DOJ files sex harassment lawsuit against Minnesota rental property owners

The suit alleges a property manager sexually harassed female tenants.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

The Department of Justice has filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against the owners of a number of rental properties in the Twin Cities area, alleging they subjected female tenants to "sexually hostile housing environments."

The lawsuit has been filed against Reese and Jeanne Pfeiffer, Michael Fruen, and Jeremy Martineau and their companies Fruen & Pfeiffer LLP, and M. Fruen Properties.

The DOJ is alleging that they violated the Fair Housing Act due to "sexual harassment and discriminatory conduct against vulnerable tenants."

The complaint alleges that Reese Pfeiffer "commented on female tenants’ looks and body parts, engaged in unwelcome touching, asked personal questions about their relationship status, made unwelcome sexual advances, discussed sexual topics without consent, and entered their homes under the pretense of collecting rent to solicit sexual favors."

Reese Pfeiffer act as the property manager for numerous single-family and multi-family rental homes in Minneapolis and the surrounding suburb.

The complaint argues that the other defendants, Jeanne Pfeiffer, Fruen, and Martineau, and their business entities are "vicariously liable" for Reese Pfeiffer's alleged conduct, because he acted as their agent when he harassed the tenants at properties in "which they had an ownership interest."

Minnesota U.S. Attorney Erica MacDonald said they will be seeking to stop the harassment, compensate the victims, and issue financial penalties.

"The U.S. Attorney’s Office will not tolerate this type of discrimination and stands ready to deploy all available enforcement tools to see that justice is served," MacDonald said.

Sign up for our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

Next Up

Ian Cole

Wild trade Greg Pateryn to Avalanche for Ian Cole

Cole won a pair of Stanley Cups in Pittsburgh and is a former first-round pick.

1024px-Hudson,_Wisconsin_9

St. Croix County GOP chair resigns after incendiary post on official website

John Kraft sparked controversy with his 'Prepare for War' post on the party website earlier this month.

ann kim

Ann Kim's new restaurant, Sooki & Mimi, to open in February

The James Beard Award winner is the brains behind Young Joni, Pizzeria Lola, and Hello Pizza.

Screen Shot 2021-01-19 at 1.32.19 PM

Firefighters rescue worker after trench fall in Rochester

The construction worker fell about 15 feet.

gray wolf

Grand Marais mayor's dog survives attack by wolves

He heard his 65-pound dog "screaming bloody murder" and then saw the wolves chasing her.

Screen Shot 2021-01-19 at 12.04.55 PM

Minnesota's COVID vaccine appointment site goes live

Huge demand was expected when the site went live at noon.

emily ford

Duluth woman is hiking 1,000-plus miles on the Ice Age Trail this winter

She could be the second person ever to finish a winter-thru hike of the Wisconsin trail.

coronavirus, covid-19, icu

Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Tuesday, January 19

Two days in a row with fewer than 1,000 new cases.

Screen Shot 2021-01-19 at 10.52.12 AM

After fire destroyed their house, couple forced to euthanize beloved dog

The couple's daughter has launched a fundraiser for her parents.

Screen Shot 2021-01-19 at 10.16.14 AM

Investigation after teacher accused of lewd act during distance learning

No charges have been filed yet and the staff member has not been identified.

Related

Screen Shot 2020-02-28 at 7.44.12 AM

Court orders school to take action on sex harassment, bullying by students

The high school in Plymouth was being sued for ignoring complaints of sexual harassment.

Jason Lewis' 2011 comments about sex harassment victims under scrutiny

The 2nd District congressman made light of harassment allegations.

Screen Shot 2019-10-10 at 11.46.15 AM

Ex-employees and customers accuse Urban Bean owner of harassment, bullying

Greg Martin is the subject of allegations by former employees and customers on social media.

No charges to be filed against Chinese billionaire accused of sex assault

The Hennepin County Attorney said it couldn't meet the burden of proof.

Accused lawmaker was warned about sex harassment, former House speaker says

A House colleague and a lobbyist have accused Cornish of sex harassment.

Rick Nolan faces calls to resign after sex harassment claims against ex-staffer

An activist group is calling on Nolan to step down from the gubernatorial race.

the mayo clinic - edit

Mayo Clinic saw increase in victims reporting sexual harassment when #MeToo started

From September 2017-September 2019, 153 sexual harassment allegations were filed, and 88 were substantiated.