Justice Department settles sexual harassment, race discrimination lawsuit against owners of Harrisonburg rental properties

Justice Department settles sexual harassment, race discrimination lawsuit against owners of Harrisonburg rental properties
For Rent sign (Source: WAFF)

HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) — A manager of rental properties in and around Harrisonburg will pay $335,000 to resolve allegations that he sexually harassed multiple female tenants and discriminated in housing on the basis of race in violation of the federal Fair Housing Act.

According to a press release from the United States Department of Justice, Gary T. Price, together with other rental property owners Alberta Lowery and GTP Investment Properties, LLC, will pay $330,000 to compensate eight victims of discrimination. They will additionally pay $5,000 as a civil penalty to vindicate the public interest.

In the press release, it is alleged that Price violated the Fair Housing Act by making unwelcome sexual comments and advances towards female tenants, offering housing benefits in exchange for sexual acts and taking or threatening adverse housing actions against women who refused his demands.

The complaint also alleges that Price violated the Act by using racial slurs with respect to tenants and tenants' guests and by prohibiting or attempting to prohibit tenants from entertaining African American guests in their homes because of their race.

Alberta Lowery and GTP Investment Properties, LLC are named as defendants in the lawsuit because they are owners of properties at which the discriminatory conduct took place, and Price was acting as their agent.

“No woman should ever have to endure abusive and demeaning sexual harassment to secure housing for herself or her family, nor should any individual be subjected to vile racial harassment or other race discrimination related to housing,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division in the press release.

Copyright 2020 WHSV. All rights reserved.