By Tori Mason

DENVER (CBS4)– A Denver landlord will pay a Muslim father and son more than half a million dollars after denying them a sublease because of their religion. Rashad Kahn and his father co-own a popular Indian restaurant in Boulder.

(credit: CBS)

They found a spot at 9th and Corona in Denver that would be perfect for a second location. Craig Caldwell leased it at the time.

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Caldwell was grateful to find a sub-let renter who would take over the remainder of his 5-year lease, but his landlord didn’t approve. The lease requires the landlord, Katina Gatchis, to sign off on sublets.

(credit: CBS4)

Cell phone audio recordings, detailing conversations between Caldwell and Gatchis, were at the center of the lawsuit.

“So if I get anybody, as long as it’s not a Muslim, I would be okay?” Caldwell asks. “Yes, No Muslims, especially this guy,” says Gatchis, in the recording. “…Good American person, like you and me.”

(credit: CBS)

Kahn said he was shocked to hear the recordings. He now knows that some landlords value culture over credit.

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“She saw name on a piece of paper and from that she made a decision about me,” said Kahn. “She didn’t even give me an opportunity to talk to her to show who I am.”

Caldwell, Kahn and his father filed a lawsuit against Gatchis for refusing to rent to a Muslim family.

(credit: CBS)

According to Associated Press, court documents show that Gatchis acknowledged she “unlawfully discriminated” against the family. She agreed to pay $675,000 for her comments.

“I wish it didn’t have to come to this. Honestly, I just wish I was selling curry down the street right now. That would been the ideal situation but this reaffirms my faith in my country, in Denver, and where we live,” said Kahn.

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Kahn and his father still hope to find a location in Denver to expand the family’s restaurant business. Attorneys for Gatchis have not commented on the settlement.

Tori Mason