Archive for Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Landlord balks at paying damages

October 26, 2005


A judge has ordered a Lawrence landlord to pay more than $110,000 for refusing to rent to an unmarried interracial couple in 2002.

But when reached by cell phone Tuesday, 85-year-old landlord Rex Youngquist refused to answer "yes" or "no" to the question of whether he intended to pay the damages.

"What difference does it make to you?" he asked. "I don't know how I could possibly be expected to pay anything, do you?"

Jurors in May found that Youngquist and two of his daughters committed illegal housing discrimination by refusing to rent to Adrienne Morales, who is Hispanic, and Wayne Jackson, who is black, at Villa 26 Townhomes, 2109 W. 26th St.

One of the daughters, apartment manager Lynne Sander, testified it was because the Lord had recently told her not to rent to unmarried couples. But unmarried white couples were allowed to keep renting in the complex.

In a ruling released Tuesday in District Court, Judge Stephen Six ordered Youngquist to pay $75,000 in punitive damages. The amount was calculated based on factors including Youngquist's attitude - which Six described as a "lack of interest in preventing discrimination" - and his financial condition.

Six wrote that Youngquist never has had training in fair-housing laws and didn't seek out information about fair housing after the incident.

"Why do I have to take advice from anybody? I'm an American, born an American," Youngquist said. "I don't think I discriminate against anybody. It's not in my blood."

Youngquist said he believed the case against him was "ridiculous" and that the trial was heard by "a stacked jury."

Youngquist refused to hand over information about his finances after the jury verdict, but Six found there was enough evidence to show that he "is a wealthy person" - with vacation homes in South America, oil investments in Texas and one floor of a high-rise building in Panama.

The judge added a $1,000 sanction against Youngquist for not providing information about his finances.

Six found that apartment manager Sander "made some attempt to learn about fair housing issues" after the incident, and he ordered her to pay $1,000 in punitive damages.

Youngquist's other daughter, Gail Youngquist, who was a co-owner of the complex, was not ordered to pay punitive damages.

Six also ordered the defendants to pay $35,000 total in attorneys' fees incurred by the city's Human Relations Commission, which brought the lawsuit on behalf of the couple.

The total amount of legal fees sought by the city was roughly $58,000, which was the amount billed by attorneys Bruce Plenk and Max Kautsch.

Morales and Jackson couldn't be reached Tuesday for comment.

Kautsch said it was too early to tell exactly how the award would be divided between the city and the couple.


miniflavors 12 years, 7 months ago

Good for Ms. Morales and Mr. Jackson. This kind of crap has got to stop. And GOOD for you Judge Six... The wallet is always a great place to start.... Maybe the Younquist family will think twice before doing this again. And as for Lynne Sanders..... She better go do some real soul searching and BIBLE reading..... If she would of done that in the first place...She would of know that the LORD does not work this way.... GOOD LUCK TO BOTH MORALES AND JACKSON... Great Job..... Sincerely a Friend Melody

Solti 12 years, 7 months ago

This whole thing is sad! Everything these days is about "fairness" and whether or not everyone is treated properly! How childish! Life is never fair. I feel bad for landlords who must abide by rules that rub that concept in! It is THEIR property...why shouldn't they be choosy!? If I were renting a room in my own house, would I have to abide by that too!? WOW!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 7 months ago

The rules are different if it's a room in your house, but if you don't then you can't discriminate on the basis of race. Maybe you find the rules requiring fairness to be unfair, but this isn't apartheid South Africa, and Jim Crow laws are no longer allowed in this country. WOW!

craigers 12 years, 7 months ago

miniflavors, no the Lord doesn't work that way, but he wouldn't put up an unmarried couple in the same apartment either. He doesn't endorse fornication or condone it for that matter. After hearing the facts from the LJWorld, then i can see how the discrimination came out of it. However, the punitive damages are bogus and making them pay for the lawyer fees, come on. If they didn't want to rent to you, then go someplace else where your money will be appreciated. Their emotional or whatever damages they got the punitive award for, I seriously doubt is worth $75,000. Sounds like somebody smelled the opportunity for some easy money to me.

robinrander 12 years, 7 months ago

Good. Get them. Twice even. Though, as a former tenant, I'm suprised to learn about this policy. Especially considering that Villa 26 had no problem with me, as a white woman, living with large numbers of Brown Recluse Spiders. Doesn't that count as interracial?

christie 12 years, 7 months ago

Get real here folks. This guy has lived the American Dream and has taken advantage of every tax break known to man. That being said, he can't pick and choose which laws to follow.

I say sell his properties to pay that fine. These people need to be run out of town. These fine 'christian' people. They make me want to puke.

That lady needs to be in a mental institution. The 'LORD' told her???

bankboy119 12 years, 7 months ago

Yeah even if the Lord told her then they can't just abide by it for interracial couples or even just minorities. It has to apply to the majority too. It is kind of funny that the LJW says that unmarried white couples were STILL allowed to rent there...does that mean they were there before they decided to not rent to unmarried couples? That would be hard to if they had had another unmarried interracial couple there this would have been a whole new case.

Piper180 12 years, 7 months ago

Rosa Parks could have just stood up too! She could have looked for another seat (substitute apartment or diner or hotel). In the 1970's, we would have faced a civil war, if not for the non-violent resolution of our racial issues. Non-violent meaning peaceful protest, a lot of speeches, and the enactment of laws that protect everyone. The Fair Housing Act is one of those laws. One of our government's primary purposes is to protect its citizens. Whether it is a consumer protection law, anti-trust, food and drug standard, or housing regulation, if you want to be in business, you must know and abide by the law.

avhjmlk 12 years, 7 months ago

If you click on the "Internet Enhanced" article titled "Jury finds landlords discriminated based on race (05-13-05)," you'll see that they rented to 5 unmarried white couples in the same year, but would not rent to this unmarried interracial couple. Looks like discrimination to me.

And, as for paying attorney fees, that's pretty common in civil cases. The general idea is that the victim shouldn't have to pay for something that never should have happened to them (ie, they never should have been discriminated against, so they never should have had to hire attorneys).

Jamesaust 12 years, 7 months ago

"What difference does it make to you?" Youngquist said.

This above-scrutiny attitude seems to be the foundation of all the problems that followed for this individual.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 12 years, 7 months ago

I used to live in Villa 26. I feel sorry for the old man. He's old and confused and lets his grandchildren manage the apartments for him... he really wasn't directly involved in the decision to discriminate. He's just an old grand-dad who loves his grandchildren too much to know that they are mismanaging the assets he worked so hard to get. He lives on site, yet he's an "absentee landlord".

His lame family got him in deep. He's not the main perpetrator, but when the LJWorld calls to ask questions, he gets to answer the phone. He should just say "I'll pay the fine with the inheritance my grandchildren are no longer getting".

carlwhoishot 12 years, 7 months ago

Last time I checked, Lawrence is still in America. Unless this landlord is participating in a federal housing discount program or receiving certain tax breaks, he should be able to refuse service to anyone on any grounds he sees fit. Sure discrimination is wrong, but it is not right to pull money out of this individual's pocket because he does not agree with the majority. There is a simple and lawful way to take this person's money. DO NOT OFFER HIM YOUR BUSINESS!

princess 12 years, 7 months ago

Let's not let this delve into the usual Rep. vs. Dem., Left vs. Right foolishness that tends to rear it's ugly head into almost every discussion on these forums please.

Before my husband and I were married, we had landlords who didn't want to rent to us. We were young as well so I am sure that added greatly to it. However, none of them told me that the Lord had told them not to do so. Then to find out that other unwed couples were renting there? I would have even thought that something was rotten in Denmark.

I really do think that the amount of punitive damages is excessive. However, if Mr. Youngquist had been more forthcoming and cooperative with the judge in this case I think that he could have saved himself a considerable amount of money. I am surprised that his counsel didn't advise him that cooperating would be in his best interest.

Unless....he is far more wealthy then it appears. In which case, he might have gotten off lightly. Guess we don't get to know.

princess 12 years, 7 months ago

Age begets immunity?

I am sorry, but that is a weak argument.

