Feds Sue Tri-State Developer Over Accessibility Issues
Updated: 5:15 p.m.
An Ohio developer is accused of building apartment houses and not conforming with the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. The U.S. District Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio and the Department of Justice filed suit against Miller-Valentine Operations for violating the FHA and the ADA in 13 states.
District Attorney Ben Glassman says the violations are at 82 multi-family housing complexes in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia.
Glassman says the FHA and the ADA required Miller-Valentine to design and build rental housing that is accessible to the public. He says more than 60 complexes were constructed with the assistance of federal tax credits. "To then take for these properties public money, that aggravates the situation," he says.
"Whether it's low-income tax credits or financing from HUD or USDA, all of those programs that provide the public money require as a condition of the financing that the design and construction is compliant with the law," Glassman says.
The suit is seeking a court decision that the actions were unlawful, and orders Miller-Valentine to bring the properties up to the minimum standards of the FHA and ADA. Glassman says it also seeks "civil penalty and seeks redress for anyone who was injured" as a result of Miller-Valentine's actions.
The ADA requires places of public accommodation built after 1990 to be accessible to persons with disabilities. The FHA prohibits discrimination in housing and requires all multi-family housing constructed after 1991 to have basic accessibility features.
Glassman says anyone with questions or information about the accessibility of the properties should call the DOJ at 1-800-896-7743.
Thursday afternoon, Miller-Valentine released a statement on behalf of CEO Elizabeth Mangan:
"We have not yet had the chance to review the lawsuit so I do not have specific comments at this time. I can say that Miller-Valentine Operations is a great company that prides itself on providing housing in communities serving a full range of residents. We hire professionals to ensure that all of our properties are designed and constructed to be accessible, adaptable and usable by persons with disabilities. We have been building multifamily communities for more than two decades and have always hired reputable design and engineering firms to ensure compliance with federal, state and local accessibility codes. Miller-Valentine Operations does not engage in or support discrimination in any form and we are not aware of complaints from residents regarding accessibility of our apartment homes."
Locally, the properties identified by the District Attorney's office include:
Aspen Grove Apartments, Middletown
Deerfield Crossing, Lebanon
Harbour Cove Apartments, Cincinnati
Hoover Place, Dayton
Indian Trace I & II, Oxford
Lofts at Hoover, Dayton
Lofts at One West High Street, Oxford
Lyons Place I & II, Dayton
Mallard Glen, Amelia
Meadow View South, Springboro
Pheasant Run Senior, Dayton
Riverview Bluffs, New Richmond
Siena Village Senior Living, Dayton
St. Bernard Commons, St. Bernard
Timber Glen II, Batavia
Timber Ridge Apartments, Dayton
Honey Creek, Greenwood
Weaver Farm Apartments, Florence