MILWAUKEE, Wis. (WFRV) – A recently filed lawsuit by The Justice Department alleges that the owner and managers of a Wisconsin rental property harassed a tenant for multiple reasons including his sexual orientation.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Justice, it has joined The Justice Department in announcing the filing of a lawsuit alleging that the owner and manager of a rental property in Milwaukee harassed a tenant because of his sex. This reportedly included his sexual orientation and his disability.

The lawsuit was filed on September 9 and alleges that Dennis Parker subjected a gay tenant with a disability to unwelcome harassment. The alleged harassment was both verbal and through text messages during the tenant’s residency in 2020 and 2021.

It was also mentioned that Parker allegedly hit the tenant in the groin and threatened to evict him in retaliation for reporting the incident to the authorities.

The tenant ended up moving out of the property and filed a complaint with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Following an investigation, the HUD determined that the defendants discriminated against the tenant and issued a charge of discrimination.

HUD then referred the matter to the Justice Department after the tenant chose to have the matter decided in federal court.

“We stand ready to use our civil rights laws to combat all forms of sexual harassment in housing, including harassment based on sexual orientation or gender identity,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.

The following were also named as defendants:

  • Leaf Property Investments LLC
    • Which owns the property
  • Sam Leaf
    • Who manages the property

Parker reportedly managed the property on behalf of the defendants.

“No tenant should have to choose between having a stable residence or enduring sexual harassment from their landlord or property manager,” said U.S Attorney Richard G. Frohling for the Eastern District of Wisconsin.

The lawsuit is seeking an order that would require the defendants to pay monetary damages to the tenant and stop discrimination against any tenant based on sex and disability.