The Department of Justice reached an agreement with a New Jersey landlord owning hundreds of rental units resolving allegations of sexual harassment. Joseph Centanni has agreed to pay $4.5 million in monetary damages and a civil penalty. The United States' lawsuit alleged that Centanni's harassment spanned a period of at least 15 years. According to the complaint, Centanni demanded sexual favors to get or keep housing; offered housing benefits, such as reduced rent in exchange for sexual favors; touched tenants and applicants in a way that was sexual and unwelcome and made unwelcome sexual comments and advances to tenants and applicants. The complaint also alleged that Centanni initiated or threatened to initiate eviction actions against tenants who objected to or refused his sexual advances. Centanni participated in the federal Section 8 program and received approximately $102,000 each month in Housing Choice Voucher payments.
The United Stated filed a complaint in United States v. Perry Homes (W.D. Pa.), alleging that Defendants, who own and/or operate three rental properties in Cranberry, Zelionople, and Harmony, Pennsylvania, had a blanket practice of exluding emotional support animals ("ESA") from dwellings that they owned or managed, causing injury to Southwestern Pennsylvania Legal Aid, a non-profit legal aid organization whose mission includes combatting housing discrimination.
The United Stated filed an election complaint in U.S. v. Perry Homes II (W.D. Pa.). The complaint alleges that Perry Homes, the owner of multifamily rental property in Cranberry, Pennsylvania, discriminated on the basis of disability in violation of the Fair Housing Act by refusing to grant requests for reasonable accommodations made by individuals in two different households at the property who sought permission to keep assistance animals. The case was referred to the Department of Justice afer HUD received two separate complaints, conducted an investigation, and issued a charge of discrimination.