DC Attorney General Karl Racine has sued seven real estate companies and professionals in three new lawsuits, in response to the allegations of discrimination against District tenants, it was announced on Wednesday.
The companies and individuals implicated are operating in Wards 4 and 8.
The lawsuits are based on the allegations of a Ward 8 resident being denied their reasonable accommodation request for a designated disability parking space, and a landlord in Ward 4 refusing to rent a property to a resident because of the person’s race and color, according to a statement by the Office of the Attorney General (OAG).
The third lawsuit is relating to an online advertisement for a property in Ward 8, which included a clause discriminating against residents who use housing vouchers.
Today our office sued 7 real estate companies & pros to protect tenants in Wards 8 and 4 from housing #discrimination.
— AG Karl A. Racine (@AGKarlRacine) September 9, 2020
“The Office of the Attorney General is collaborating with the Office of Human Rights to enforce the District’s Human Rights Act—which offers some of the country’s strongest civil rights protections,” said Racine about the cases.
“The DCHRA prohibits property owners from denying residents equal access to affordable, decent housing over traits such as race, source of income, and disability. These lawsuits once again emphasize that we will work collaboratively with our government partners to hold discriminatory landlords and property managers accountable.”
The defendants in the three suits are Afolake Elizabeth O-Shokunbi, a local property owner and landlord in Ward 4; KEM Associates, property management company Delwin Realty and its employees Gary Evans and Jamaal Opie; Porter House International Realty Group, LLC; and District-licensed real estate salesperson Amaka “Vanessa” Akinola.
OAG is seeking court orders to stop the illegal discrimination, as well as damages, civil penalties, and costs to the District.