- A Denver landlord, Katina Gatchis, agreed to pay $US675,000 after she refused to rent her property to a Muslim father and son.
- Her tenant, Craig Caldwell, who was trying to sublease a restaurant to Rashad Khan and his father Zunad recorded her discriminatory comments.
- “With Jews, yeah I can do something alright, but with Muslims, no,” she said in one recording.
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A Denver landlord who prohibited her tenant from subleasing to a Muslim father and son because she wanted an “American person . .. good like you and me” agreed to pay $US675,000 in a discrimination lawsuit.
The three men, Rashad Khan, his father Zunad, and the tenant, Craig Caldwell, sued Katina Gatchis last year after her tenant recorded the comments during a phone call, The Associated Press reported.
“With Jews, yeah I can do something alright, but with Muslims, no,” Gatchis said in the recording obtained by the AP.
Rashad and Zunad Khan run a popular Indian restaurant in Boulder, Colorado, and were looking to expand to Denver.
The opportunity emerged to sublease a building in the Capitol Hill neighbourhood because the Caldwell was trying to cut short a 5-year-contract. Caldwell previously ran a fried chicken restaurant on the premises, but had closed it down.
Caldwell told the AP that he watched the father-son team run their business together, tried their recipes, and checked their financial records. They seemed like the perfect fit for a sublease, he said.
Gatchis reportedly refused to approve Caldwell’s proposed sublease agreement for weeks. After several weeks, her son told Caldwell that her refusal was related to the Khans’ faith.
Caldwell then decided to record a conversation with Gatchis. “That’s the reason I decided I was going to record this,” Caldwell told the AP.
“Because I couldn’t believe it, and nobody is going to believe me.”
He taped their conversations on a voice recording app on his phone, a practice that is legal in Colorado as long as one participant consents. Gatchis consistently refused to let the Khan family rent her property.
“They bring all the Muslims from the Middle East, and then I have a problem around here, bam boom, bam boom,” she said in one recording, the AP reported.
Court documents show that Gatchis acknowledged she ‘unlawfully discriminated’ against the family, according to the AP.
Rashad Khan said customers and friends were very supportive throughout the whole legal process. But he and his father remain shocked that they had to file the discrimition lawsuit to begin with.
“I was angry, I was disappointed. I started to have a little bit of self-doubt. It kind of creeps into your mind: Who else is thinking these things? Is she the only one?” he told the AP.
“My dad and I just wanted to know that there’s justice, that she can’t do this,” he said.
Rashad Khan, who joined his father in the US when he was 11, said it was the first time he has experienced discrimination because of his religion.
Denver attorney Qusair Mohamedbhai, who represented the men, encouraged people to keep speaking up even if it can be hard to prove discrimination.
“Businesses in Colorado and across the country should know that these laws are on the books, they are highly enforceable, and that if they will discriminate, people will stand up against them and tell them it is wrong,” he said to the AP.
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