For at least 15 years, a landlord in New Jersey demanded sexual acts from prospective and actual tenants. According to the Department of Justice, Joseph Centanni demanded sexual acts from prospective tenants in order to obtain housing, demanded actual tenants perform sexual acts in order to keep their housing, and reduced rents in exchange for sexual favors, among many other forms of severe and pervasive sexual harassment. These abhorrent acts, of course, are in clear violation of the Fair Housing Act.
On Dec. 14, the United States settled their federal civil rights lawsuit against Centanni. Now, Centanni will pay $4.5 million as part of the settlement. According to the New York Times, if the settlement is approved by a judge, this case will become the largest settlement the Department of Justice “has ever secured in a case involving sexual harassment in housing.” Also according to the NYT, the bulk of the settlement is expected to go to the victims. Centanni is also facing separate criminal charges.
Kennedy Hunt P.C. applauds the Department of Justice for advocating for the victims of Centanni. As a civil rights law firm, we are committed to the belief that all people deserve access to fair housing, free of coercion, harassment, and assault. If you or someone you know has been a victim of housing discrimination, our skilled attorneys at Kennedy Hunt, P.C. may be able to help you. Fill out a questionnaire so we can understand your claim.