Federal authorities say a Minneapolis landlord has agreed to pay $37,000 to a tenant and her attorney for allegedly trying to coerce sexual favors from her in exchange for cheaper rent.
The landlord will also temporarily turn over management of his residential properties to someone else.
David Sheets has denied the allegations but has signed on to a conciliation agreement to settle a complaint the woman filed with U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the agency announced Thursday.
"Being asked to submit to unwelcome sexual advances not only creates a hostile living environment, it's against the law," Anna María Farías, HUD's assistant secretary for fair housing and equal opportunity, said in a statement accompanying the settlement announcement.
The woman, whose identity is not being disclosed by HUD, told the agency that Sheets requested sex from her numerous times while offering to reduce the rent on her apartment.
Sheets has agreed to pay $30,000 to the woman and $7,000 to her attorney, HUD said.
He also must pay for a third-party real estate management company to operate all of his residential properties for the next five years.
Joel Van Nurden, Sheets' attorney, said Friday it was "quite unfair" that HUD issued a news release announcing the agreement while he cannot address the specifics because of a confidentiality document that his client and the woman signed.
Van Nurden emphasized that Sheets disputes the woman's claims.
In April 2018, HUD and the U.S. Justice Department began a joint nationwide initiative to combat sexual harassment in housing by increasing public awareness and encouraging the reporting of such behavior.
Anyone who suspects they have experienced discrimination can file a complaint by contacting HUD's Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at 1-800-669-9777.