Coakley gets settlement with property management company

Nick Rees Dec. 16, 2009, 4:39pm


BOSTON (Legal Newsline) - A consent judgment has been obtained by Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley's office against a property management company and its former manager to resolve allegations that they violated state anti-discrimination laws.

Cornerstone Corporation and former manager Linda Evans were alleged to have falsely accused a foster parent of operating a day-care business out of her home and subsequently attempting to evict her.

"It is a violation of state and federal law to discriminate against foster parents or anyone else based on the composition of one's family," Coakley said.

"Foster parents serve a critical need in providing and supporting the care, welfare, and safety of children across the Commonwealth."

The tenant, according to the commonwealth's July 24 complaint, had been a licensed foster parent in Massachusetts since 1991 and had live in Roxse Homes with her family since 2006.

Cornerstone manages the 346 unit Roxse Homes residential housing development in Boston. The complaint alleges that, despite knowing that the tenant was a licensed foster parent, Cornerstone and Evans accused her falsely of operating a day-care center out of her apartment, twice threatening to evict the tenant and her family unless such activity was ceased.

It is illegal, under state and federal law, to discriminate against a person based on his or her familial status, including foster parent relationships.

Under terms of the consent judgment, entered by Suffolk Superior Court Judge Linda Giles, Cornerstone and Evans will pay $15,000 to the Commonwealth with $10,000 suspending pending compliance by the defendants with the terms of the consent judgment.

The defendants are barred from further discrimination by the consent judgment, which requires that all Cornerstone employees receive training no state and federal fair housing laws. Cornerstone is also required to adopt comprehensive non-discrimination policies by the judgment. A separate agreement entered into by the defendants requires them to pay the victim $30,864.08.

The defendants are also required by the consent judgment to acknowledge that being a foster parent does not constitute operating a day-care business and to conduct a thorough and documented factual investigation prior to accusing a resident of violating a lease provision.

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