431 F.Supp. 34 (N.D.Ohio 1976), C75-486, Bishop v. Pecsok

Docket Nº:C75-486.
Citation:431 F.Supp. 34
Party Name:Benjamin BISHOP et al., Plaintiffs, v. William PECSOK, Defendant.
Case Date:June 18, 1976
Court:United States District Courts, 6th Circuit, Northern District of Ohio
 
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Page 34

431 F.Supp. 34 (N.D.Ohio 1976)

Benjamin BISHOP et al., Plaintiffs,

v.

William PECSOK, Defendant.

No. C75-486.

United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division.

June 18, 1976

Page 35

Avery S. Friedman, David L. Hoehnen, Cleveland, Ohio, for plaintiffs.

William B. Pecsok, Shaker Heights, Ohio, for defendant.

MEMORANDUM OF OPINION

MANOS, District Judge.

This case came for trial on the plaintiffs', Benjamin and Francene Bishop's, allegations that the defendant, William Pecsok, had denied them housing opportunities on the basis of race, thereby violating 42 U.S.C. ss 1981, 1982, 3604 and 3617. Jurisdiction is properly invoked under 28 U.S.C. s 1343(4), see, Jones v. Mayer Co., 392 U.S. 409, 88 S.Ct. 2186, 20 L.Ed.2d 1189 (1968), and 42 U.S.C. ss 3612 and 3617.

The Court, sitting without a jury, having heard the evidence of the witnesses, having examined the documentary evidence submitted by both parties and having heard the arguments of counsel, makes the following findings of fact and conclusions of law:

Findings of Fact

The plaintiffs Benjamin and Francene Bishop are husband and wife; Benjamin Bishop is white and Francene is black. During the period in question, May of 1975, Mr. Bishop was enrolled in the M.B.A. Program at Case Western Reserve University, as a scholarship student. While attending

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school he worked part-time. Mrs. Bishop was a student at Cleveland State University from which she had received several scholarships as well as financial aid. She worked part-time between January and May of 1975 and full time after graduating from college in June of 1975. The Bishops' combined earnings between January and May, 1975 were approximately $3,000. Their total earnings in 1975 were $9,663.62.

In April of 1975 Mr. Bishop looked at a vacant apartment in an apartment complex owned by the defendant, Mr. Pecsok. He telephoned Mr. Pecsok who told him the apartment was available for rental. A meeting was arranged between the Bishops and Mr. Pecsok for May 15, 1975, to sign a lease and to make a downpayment on Apartment Number 9. Before May 15 Mr. Pecsok had not met the Bishops in person. Defendant testified he knew that Mrs. Bishop was black prior to meeting her; this testimony was unsupported, and the court finds otherwise.

At the May 15 meeting the plaintiffs offered to rent the vacant apartment owned by Mr. Pecsok for the amount he quoted over the telephone. The defendant rejected the offer. The reasons he gave for his rejection were that he only rented to graduate students and to those who were financially able to pay the required rent of $165. He determined that the plaintiffs were unqualified under either standard. Defendant assumed this position despite being made aware of Mr. Bishop's enrollment in a graduate program and the impending full-time employment of Mrs. Bishop. After the defendant refused to rent them the apartment Mrs. Bishop inquired if her race had anything to do with his refusal. Mr. Pecsok said not necessarily. A long discussion of racial issues then took place, in which Mrs. Bishop was told by the defendant that blacks were responsible for most crime in America, that they should be shipped back to Africa, and that he, Mr. Pecsok, does not allow blacks in his building because their friends would hang around and terrorize the other tenants in the building. Mrs. Bishop stated that she was offended and deeply humiliated by the...

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