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Kongtcheu v. Centex Homes

SUPERIOR COURT OF NEW JERSEY APPELLATE DIVISION


January 11, 2008

PHILIBERT FOUMTHIM KONGTCHEU, COMPLAINANT-APPELLANT,
v.
CENTEX HOMES AND STATE OF NEW JERSEY DEPARTMENT OF LAW & PUBLIC SAFETY DIVISION ON CIVIL RIGHTS RESPONDENTS-RESPONDENTS.

On appeal from the State of New Jersey Department of Law & Public Safety Division on Civil Rights, Docket No. HJ06NW-06029.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted December 11, 2007

Before Judges Coburn, Fuentes and Chambers.

Complainant, Philibert Foumthim Kongtcheu, appearing pro se, appeals from the administrative determination of the New Jersey Division of Civil Rights (Division) which found no probable cause for his discrimination claims. We affirm.

Complainant contends that respondent, Centex Homes, the developer of the City Homes at Westside Station in Jersey City, wrongfully refused to sell him a particular townhouse. In this appeal, complainant maintains that in refusing to sell him the townhouse, respondent unlawfully discriminated against him due to his "race (African American), color (black), national origin (African), [and] disability (monoplegic polio survivor)" in violation of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, N.J.S.A. 10:5-1 to -49 and the federal Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C.A. §§ 3601 to -3619. The housing discrimination form that complainant completed with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) alleged discrimination based on race, color or national origin due to his African origin and foreign accent. HUD transferred the complaint to the Division. Complainant's verified complaint with the Division alleged that he was discriminated against based on his national origin only.

After conducting an investigation, the Division found that while complainant had expressed an interest in purchasing the townhouse, he missed two appointments (on April 27 and 28, 2006) with respondent to submit either a formal offer or place a deposit and reserve the townhouse. By the time complainant contacted respondent the next day, April 29, 2006, the property had already been reserved by other buyers who eventually purchased it.*fn1

Complainant declined to enter into a back-up contract, whereby he would purchase the property if the sale with the other purchasers did not go through. He also declined to purchase another home within the development. In response to complainant's claim, respondent demonstrated that it had sold units to other members of a protected class; two of the people who purchased the townhouse in question were Hispanic.

After conducting an investigation, the Division found no probable cause to support the allegations of discrimination and issued its letter of September 11, 2006, with accompanying Findings of No Probable Cause dated September 5, 2006, and the investigator's findings.

Our review is a limited one; we must "survey the record to determine whether there is sufficient credible competent evidence in the record" supporting the Division's decision. Clowes v. Terminix Int'l, Inc., 109 N.J. 575, 587 (1988). In doing so we must conduct a "careful and principled consideration of the agency record and findings." Ibid. (quoting Mayflower Sec. v. Bureau of Sec., 64 N.J. 85, 93 (1973)).

After a careful and thorough review of the record, we find sufficient, and, indeed, ample, credible competent evidence to support the Division's finding of no probable cause to sustain the allegations of discrimination. No further discussion in a written opinion is warranted. R. 2:11-3(e)(1)(D).

Affirmed.


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