Plaintiff Frank Steinhauser
164. At all times relevant herein, Steinhauser was the owner of 15 rental properties in
St. Paul, including those rental properties located at 910 6’ Street East, 1024 Euclid and 118
165. During 2002, a case worker with Project Hope worked with Steinhauser on more
than ten occasions in placing her homeless clients into Steinhauser’s rental properties in the City.
This case worker performed inspections of the rental units before placing her clients into the
units. Based upon her extensive experience with Steinhauser in 2002, she found Steinhauser’s
rental properties to be well maintained and that he was very responsive. She even placed her
own family members into Steinhauser’s rental units. 166. Prior to the fall of 2002, Steinhauser had always been responsive to inspections
and repair orders on his rental properties and generally his relationship with City inspectors had
been considered good.
167. Following the October 8,2002 meeting between Dawkins, Steinhauser and
Project Hope’s case worker, Dawkins, Martin and Koehnen immediately commenced a course of
malicious retaliatory conduct directed at Steinhauser and Project Hope clients/tenants, in
coordination with other third parties working directly with Defendants, to intentionally shut
47.down Steinhauser’s rental business or ‘at least dramatically increase his rental business expenses
that would either force him to sell off his rental properties in the City or force him to no longer
rent to protected class, members. Said Defendants malicious conduct was intentionally directed
,/’ at eliminating rental units available to “bottom of the barrel, ” “undesirable” and “low income,”
protected class individuals Steinhauser was renting to in the City.
168. Dawkins, Martin, Koehnen and other unknown City employees and third parties
were directly involved in the condemnation of Steinhauser’s properties located at 9 10 6* Street
East and at 1024 Euclid.
169. On or about October 17,2002, Martin and Koehnen commenced an inspection of
Steinhauser’s duplex property located at 910 6* Street East. At this time, the upper unit was not
inspected. Both tenants in Steinhauser’s duplex were African-American mothers with children.
The surrounding neighborhood was occupied by predominately white families in single family
170. Following this inspection, Martin prepared a Correction Notice dated October 18;
2002, and forwarded this Notice to Steinhauser and the occupant by mail.
171. Martin’s October 182002, Notice, contained intentionally false statemen&
including that there was evidence of rodent infestation in the building, that there were sanitation
issues, that the foundation was deteriorated, and that there was a lack of properly installed and
operable smoke detectors. Martin demanded that Steinhauser remove “rodent harborages” in the
4 8.yard, tuck-point and repair the foundation to prevent re-infestation, and provide functioning
smoke detectors by October 21,2002.
172. At the time of Martin’s inspection, the smoke detectors were properly installed in
both units of the duplex; the tenants had simply removed.the batteries. There were no “rodent
harbor-ages” or sanitation issues present at the property justifying Martin’s deliberately false
claims: However, the adjacent property had a large volume of trash (at least 20 cubic yards)
piled up in the backyard and this may have been the source of rodents in the area. Because of the
extensive trash on the adjacent property, Steinhauser had been baiting rats at his rental property
for two months prior to the inspection and Steinhauser’s efforts had been successful as evidenced
by the dead rat Martin and Koehnen observed on or about October 17,2002. The building’s
foundation did not need tuck-pointing and was not deteriorated. Steinhauser had determined that
his tenants had frequently not closed the outside door to the building and the rat may have
entered the building through the open door.
173. After the October 17,2002, inspection by Martin and Koehnen, Steinhauser
removed the dead rat from the basement, and worked on the other items listed in the October 18,
174. On or about October 22,2002, Martin and Koehnen reinspected the downstairs
unit at 910 6* Street East. Martin and Koehnen also went upstairs and knocked on the door of
the upstairs rental unit at 910 6* Street East and woke up the tenant, a mother of two minor
49.children also residing with her. When the tenant opened the door, she saw Martin and Koehnen.
Martin told the tenant that she and the officer had to come in to inspect her apartment because the
downstairs apartment ,was being condemned and that, “We are going to be condemning other
‘properties of Mr. Steinhauser’s.” Police Officer Koehnen was towering over the tenant about
two feet away from her. The tenant informed Martin and Koehnen that she did not want them in
her apartment, to which Martin replied that they had to come in and that was the reason for the
police officer being present. Martin stated that it would be for the tenant’s own good. Because
of the police presence, the tenant stood back and Martin and Koehnen entered her apartment.
175, During the inspection, Martin called Steinhauser a “slum lord” and said that
Steinhauser preys on poor people, African-Americans, and that Steinhauser does not repair his
rental properties. Martin encouraged the tenant to sue Steinhauser for all the money she had paid
to him in rent since she had moved into the apartment over a year earlier. The tenant informed
Martin and Koehnen that Steinhauser was a good landlord to her and that he performed repairs
when she asked and that Steinhauser had been at her building performing repairs for the last
176. Following this re-inspection, Defendants Dawkins and Martin prepared a written
Notice of Condemnation and Order to Vacate dated October 23,2002, and forwarded this written
Notice and Order to Steinhauser and the occupants of the both units through the mail.
