(WHTM) – A Shippensburg landlord and their affiliates were ordered to pay a $90,000 settlement for allegedly discriminating against a black family, attempting to block their move-in, and harassing them at the property, according to Attorney General Michelle Henry.
The settlement was reached between the Office of the Attorney General and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC) against landlords John Timothy Gruver and Bonnie Gruver, their son and daughter-in-law Robert and Kelly Gruver, and Ridgway Real Estate.
The Attorney General’s office says they were contacted in May 2020 by a woman who alleged the landlords discriminated against her and her grandchildren by revoking their lease shortly before moving in due to her race and concerns that one of the grandchildren was in trouble with the law.
According to the Office of the Attorney General, the complainant said that she tried to explain that the grandchild wouldn’t be living with her but the landlord didn’t listen.
The complaint believed she still could move in because she had a legally valid lease but upon arrival on the move-in date, the landlord had placed a “no trespassing” sign on the door with her name on it.
According to the AG’s Office, the landlords’ son and daughter-in-law, Robert and Kelly Gruver, lived next door and allegedly racially harassed the woman and used a slur during the confrontation, according to the AG’s Office.
The Gruvers and Ridgway Real Estate are required to receive fair housing training that is provided by PHRC and abide by new fair housing policies, on top of paying $90,000.
“Housing discrimination prevents families from accessing a basic necessity — a comfortable, secure place to live — and has no place in the Commonwealth,” Attorney General Henry said. “Unfair screening methods and harassment against Pennsylvanians paying hard-earned dollars to live freely will not be tolerated, and offenders will be held accountable under our fair housing laws.”
Chad Dion Lassiter, Executive Director of the PHRC, said, “The PHRC is committed to fairly and impartially investigating complaints on behalf of complainants and respondents alike, and I applaud the AG’s office, the PHRC’s staff, and the respondents in this case for arriving at this resolution. Discrimination in all forms is not tolerated in Pennsylvania.”
Complaints were also filed with the PHRC by the Office of the Attorney General’s Civil Rights Enforcement Section.
This matter was handled by former Deputy Attorney General Catherine Twigg of the Office of Attorney General’s Civil Rights Enforcement Section, under the direction of Chief Deputy Attorney General Corbett Anderson. PHRC Deputy Chief Counsel Morgan Williams handled the matter on behalf of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission.