MUSKEGON, Mich. (WOOD) — A landlord in Muskegon who was accused of sexually harassing his tenants will have to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to alleged victims and the federal government.
The U.S. Justice Department announced Thursday that it had come to an agreement in the lawsuit against Darrell Jones, a Muskegon landlord who the department alleges violated the Fair Housing Act by sexually harassing females who were renting from him. Fatima Jones and Jones Investing, LLC, which owned the properties along with Jones, is a defendant in the case as well.
The June 2020 lawsuit claims that for at least 12 years, Jones had harassed female tenants by making repeated unwelcome sexual comments, touching them without consent and demanding sexual acts in exchange for rent and housing benefits. If the females resisted, or complained about him, Jones would take “adverse actions” against them, U.S. attorneys said.
The agreement still must be approved by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan. Once approved, Jones and the company will have to pay $155,000 to tenants who claimed they were harassed and a $10,000 civil penalty to the federal government.
Jones and Fatima Jones and Jones Investing, LLC must get an independent property manager to run the properties during the consent order, go through fair housing training and put in place non-discriminatory policies and complaint procedures at their properties to prevent sexual harassment in the future.