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GAUTREAUX v. CHICAGO HOUSING AUTHORITY

April 10, 1972

DOROTHY GAUTREAUX ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
CHICAGO HOUSING AUTHORITY ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Austin, District Judge.

ORDER

Previous stages of this litigation are described in D.C., 296 F. Supp. 907, D.C., 304 F. Supp. 736, 7th Cir., 436 F.2d 306, and 7th Cir., 448 F.2d 731. The stage now to be dealt with follows a trial held with respect to the supplemental complaint filed on February 2, 1972, and the pleadings and motions relating thereto, and a hearing respecting "Plan II" of defendant Chicago Housing Authority ("CHA"), filed on February 2, 1972, pursuant to this Court's order of January 3, 1972, such trial and hearing having been consolidated by previous order of this Court. The phrases "Dwelling Unit" and "General Public Housing Area" shall have the same meaning herein as in the Court's judgment order of July 1, 1969 ("Judgment Order"), 304 F. Supp. 736. Based on the pleadings and the evidence the Court makes the following findings of fact and reaches the following conclusions of law:

FINDINGS OF FACT

A. Pursuant to previous orders of this Court CHA is under a duty to use its best efforts to increase the supply of Dwelling Units in conformity with the Judgment Order as rapidly as possible.

B. To that end, and pursuant to orders of this Court, on March 5, 1971 CHA submitted to the defendant members of the City Council ("Council") of the defendant City of Chicago ("City"), and to the Chicago Plan Commission, an agency of the City, proposed sites for the provision of not fewer than 1500 Dwelling Units.

C. Acquisition of such sites or alternative sites by CHA is necessary to enable CHA to increase the supply of Dwelling Units in conformity with the Judgment Order as rapidly as possible.

D. Under the following provision of Section 9, Ch. 67 1/2, Illinois Revised Statutes, CHA may not acquire real property until the acquisition thereof has been approved by the Council:

  "If the area of operation of a housing authority
  includes a city, village or incorporated town having
  a population in excess of 500,000 as determined by
  the last preceding Federal census, no real property
  or interest in real property shall be acquired in
  such municipality by the housing authority until such
  time as the housing authority has advised the
  governing body of such municipality of the
  description of the real property, or interest
  therein, proposed to be acquired, and the governing
  body of the municipality has approved the acquisition
  thereof by the housing authority."

E. On and prior to July 1, 1971, the City (through two of its agencies) and the Council approved the acquisition of certain real property by CHA which is presently sufficient to provide fewer than 200 Dwelling Units in conformity with the Judgment Order.

F. Since July 1, 1971, no committee of the Council has conducted hearings with respect to, and neither the City nor the Council has approved the acquisition of, any real property by CHA for the purpose of providing Dwelling Units in conformity with the Judgment Order.

G. Such failure to conduct hearings and to approve any such acquisition since July 1, 1971 is unjustified, there having been no showing of supervening necessity therefor, or indeed any showing of any necessity or reason at all, and the evidence having shown that many of the sites referred to in paragraph B above are suitable for the provision of Dwelling Units.

H. Such failure to conduct hearings and approve acquisition has the effect of preventing CHA from providing additional Dwelling Units in conformity with the Judgment Order, thereby denying relief to the plaintiffs to which they are entitled and frustrating and preventing this Court from assuring that such relief is provided.

CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

A. Under the evidence in this case, the effect of the failures of the City and Council since July 1, 1971 to approve any acquisition of real property by CHA for the purpose of providing additional Dwelling Units in conformity with the Judgment Order has been and continues to be to thwart the correction of federal constitutional wrongs. Such failures may not be permitted to thwart such correction. Crow v. Brown, 332 F. Supp. 382, 390-92 (N.D.Ga. 1971), and cases there cited; aff'd., 457 F.2d 788 (5th Cir., 1972, No. 71-3466). The affirmative obligation to seek means of disestablishing ...


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