Woman claims racial harassment, sues building
Published: November 30, 2012
A BLACK woman who alleges she was
harassed and threatened by a fellow tenant in a Carmel triplex
has filed a lawsuit against the building’s owner, realtor and
others alleging discrimination, fraud, negligence and a host of
In a lawsuit filed Nov. 15, Alexia Jones said that shortly
after moving into the triplex on Santa Fe Street in April 2010,
another tenant began “making discriminatory remarks toward
African-Americans,” and “abused and physically threatened” her.
But rather than suing the unnamed neighbor — referred to in the
lawsuit as the “other tenant” — Jones is suing everyone
associated with the building, including the owner, alleging they
were aware of the other tenant’s behavior and failed to stop it.
“Defendants created a hostile, discriminatory and harassing
housing environment,” according to Jones’ 24-page lawsuit filed
in Monterey County Superior Court.
Jones is suing the building’s owner, Katherine Congdon, and its
former managers, Jerry Warner and Patrick Baker, and the company
they worked for, Carmel Rentals.
Jones claims Carmel Rentals “suppressed” information about the
other tenant’s history of harassing and abusing other tenants in
the triplex. Warner declined to comment since he hadn’t yet been
served with the suit.
Jones also claims that when she moved into the $1,400-per-month
apartment, she noticed “defective conditions” and notified the
landlord. But, she said, her requests were either ignored or
“were not responded to adequately or in a timely manner,”
forcing her to “make repairs herself.”
Jones alleges the apartment was not habitable and posed
dangerous conditions including broken pipes, flooding, rat and
flea infestation, toxic mold, lack of heat and hot water and
“lack of water supply.”
Jones said she told Carmel Rentals of the conditions but that
they failed to correct the problems while continuing to collect
her monthly rent payments.
In October 2011, at Jones’ behest, an inspector with the
Monterey County Health Department inspected the apartment and
later cited Congdon with a compliance order for several building
and municipal code violations, according to the lawsuit.
After Jones’ complaints to the health department, Congdon tried
to evict Jones in December 2011, saying she hadn’t paid rent.
Congdon couldn’t be reached for comment.
In February of this year, while Jones said she was being
treated in the hospital, Congdon changed the locks to her
apartment, and discarded and/or damaged her possessions,
forcibly evicting her, which Jones alleges was “retaliatory
eviction,” according to the suit.
Jones also contends her eviction was based on her race and
“disability,” which she describes in the suit as hypokalemic
periodic paralysis, a condition that “causes her to become
temporarily paralytic while still conscious.”
Besides suffering damages including medical expenses, damage
and loss of personal property, moving and storage costs, Jones
claims she suffered grief, humiliation and embarrassment. She is
also seeking punitive damages, claiming some of the defendants
are guilty of “oppression and malice.”
Jones also alleges invasion of privacy and public disclosure of
private facts against Alain Pinel Realtors and two of its
agents, Jamal Noorzoy and Greg Albertson.
Alain Pinel, which had contracted with Congdon to sell the triplex, took pictures of Jones’ personal photographs, family heirlooms and “intimate personal items” and posted them on a website to show the building to prospective buyers.
While Jones claims she gave Alain Pinel permission to take
pictures of the apartment, she requested photos of her personal
items not be posted on the website. Jones said she made requests
to have the photos removed, but they remained on the Internet
five months later. As a result, Jones said she sustained “severe
mental pain and suffering.”
Alain Pinel owner Judy Profeta said she hasn’t been served with
the lawsuit, but told The Pine Cone “when we list properties, we
always take a photo of the interior for marketing purposes.”
The case is set for an April 2013 case management conference.