NFM mobile home park owner to pay $40,000 to settle federal discrimination suit

FORT MYERS, Fla. – The owner of a North Fort Myers mobile home park will pay $40,000 to settle a federal housing discrimination lawsuit, federal prosecutors announced Monday.

Mere’s Mobile Home and Recreational Vehicle Park, owned by Thomas Mere, was accused of discriminating against African-Americans by stating that no mobile homes, recreational vehicles or recreational vehicle lots were immediately available for rent, but told white customers under similar circumstances that they were, prosecutors said.

“According to the complaint, the defendant encouraged prospective white renters to consider residing at Mere’s Park and discouraged African-Americans from residing there by, for example, referring African-Americans to another mobile home and RV park, making discouraging comments about units that were available for rent and failing to provide African Americans complete and accurate information about available units and lots,” the Department of Justice said in a statement.

The majority of the settlement, $30,000, will be used to compensate victims. The remaining funds will cover a federal civil penalty.

The settlement must still be approved by a federal judge.