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Black man reaches settlement with Southland property owner


Landlord accused of racial discrimination

The California Civil Rights Dept. and a Black man who alleges he was subjected to ongoing discrimination after leasing a room in San Diego County have reached a settlement of a lawsuit in which the property owner will pay $20,000 and take anger management and fair housing training.

On Aug. 9, Los Angeles Superior Court Malcolm Mackey signed an order in which he will retain jurisdiction of the case in order to enforce the terms of the accord. The tenant, Abdifatah Abdullahi, was represented by the Legal Aid Society of San Diego Inc., and in March the judge ruled that Abdullahi could intervene in the CRD complaint brought last Oct. 31 against the Peter F. DeLuke trust.

The Legal Aid Society’s “complaint in intervention” filed Feb. 6 alleged Abdullahi experienced discrimination, harassment and retaliation throughout his tenancy because of his race.

In court papers filed Jan. 12 on his own behalf, landlord Peter F. DeLuke Jr. of El Cajon denied any wrongdoing and stated that Abdullahi violated his lease agreement by tampering with the smoke detector in his room and by often smoking marijuana inside the residence.

The CRD is tasked with prosecutorial authority to investigate, mediate and litigate civil rights enforcement actions and has an office in Los Angeles County. The CRD completed its investigation into Abdullahi’s complaints in June 2022 and, based on the evidence, “found cause to believe that defendants had subjected Mr. Abdullahi to the threat of violence, discrimination, harassment and retaliation because of his race,” the CRD suit stated.

The trustee of the Peter F. DeLuke trust is Peter DeLuke Sr. Both he and DeLuke Jr. signed the five-page settlement agreement in which both are responsible for the $20,000 payment to Abdullahi within 10 days. DeLuke Jr. is required to take fair housing and anger management training within 120 days at his expense. DeLuke Sr. must attend or assign someone else to attend fair housing training at his own cost, also within 120 days.

The settlement states that the parties agreed that by its terms the accord does not include any admission of liability by the defendants.

According to the CRD suit, in October 2020 Abdullahi inquired about the availability of a room in a Lemon Grove home owned by DeLuke Jr. The room had been advertised for lease on Craigslist for $580 in monthly rent and utilities of $250, the CRD suit stated.

Upon seeing the room, Abdullahi noticed blood and hair on the carpet and walls, but DeLuke Jr. told him he would have to pay if he wanted the room cleaned and that the rent must be given in cash, the CRD suit stated.