SEVEN POINTS, TX -- The Department of Housing and Urban Development issued a charge of discrimination in August against an Athens, TX, RV park owner after investigating a complaint by a transgender woman and her female partner who now live in Seven Points.
Natalie Chin, who is a teaching fellow at the Benjamin N. Cardoza School of Law in New York City, wrote the original Fair Housing Complaint on the behalf of complainant Roxanne Joganick for Lambda Legal before it was later amended to include Darlina Anthony. "The potential impact of this case is exciting," Chin said.
If the charge of discrimination is upheld in a federal administrative hearing or a U.S. federal district court the park owner could be fined $16,000 and be required to reimburse the complainants for damages. The damages could include moving expenses and compensation for emotional distress.
Joganik and Anthony said they lived in the park and paid $375 monthly rent from April 2011 to May 2012 without incident. Another person owned the park during that time, but Joganik never dressed as a woman in the common areas, they said. Joganik asked to be allowed to dress as a woman in the park, but permission was denied, according to the documents.
A spokeswoman for Texan RV Park in Athens said the owner would have no comment. Erich, the owner's lawyer, has not yet returned a telephone message left for him.
If the administrative hearing is chosen, the case could be wrapped up by the end of the year, but if they go to federal district court the trial might be two years away, according to the complainants.