On December 24, 1997, an order was entered by the Cook County Commission on Human Rights approving the settlement of a complaint alleging race and familial status discrimination against Lansing four-flat owners Albert and Eunice Kopiec. Center (SSHC), a private not-for-profit fair housing agency serving over 50 municipalities in the southern part of the Chicago metropolitan area and Cynthia Lamb, an African-American mother seeking housing for herself and her two daughters. The Housing Center and Ms. Lamb were represented by Chicago attorney Miriam Geraghty with the firm of Kinoy, Taren, Geraghty and Potter.
The settlement requires the Kopiecs to pay $14,000 in monetary damages to SSHC and Cynthia Lamb on behalf of herself and her minor children. Under the agreement, the Kopiecs are also required to attend a Fair Housing Training session conducted by SSHC and have agreed to monitoring of their rental management properties by the agency for a period of three years.
Under the Cook County Human Rights Ordinance, it is illegal for a small landlord, like the Kopiecs, who lives in a multi-family building with four units or less, to discriminate against individuals in any of fourteen protected classes including race and familial status (families with children under the age of 18 years).
In the course of SSHC's investigation, several testers were sent to the property owned by the Kopiecs. Only a white tester with no children was invited to apply for the apartment.
"This has happened in 1997, almost the year 2000. It is shocking to know that people still discriminate against people for their color and parental status," stated complainant Cynthia Lamb. "I appreciate the Housing Center and their efforts. I want my children to learn that when something is wrong, it is wrong. It is important to fight for what is right."