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