One Year Ago Today (August 6, 2021)…The U.S. Department of Justice announced that it has reached an agreement to resolve a lawsuit alleging that a MacArthur Park apartment building manager violated the federal Fair Housing Act by sexually harassing female tenants.
The settlement resolves claims against Filomeno Hernandez — as well as Ramin Akhavan, Bonnie Brae Investments LLC and Westlake Property Services LLC — which managed or owned the rental properties where the harassment took place, according to the DOJ.
Under the consent decree, which still must be approved by a Los Angeles federal judge, the defendants are required to pay a total of $105,000, which includes $100,000 in monetary damages to women who were harmed as a result of the sexual harassment, and a $5,000 civil penalty.
The consent decree also bars future discrimination, prevents Hernandez from participating in the rental or management of residential properties in the future, requires that Hernandez vacate the premises and leave his post as on-site property manager, mandates Fair Housing Act training and requires extensive monitoring and reporting regarding property management activities and compliance with the terms of the consent decree.
The DOJ’s lawsuit, filed in 2020, alleged that for more than a decade, Hernandez subjected female tenants to harassment that included unwanted sexual touching, including sexual assault, frequent unwelcome sexual advances and comments, offers to reduce rent or excuse late or unpaid rent in exchange for sex and unannounced visits to the homes of female tenants without their consent to make sexual advances.
The apartment buildings that Hernandez managed are located at 729 South Bonnie Brae St. and 720 Westlake Ave. in Los Angeles, near MacArthur Park.
“The right to be free from sexual harassment in one’s own home is a vital federal civil right,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Tracy L. Wilkison for the Central District of California. “This settlement shows our commitment to vigorously enforcing federal civil rights laws and holding accountable those who discriminate against others in violation of the Fair Housing Act.”