Jamesaust 12 years, 7 months ago

I must chuckle every time someone trots out "this is America" as a proxy for 'I can do whatever the hell I want.' There is no such provision in our constitutional system for that. My own more libertarian-like nature questions the effectiveness of such 'protection' via fair housing laws. Nevertheless, they are fully constitutional. Mr. Youngquist is not being punished for his opinions but rather his actions. Fair housing policies have been the law for many decades now, not something recently dreamed up by the politically correct crowd. If Mr. Youngquist found that these policies conflicted with his personal beliefs, he was welcome to divist himself from the housing business and place his assets elsewhere. Nor was there any other explanation (other than a disproven excuse about unmarried couples) offered at trial. In recent years, there's been an emergence of those claiming some exemption based on personal beliefs when performing public functions. There of course is all the difference in the world between government forcing someone to do something that is against their personal beliefs versus accomodating someone who chooses to accept all the benefits of public involvement but a lesser percentage of the responsibilities. Personal approval and public accomodation are not the same thing.

Amanda Isaacks Doleman 12 years, 7 months ago

offtotheright- You are a racist pig. All you know about this couple is that they are black and mexican and not married. This is why you wouldn't rent to them??? You are also ASSuming that they were pregnant. What difference this would make is beyond me- but for the record, they are 9 months pregnant right now. This was over 2 years ago you idiot!!

roosterboy82 12 years, 7 months ago

I had a friend try to rent there, she is white, her boyfriend is white and her son is white....and she was told that she couldn't rent there b/c she was unmarried. It really made her feel like CRAP!!

dex 12 years, 7 months ago

so is it "fair" to discriminate on the basis of being married or not? it's certainly legal but it seems that according to the law, some discrimination is more fair than others. what a shame. in order for the law to be fair, we should outlaw all discrimination entirely so that landlords MUST rent to anybody with money thus taking away the landlord's rights to their own property or we could allow all discriminaton in that a landlord can do with their property as they see fit.

the law doesn't have anything to do with being fair.

Harry_Manback 12 years, 7 months ago

This pales in comparison to what this couple went through, but there are other landlords in lawrence who discriminate as well. 2 years ago 2 other girls and I were looking for a home to rent. We called this one landlord about a home, and he asked if we'd have any men living with us. When I said no, he said he wouldn't be able to rent to us because the yard was too large for 3 girls to keep up!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 12 years, 7 months ago

The landlord does have the right to choose who they rent to-- just not soley on the basis of race, which is what happened here.

Jamesaust 12 years, 7 months ago

My libertarian-like nature makes me agree that the property owner should be able to veto any renter even if for racist reasons.

My justice-seeking nature makes me point out that if the property owner wishes to live outside the law, the rest of us have a right to deny him the protections of that law. Let him try to evict armed squatters without the sheriff. Let him try to protect his property without the assistance of the law. Let him try to pass ownership onto his heirs without the judiciary. In short, if a man seeks to live outside of the King's justice, then God help that man (he'll need it).

jepeterzon 12 years, 7 months ago

Today in our country we prosecute men who we believe may have committed wrongdoing. Today in our country what is wrong today may not be wrong tomorrow, and what is right today may be wrong tomorrow. Today, we feel safe because we prosecute many, more in fact than all of Europe combined. We will make mistakes, no doubt, so we pretend it is better to take the liberty of innocent men than to let some who have done wrong walk free until their guilt is proven. This is what our actions dictate, this is what occurs more frequently in America than the beating of our own heart. We have forgotten the legacy our fathers left with us, our own freedom, our own sovereignty. So it is on Earth as it is in Heaven, that there shall be Sovereigns and slaves, Rulers and citizens. The slaves have not been freed, slavery is alive and well in each and every enslaved mind. We can do all things, but we do little. Though the apostle Paul said "How dare you go to law before unbelievers" and "why not just let yourselves be cheated" yet we go before the unrighteous and plead with them. When our brothers will not partake in the crimes and sin of the court we ridicule them and label them rebels. With our mouths we say there is no grace in an eye for an eye, but in practice we take a heart for a hangnail, great wealth for the denial of an apartment. It should be apparent there was not an iota of real proof in this case, just a few circumstances cleverly twisted, packaged, and presented as truth. We do not battle flesh and blood in this world, but principalities and powers of darkness. The greed and folly of men is and will continue to be. Woe to the men who insist on partaking in it. Do not be led astray like sheep who cannot see outside the flock. Truly greed and deceit have reigned free, sanctioned by the judges and court jesters. When a man who has done no harm is harmed by the sanctions of the court it is the court who has committed the crime. Is it so difficult to see that he who does no harm is the victim of he who does harm? Step out of the matrix and stop following blind guides, stand up for what you can be and what this country should be.

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