State lawsuit: Handy man illegally booted from apartment over marital status

Tribune reporter

The state is suing a Christian housing development nonprofit for allegedly refusing to let a new hire live in one of its West Side units with a woman whom he hadn’t married.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Cook County Court, accuses Lawndale Christian Development Corporation, the complex’s property management company and a partnership that includes Lawndale of unlawful real estate discrimination based on the man’s marital status.

The suit says Lawndale Christian was the “managing member” of the partnership that owned King Legacy Apartments.

Under the Illinois Human Rights Act, housing providers can’t discriminate against people on the basis of marital status in real estate transactions.

The claim, filed by Attorney General Lisa Madigan, alleges that the director of Lawndale Christian violated the recently hired maintenance worker’s civil rights when the director told him that she wouldn’t condone him living with a female companion he hadn’t married.

The maintenance worker was later terminated from his job and given two weeks to leave his apartment in the 3800 block of West 16th Street, according to the lawsuit. The state says the worker moved into the apartment complex as a condition of his employment.

The suit asks for $10,000 in civil penalties, civil rights training for the defendants and possible damages for the plaintiff.

Attempts to reach Lawndale Christian officials Tuesday evening weren’t immediately successful. According to its website, the nonprofit was founded by a church and aims to bring “holistic revitalization” to its community.

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