177. In the October 23,2002, Notice, said Defendants listed 18 items as being in
5 0.violation of Code. Many of these statements of fact listed by said Defendants were outright false.
Moreover, Defendants maliciously and falsely stated, in deliberate inflammatory fashion, that the
conditions present at the property constituted “material endangerment” in that the property lacked
a “basic facility” and was “infested with rats”. Martin also deliberately and maliciousiy falsely ‘,
stated that the building’s foundation was in a state of disrepair, that there was a lack of light
fixtures, that there were plumbing leaks, that the units were lacking deadbolt locks, that the storm
doors were in disrepair and that the furnace needed attention.
178. Many of the other items listed by Dawkins and Martin had actually been corrected
by Steinhauser by the time of the October 22,2002, reinspection but Dawkins and Martin refused
to give Steinhauser credit for those efforts. The property next to Steinhauser’s property
continued to have a large volume of clearly visible trash.
179. Steinhauser and a case worker from Project Hope met with Martin and Koehnen
on October 23,2002 at the Housing Department office to discuss Steinhauser’s 910 6* Street
duplex. Martin and Koehnen started out the meeting by screaming at Steinhauser and the case
worker about the condemnable conditions of the building, presenting pictures of conditions they
stated demonstrated code violations at the property. Steinhauser pointed out to Martin and
Koehnen that some of the pictures actually showed code compliance of the building.
180. During this meeting, Koehnen, over 6’5” tall, screamed at Steinhauser and
the case worker while leaning over the table in a threatening and intimidating manner. The case
51.worker became scared of Koehnen as a result of his abusive, inappropriate and unprofessional
behavior. Steinhauser was shocked at the treatment he and the case worker were receiving.
Steinhauser left the meeting, as did the case worker a short time later, as they could no longer
stand the abusive treatment by Martin and Koehnen.
181. Following the meeting with Martin and Koehnen, Steinhauser and the Project
Hope case worker inspected the rental building Martin and Koehnen had just condemned. The
case worker reviewed the October 23,2002, Condemnation Notice while inspecting both the
upper and lower rental units in the building. The case worker concluded that most of the code
violations stated by Dawkins, Martin and Koehnen in the Condemnation Notice were false and
that the Notice had been written in such a manner that Dawkins, Martin and Koehnen made the
rental units sound very substandard when in fact the units were very habitable.
182. The upstairs tenant at 910 6’ Street East, has stated that what was done to her, her
family and to Steinhauser, was wrong and that, “The only thing the inspector could find was the
plugged toilet and yet they condemned the unit and forced me to leave my home.” She has stated
that Martin and Koehnen “were nitpicking things in the apartment - they created a big list of
problems out of nothing during their inspection.”
183. After the initial inspection of 910 6’ Street East on or about October 17,2002,
Steinhauser continued to work on the building and corrected many of the items that needed
improvement before the October 21,2002 deadline. When Martin and Koehnen returned for the
5 2.second inspection on or about October 22,2002, it became clear to the upstairs tenant that, with
their continued nitpicking, Martin and Koehnen were more interested in getting Steinhauser’s
building condemned than they were in helping her and her family.
184. As a result of the condemnation of Steinhauser’s rental property at 910 6* Street
East, the African-American tenant and her children were forced to leave their home. They were
happy there and did not want to leave. Her children were heartbroken. It was hard for her to find
another place to rent. She and her family had to live in more than 10 different places, staying
with friends, family or in shelters, until she could once again find a place of her own. She also
lost her job because of the forced eviction by Defendants.
185. After condemning Steinhauser’s 910 6* Street East duplex, Dawkins, Martin,
Koehnen, Dolan and others, filed on October 30,2002, a tenant remedies action by the City and
the lower unit tenant against Steinhauser in Ramsey County District Court. In Defendants’ court
action, Dawkins, Martin and Attorney Dolan and others made statements of fact to the Court,
verified as true by Dawkins, that in fact were false. These false statements were made by
Defendants and others in the court papers in an unlawful and malicious attempt to shut down
Steinhauser’s rental property and business or to increase his costs so as to interfere with his
ability to rent to protected class tinants.
186. Dawkins deliberately made false sworn statements in the court papers including
the Complaint and Verification, that Steinhauser had failed to comply with three previous
53.Correction Notices directed at the 910 6’ Street East property, and Dawkins, Martin and
Koehnen falsely stated that the property had a rat infestation, inadequate heat, broken toilets and
sinks, missing smoke, detectors and defective ceilings and walls. The Complaint, Verification
and attached City inspection records were mailed to Steinhauser.
187. As a result of the condemnation of his duplex and the lack of rental income from
the property, Steinhauser, in an attempt to gain City approval to once again rent his property,
agreed to a “code comnliance” inspection. Dawkins, Martin, Koehnen and Attorney Dolan
represented to Steinhauser that the “code compliance” of the subject property would be “as
built”. Defendants coerced and fraudulently induced Steinhauser’s consent to the settlement
including the code compliance terms.
