HUD's Sixth and Newest ALJ Orders $21,000 Paid in Two Family Cases

HUD's new sixth Administrative Law Judge, James Chaitovitz, has ordered payment of $10,700 in a Florida family status case and $10,440 in a family case in St Louis.

Ft. Lauderdale's "Paradise Gardens" Denied Adult Sign, Pool Limits for Children

Judge Chaitovitz required Paradise Gardens of Ft. Lauderdale to remove an "Adult Community" sign and to drop several rules on use of the swimming pool. He enjoined numerous practices which discriminated against families with children, including:

  • Barring children under 5 from using the pool.
  • Limiting pool use by children between 5 and 16, to between the hours of 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
  • Prohibiting families with children.
  • Discouraging people with children under 18 years or younger, as residents or renters.

A hearing was held June 3 and 4 in Ft Lauderdale on consolidated charges from two families. Joseph A. and Elizabeth LaBarbera had put a contract on a house just before discovering she was pregnant with the couples first child. They were under age 55. Respondents tried to discourage them from moving to Paradise Gardens, which they said was for old people.

Complainant Gerald Ross rented a house under a one year lease. He was married with two children under 18. They encountered opposition to their use of the pool because of the age restrictions.

In addition to the injunctive orders, ALJ Chaitovitz told respondents to pay $4,000 to the LaBarbera's and $3,500 to Gerald Ross for emotional distress, humiliation and inconvenience. Paradise Gardens Section II, and the Homeowners Association must pay HUD a civil penalty of $3,000. Respondents Andrew H. Menditto and Albert Greenberg must pay $100 each as a civil penalty.

[HUD v. Paradise Gardens, 04-90-0321-1, & 04-90-0726-1]
Filed with HUD 4-10-90 & 8-2-90
HUD Charge Issued 1-8-92
ALJ Hearing 6-3 & 4-1992
Order 10-15-92

St. Louis Landlord Pays $10,440 For Ousting Toddler Who Became A Teenager

A St. Louis apartment renter who moved in when her son was a toddler in 1976, encountered family discrimination when that son and another became teenagers. The mother had a second son in 1979 and later married. In 1990 Apartment owner Verna Lewis raised the rent and told complainant Burnetta Miller Smith to move.

Lewis's agent told the family to move, claiming the property needed extensive repairs. The owner increased the rent from $150 to $300. But single tenants in similar units owned by Lewis were charged $200. The Smith family paid the increased rent for several months before they moved.

The original complaint charged race and family discrimination, but it was narrowed to a family status complaint. The ALJ found that landlord Lewis had told the complainant she was ordered to vacate because "teenage children draw children."

HUD ALJ Chaitovitz ordered Mr. Lewis to pay $3,000 in damages for emotional injury and inconvenience. He required payment of $5,440 in out of pocket expenses. The Judge also told Lewis to pay a civil penalty of $2,000, and his agent Irma Harris to pay $1,500.

Judge Chaitovitz rejected the landlords claim they were denied their Fifth Amendment rights when the HUD investigators did not advise them of their right to counsel and privilege against self-incrimination. He ruled the proceedings are civil and statements to the investigator could not have incriminated them.

[HUD v. Lewis, 07-91-0055-1]
Filed with HUD 11-23-90
HUD Charge Issued 1-14-92
AU Hearing 5-12-92
Order 8-27-92

Sixth ALJ James Chaitovitz

James Chaitovitz became HUD's sixth Administrative Law Judge on May 4. He is 57, and has had extensive administrative law experience with at least three federal agencies. He was a pro bono plaintiff's counsel in the landmark Supreme Court housing case of Jones v. Mayer, in which the U S Supreme Court held that 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1982 applied to private as well as public acts of discrimination.

Chaitovitz is a 1959 graduate of Harvard Law School and Amherst College. He has been an administrative law judge with the Federal Labor Relations Authority since 1979. He heard unfair labor practice cases under the Federal Labor-Management Relations Statute.

Judge Chaitovitz was an administrative law judge with the Department of Labor from 1972 to 1979. He heard cases under the Davis-Bacon Act, the Child Labor Law, and the Service Contract Act. Before that, he was a field attorney, supervisory trial attorney and deputy assistant general counsel with the National Labor Relations Board.