Ohio families receive $24,000 settlement after home sale is halted by owners of mobile home park

In June, two Ohio families and a private fair housing group won a $24,000 settlement from Profetta's Mobile Estates in Ashtabula County. The owners and operators of the mobile home park admitted that they violated both federal and Ohio fair housing la ws.

The complaint, filed in federal court in 1995, was filed by the MacKellar family after the owners of Profetta's Mobile Estates told them that they could not sell their mobile home to another family who had minor children. The Akron-based Fair Housing Advocates Association launched an investigation into the complaint and found that the mobile home park was strictly segregated into families (with children) and adults-only areas. Families with children were not allowed to rent homes or lots in the adults-only area, even though it was not designated as seniors-only housing. Children were not even allowed to be in the adult area at any time.

The Ball family, which tried to buy the mobile home from the MacKellar's, also filed a complaint of family status discrimination against the park. Both the Balls and the MacKellars were represented by Andrew Margolius, Fair Housing Advocates' legal counsel.

The settlement agreement, approved by US District Judge David Dowd, called for the defendants to pay $12,000 each to both the MacKellars and the Balls for compensatory damages and attorney's fees. The settlement also called for the owners and managers of the park to take fair housing courses. The owners of mobile home park admitted that they had broken the law by discriminating against families with children.

Vincent Curry, the executive director of Fair Housing Advocates said, "This settlement is not only significant because we were able to protect the fair housing rights of the Ball and MacKellar families, but because the landlord admitted to violati ons of the state and federal fair housing laws."