188. Subsequently, Martin and Dawkins and others forced Steinhauser to undergo a
full “code compliance” to current or modem code which required Steinhauser to make significant
unnecessary expenditures on his rental building. During the code compliance inspection by
LIEP, one of the inspectors informed Steinhauser, “The building is really not that bad . . . if you
have a plugged toilet, you fix the toilet - you don’t go get a code compliance.”
189. As a direct result of Defendants’ discriminatory policy and conduct against
Steinhauser related to his 9 10 6* Street East duplex, as set forth herein, Steinhauser sustained
loss of rental income from two rental units at said property for an extended period of time, lost
profits and investments, and incurred substantial expenses in unnecessary repairs, permit and
5 4.code compliance fees, other costs and expenses, and court costs and attorney’s fees.
190. Kelly, Dawkins, Martin and Koehnen, with assistance from Attorney Dolan, made
multi-directional attacks against Steinhauser during October and November 2002. Said
Defendants, and others working in concert with them, coordinated their attacks against
Steinhauser’s 910 6* Street East rental duplex with City inspections at other properties owned by
Steinhauser during the same period, including an inspection and condemnation of a second rental
property located at 1024 Euclid. Once again, African-American tenants resided in this duplex.
191. On October 25,2002, as part of Defendants’ inspection of Steinhauser’s duplex
rental unit located at 1024 Euclid, Dawkins, Martin and Koehnen once again maliciously created
false entries in City inspection records regarding this property. Thereafter, said Defendants
maliciously entered those false and fraudulent entries into a Notice of Condemnation dated
October 28,2002, that was mailed by Defendants to Steinhauser and the occupants.
192, Said Defendants used the false entries of code violations to immediately condemn
the 1024 Euclid building on the basis of existing emergency conditions and thereby force tenants
from their home.
193. One of the false entries deliberately and maliciously placed by Dawkins and
Martin in the October 28,2002, Notice, included Defendants’ assertion that 1024 Euclid was
subject to vermin infestation. Dawkins and Martin knew that their statements of fact concerning
rodent infestation related to Steinhauser’s properties at 910 6’h Street and 1024 Euclid were false
55.and that the Code and Rules required “serious infestation” for a condemnation.
194. When Defendants finally allowed Steinhauser access to his 1024 Euclid duplex to
conduct his own inspection, Steinhauser and his rodent exterminator determined‘that there was
‘no rodent infestation in the building and that there was no evidence that there had ever been any
rodents in the building. In fact, the exterminator noted that no rat droppings could be found.
195. Another false entry deliberately and maliciously placed by Martin and Dawkins in
the same Notice of Condemnation was their false assertion that the 1024 Euclid building was
without heat. This was falsely listed by Dawkins and Martin as constituting “material
endangerment,” in order to trigger the condemnation.
196. Dawkins and Martin knew that their statements of fact concerning the lack of heat
were false and they made these statements deliberately to maliciously damage Steinhauser. In
fact, the heat thermostat had simply been turned off by either the tenant or someone else and
there was nothing wrong with the heating systems that served both units at 1024 Euclid, as was
confirmed by a third party contractor.
197. As part of Defendants’ discriminatory scheme to deprive Steinhauser of
his property and contract rights related to his rental properties, including the 1024 Euclid rental
property, Defendants Dawkins, Martin, Koehnen and others, including Dolan, did again prepare,
serve, file and mail a court Complaint and attachments, including the Notice of Condemnation
described above, along with Dawkins’ sworn Verification certifying that Defendants assertions
56.were true, when in fact they were false.
198. As part of said Defendants’ illegal conduct and scheme, Defendants did attach to
those fraudulent court pleadings and Verification, false City inspection records regarding
Steinhauser’s 1024 Euclid property, as more fully set forth above, all for the discriminatory and
deliberate purpose of making malicious allegations that Steinhauser’s property was dangerously
deficient in safety and for the malicious purpose to coerce and fraudulently induce Steinhauser
into agreeing to a “code compliance” on 1024 Euclid.
199. As a direct result of said Defendants’ discriminatory policy, custom and practice,
and wrongful conduct describe herein, Steinhauser has been forced to sell thirteen of his rental
properties in the City since 2002, and he presently owns two duplexes in the City.
200. As a direct result of Defendants’ discriminatory policy and conduct against
Steinhauser related to his 1024 Euclid rental property, as set forth herein, Steinhauser sustained
loss of rental income from two rental units at said property for an extended period of time, lost
profits and investments from condemnations, and forced sales, increased tax burdens, incurred
substantial expenses in unnecessary repairs, permit and code compliance fees, and other costs
and expenses, including alternative housing costs for Steinhauser’s tenants that were forced from
their homes, and court costs and attorney’s fees.