Beaver Falls woman claims eviction was racially motivated

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Claiming that she was evicted from an apartment because her children are biracial, a Beaver Falls woman today sued her former landlord under the Fair Housing Act.

The landlord, though, claimed that he granted a lease after seeing the children, but the family ended up being too loud.

Plaintiff Mary Downey claimed in the lawsuit that landlord Sam Presutti rented her an apartment in Industry, but added a plank to her lease that read: “If children cause too much noise for the people upstairs, lease will be terminated."

After neighbors saw her biracial daughters, ages 8 and 11, according to the complaint, they complained and Mr. Presutti told her to vacate within 30 days.

Mr. Presutti delivered a notice saying he had received "many complaints about all the noise caused by your children and the slamming of doors and the TV blasting, shaking the floor upstairs, children jumping up and down and pounding on the walls," according to the complaint.

The complaint by Southwestern PA Legal Services claims that Ms. Downey was discriminated against because her daughters are biracial, and because one has autism.

Mr. Presutti denied that in an interview.

“The first time she came for the application, the biracial children were with her. I said there’s no problem," he said. But, he added, "She had people coming and going all hours of the night, and the [other] tenants were complaining about it.”

He said Ms. Downey was the subject of numerous legal actions filed by prior landlords.


Rich Lord: rlord@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1542. Twitter: @richelord.

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