Wichita landlord accused of pushing tenants for sex
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit accusing a Wichita property manager of inappropriately touching female tenants and repeatedly asking them for sex in exchange for rent.
The department said Monday that the federal lawsuit is the result of two complaints that former tenants filed with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Wichita Eagle reported . It alleges that two women at Wichita rental properties suffered “egregious sexual harassment and retaliation in violation of the federal Fair Housing Act.”
According to the lawsuit, Thong Cao owned and operated several rental properties and “controlled or had the power to control” all aspects of the properties’ management.
The suit alleges that Cao sexually harassed the two tenants from at least 2010 until 2014, “making unwelcome sexual advances and comments, engaging in unwanted sexual touching and evicting tenants who refused to engage in sexual conduct with him.”
One of the women moved to a property owned by Cao in 2010, according to the lawsuit. She alleges that Cao entered her unit uninvited, touched her inappropriately and told her she would not have to pay rent if she slept with him weekly. She said she received an eviction notice for failure to pay rent after refusing Cao’s advances and moved out in June 2014.
A second woman signed a lease in early 2014, according to the lawsuit. She filed a police report against Cao later that year and told officers that Cao was asking for sex in exchange for rent, the lawsuit contends.
Along with Thong Cao, the lawsuit also names Mai Cao, Van T. Le and Tong Nguyen as the defendants. The Justice Department said each defendant owns or owned the properties where the harassment occurred and bear liability for the alleged discrimination.
Defense attorney Ed Robinson said the Caos deny the allegations, and that the tenants are fabricating claims for financial gain.
Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, http://www.kansas.com