45 Lyon Terrace
Bridgeport, CT 06604
Contact: Joe Wincze - Chairperson (203) 576-8323
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - April 17, 2003
(Shelton, Conn., April 17, 2003) -- Gafur Imetovski, owner of a 3-family house in Shelton,Ct, has learned a costly lesson, and the cost to him is exactly $9,000 which he had to pay to settle a housing discrimination complaint filed by a Section 8 tenant.
In December, 2001, Ebony Perez, a single mother with two young daughters, claims she responded to an ad placed by Imetovski for a first floor rental when she was told by him that he was not accepting Section 8. According to Perez, he informed her the reason he wasn't taking Section 8 because, "They want me to fix too much!" She claims Imetovski would only rent to her if she did so without her Section 8 rental subsidy. "I don't want to get involved with those people -- I want someone with no problem," Perez quotes him as saying.
Perez reported the incident to the Ansonia Section 8 Office and she was in turn referred to the Fair Housing Association of Connecticut in Bridgeport. After conducting a test to gather the necessary evidence, they assisted her in filing her complaint with the Connecticut Commission On Human Rights & Opportunities.
Connecticut law prohibits landlords from discriminating against tenants on rental assistance programs, which falls under the category of discrimination against one's "source of income." (Only a handful of states offer such protection.)
In February this year, the Connecticut Commission made a cause finding, which means they believe after the completion of a full investigation that Imetovski discriminated against Perez. Following the cause finding, the parties negotiated a settlement which required Imetovski to pay $9,000 as compensation.
The settlement agreement included a statement that Imetovski is not admitting liability or violation of the Conn. Fair Housing law. The settlement also requires Imetovski to participate in a comprehensive fair housing training seminar to be conducted by the Connecticut Fair Housing Center in Hartford.
Perez's attorney, Alan Rosner of Bridgeport, said he was satisfied with the settlement he was able to negotiate for his client but was sorry the case took so long to resolve. Perez admitted that the delay was frustrating but looking at the bright side commented, "Good things come sometimes to those who are willing to wait!"