Lassen County property managers face federal Civil Rights Act charges

The United States Attorney General’s Office has filed a complaint against Eagle Lake property managers Joel Lynn Nolen, Shirley Nolen and Nolen Properties, LLC alleging violations of provisions of Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, also known as the Fair Housing Act.

According to the complaint filed in the United States District Court Eastern District of California, the Nolens, residents of Tracy, California who also maintain a residence near Eagle Lake, operated a property management company at 510-425 Stones Road that dissolved Dec. 23, 2015.

According to the complaint, Joel Nolen owned and managed at least 60 residential and rental properties in Lassen County as well as other properties in San Joaquin County. The Lassen County properties include single-family homes, apartments, duplexes, a mobile home part, mobile homes and mobile home lot spaces, including the Sleepy Hollow Mobile Home Park on Ash Street in Susanville, property at 525 Wildwood Way in Susanville, 463-970 Main St. in Janesville, 464-390 S. Church St. in Janesville and 609 Juniper St. in Susanville.

According to the complaint, “During part or all of the period of time relevant to this action, defendant Shirlee Nolen co-owned most or all of the subject properties, including but not limited to, the real estate located at 2000 Ash St. in Susanville, 463-970 Main St. in Janesville, 609 Juniper St. in Susanville, 464-390 S. Church St. in Janesville and 525 Wildwood Way in Susanville. During part or all of the period of time relevant to this action, defendant Nolen Properties, LLC owned or co-owned some of the subject properties, including but not limited to 525 Wildwood Way in Susanville.

According to the complaint, from at least 2011 and continuing to the present, Joel Nolen allegedly subjected tenants of the subject properties to discrimination on the basis of sex, including severe, pervasive, and unwelcome sexual harassment.

Defendant Joel Nolen’s conduct has included, but is not limited to: demanding that female tenants engage in sexual acts with him in order to postpone or terminate eviction proceedings or forgive missed or late rental payments; offering to grant tangible housing benefits, such as waiving or reducing rent payments or deposit amounts, or providing repairs and maintenance, to female tenants in exchange for sexual acts; refusing to provide needed maintenance services or otherwise taking adverse housing actions, or threatening to take such actions, against female tenants who objected to his unwelcome sexual harassment or who refused to engage in sexual acts with him; subjecting female tenants to unwelcome sexual acts, including intercourse and oral sex; subjecting female tenants to unwelcome touching and groping, including touching their breasts and buttocks; making unwelcome sexual advances or unwelcome sexual comments, including invitations to engage in or provide sexual acts, to female tenants; menacing female tenants by entering their homes without their permission and with no apparent legitimate reason to do so; attempting to kiss female tenants; soliciting nude photographs or photographs of intimate body parts of female tenants; and taking adverse housing actions, such as refusing to rent, delaying or refusing to make repairs, serving eviction notices, or initiating eviction proceedings, against female tenants who rejected his sexual advances.

The prosecutors ask the court to enter an order that: declares that the defendants’ discriminatory practices violate the Fair Housing Act; enjoins the defendants, their agents, employees, successors, and all other persons or entities in active concert or participation with them from: discriminating on the basis of sex, including engaging in sexual harassment, in any aspect of the sale or rental of a dwelling; discriminating on the basis of sex in the terms, conditions, or privileges of the sale or rental of a dwelling, or in the provision of services or facilities in connection therewith; making statements with respect to the sale or rental of a dwelling that indicate a preference, limitation, or discrimination based on sex; coercing, intimidating, threatening, interfering with, or threatening to take any action against any person engaged in the exercise or enjoyment of, or on account of their having exercised or enjoyed, rights granted or protected by the Fair Housing Act; failing or refusing to take such affirmative steps as may be necessary to restore, as nearly as practicable, aggrieved persons affected by the defendants’ past unlawful practices to the position they would have been in but for the discriminatory conduct; and failing or refusing to take such affirmative steps as may be necessary to prevent the recurrence of any discriminatory conduct in the future; awards monetary damages to each person aggrieved by the defendants’ conduct; assesses civil penalties against the defendants in order to vindicate the public interest; and awards such additional relief as the interests of justice may require.