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Belfast landlords win human rights case November 4, 2006

Posted by C.A.R.D in Belfast, Card, Case, Children, Citizens Against Racism and Discrimination, Discrimination, Human Rights, Human Rights Commission, Landlord, Win.

AUGUSTA — Two Belfast landlords won dismissal Monday of a complaint that accused them of discrimination against a tenant family with a mentally handicapped daughter.


The state Human Rights Commission adopted the recommendation of the commission investigator in the case of Misty Steenwyk against Nelson and Ola Hill Wight.

“The commission felt there were no reasonable grounds to believe unlawful discrimination occurred,” said Patricia Ryan, executive director.

Trudie and Douglas Steenwyk had alleged that the Wights evicted them from their apartment last winter after Trudie’s adult daughter Misty moved in with the Steenwyk’s and their two younger children. The lease didn’t limit the number of occupants.

The Steenwyks said the eviction amounted to discrimination on the basis of mental disability and familial status.

The family moved into another apartment and returned later to clean the old one and found the heat had been turned down to 45 degrees. The Steenwyks accused the Wights of harassment.

The Wights denied it was discrimination or harassment. They said they evicted the family because the addition of a fifth person to the apartment would overload the septic system, according to the report from investigator Barbara Lelli. They also said the Steenwyks violated the rental agreement by taking Misty in without their permission.

The landlords said they had a son and a daughter with mental disabilities and Mrs. Wight is a registered nurse who has worked with the mentally impaired.

The heat was turned down to conserve energy, the Wights said.

Lelli issued a report in August, recommending dismissal.

“The evidence in this case does not support a finding of disability or familial status harassment,” she concluded.

The commission acted at its Oct. 30 meeting, following Lelli’s recommendation that the complaint be dismissed, according to Ryan.

Source: Maine Coast Now

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