Disability Discrimination Alleged In Hawaii


Officials at the U.S. Department of Justice are claiming that condominiums and apartment complexes in Hawaii were built without accessible features required by the Fair Housing Act.

The federal act prohibits discrimination in housing on the basis of disability, race, color, religion, sex, familial status, and national origin.

An amended complaint was filed Monday at the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii. Two of the five properties cited were built with financial assistance from the federal government’s Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program.

They are Kahului Town Terrace, in Kahului, Maui, and Palehua Terrace, in Kapolei, Oahu. 

The other three properties are Napilihau Villages and Napili Villas, in Lahaina, Maui, as well as Wailea Fairway Villas, in Kihei, Maui, according to a press release.

The amended complaint alleges the same accessibility violations as the original complaint.

Violations include inaccessibility to people using wheelchairs.

Routes to the entrances include stairs or steep slopes. There are missing sidewalks and curb ramps in public as well as common areas, officials claim.

Inside the units, there is inaccessible hardware at entry doors, interior doors that are too narrow for a wheelchair, and insufficient space in kitchens and bathrooms, officials claim.

It is alleged that 14 entities designed and constructed the condominiums and apartment complexes in question.

Monday’s amended complaint adds Stanford Carr Development LLC, SCD Wailea Fairways LLC, Sato & Associates Inc., Ronald M. Fukumoto Engineering Inc., Rojac Construction Inc., Delta Construction Corp., Warren S. Unemori Engineering Inc., and GYA Architects Inc. to the list of defendants.

The requested relief includes a court order requiring the defendants to retrofit the five properties to bring them into compliance with the Fair Housing Act, as well as monetary damages to compensate victims.

Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said federal accessibility rules have been in place for more than three decades and they will hold accountable developers, architects, contractors, and other entities that fail to comply with these legal obligations.

“Companies behind the mass development of condominiums, apartment complexes, and other forms of multifamily housing must ensure that these properties are designed and built to be accessible to people with disabilities,” Clarke said in a statement.

Individuals who may have been affected by the lack of accessibility at these properties should call the Civil Rights Division’s Housing Discrimination Hotline at 1-833-591-0291, press 1 for English, press 6 for this case, and leave a message, or send an email to [email protected].

Email story ideas to Editor Kimberley Haas: [email protected]