HUD ALJ Heinz Enters Defaults in Race, Family Cases

Housing and Urban Development Administrative Law Judge Thomas C. Heinz ordered payments totaling $38,343 in three cases involving race and family discrimination in March, April and May. In each of these three cases default judgments were entered after respondents filed no answer. When they failed to file an answer to the charge of Discrimination the allegations were admitted. Hearings were held to take evidence on appropriate relief in the respective cases in Central Islip, NY, Albany NY, and Sparks, NV.

Discriminatory Ad Confirmed by Testing

The violation on Long Island started when Respondent LaBella Realty placed an ad in the Oyster Bay Pennysaver Newspaper, which included the words, "No children ...mature couple only." The complainant was the Long Island Housing Services, Inc.(LIHS) The ALJ said it was an "agency dedicated to equal housing opportunity and the creation of racially and economically integrated housing throughout Long Island." The respondents were agent Harry Minicozzi, broker Ralph LaBella, and LaBella Realty.

Three days after the ad ran, Tester One from LIHS called and talked with agent Minicozzi about the ad. She asked to rent the apartment for herself and her 14-year-old grandson. He said he would talk with the owner that day and ask about renting to someone with a child despite the ad. He told tester One he would call her back. The same day Tester Two called from LIHS and talked with agent Minicozzi about the Pennysaver ad. She was looking for an apartment for her retired parents and was shown the apartment by appointment two days later.

Respondent Minicozzi did not call back Tester One as promised, so she called him a day after she had talked with him. Age remembered her as having a child, refused to show her the apartment and offered to show her different apartment.

Judge Heinz found that the fair housing group had spent considerable time and staff resources on this case. He said this included: "identifying the Respondents; filing a complaint and an amended complaint with HUD; researching other advertisements placed by Respondent LaBella Realty; investigating the ownership of respondent LaBella Realty and the real estate assets of respondent Ralph LaBella; establishing terms for suggested conciliation agreement; reviewing case pleadings; preparing witness and evidence lists in a prehearing statement; and attending the hearing. Complainant's staff spent a total of 88.2 hours on this case. The time and resources Complainant spent pursuing this case diverted resources that would have otherwise been spent attempting to secure equal access to housing for Complainant's clients."

The ALJ said the respondents admitted the facts by their failure to file an answer. His May 11, order said, "To compensate Complainant for this diversion of resources, Complainant will be awarded $8,800, the amount requested by the Charging Party." The penalty payable to HUD was $2,500.

HUD ex rel Long Island Housing Services v. Menaces & Labella HUDALJ 02-92-0601-1

Filed with HUD HUD Charge Issued 11-17-94

Order 5-11-95