Landlord agrees to settle sex case

Landlord agrees to sex case settlement

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - A Grand Rapids landlord, who sexually harassed and fondled female rental applicants will pay a total of $150,000 in fines and victim compensation. 

The settlement was announced, after federal prosecutors accused Frank Tjoelker, 44, of violating the federal Fair Housing Act. 10 women who lived in or inquired about rental properties owned by Tjoelker will split most of the money to compensate them for unwanted sexual touching, sexual harassment and the offer of reduced or free rent in exchange for sex.

Last summer Tjoelker entered a no contest plea to 4th degree Criminal Sexual Conduct after a 24-year-old woman said he groped her while she was filling out a rental application.

Investigators say Tjoelker has owned and managed at least 15 rental properties since 1998 and unwanted sexual harassment to female tenants and prospective tenants has been going on since at least 2001.

Along with $140,000 for the victims Tjoelker must pay a $10,000 civil penalty. He also may not manage his rental properties and must establish a non-discrimination policy.

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