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U.S. v Peterson et al.

#W07-29 & W07-36 | Location: Ypsilanti | Court Level: Federal | Settlement: $115,000, Plus $82,500 in civil penalties

Categories: Rental, Sex
Tags: Sexual Harassment

Initially, two women contacted the Fair Housing Center to report allegations of sexual harassment by property manager Glen Johnson in Ypsilanti Township. In each case, the women reported being offered housing, but were pushed to trade sexual favors for repairs or keys to the property. FHC staff and Liz Elkiss, a law student from the University of Michigan, did research to find other possible victims.

FHC contacted the U.S. Department of Justice and met with Assistant U.S. Attorney Judith Levy to discuss the case. The Department of Justice used their resources to find additional victims. The owner of the rental homes is Washtenaw County Commissioner Ronnie Peterson.

The case was tried in front of Federal Judge Julian Abele Cook Jr. After about five days of testimony, the jury awarded a total of $115,000 to six victims.

On March 4, 2011, the Court entered a post-trial order for additional injunctive relief and civil penalties totalling $82,500. (The order requires Johnson to pay a $55,000 civil penalty, the maximum civil penalty for a first violation of the Fair Housing Act, and orders Peterson to pay a $27,500 penalty.)

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