ’s press release on the case, click here.

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