APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. RAYMOND
K. BERG, Judge, presiding.
MR. JUSTICE LORENZ DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:
Plaintiffs brought this action under the Administrative Review Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1973, ch. 110, par. 264 et seq.) to review a final administrative order entered by the Director. The order suspended plaintiffs' licenses to act as real estate brokers and salesmen pursuant to the Real Estate Brokers and Salesmen License Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1971, ch. 114 1/2, par. 1 et seq.), for practicing racial discrimination in the rental of an apartment. The circuit court reversed the decision of the Director holding that plaintiffs' conduct did not fall within the purview of the Act. On appeal defendants contend that the Director's order should be reinstated.
The Department's amended complaint charged plaintiffs with violating section 8(e), subsections 1, 3, 11, 14 and 17 of the 1971 Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1971, ch. 114 1/2, par. 8(e), subpars. 1, 3, 11, 14 and 17), and Rule VII of the Rules and Regulations for the Administration of the 1971 Act.
Section 8(e), subsections 1, 3, 11, 14 and 17 provide:
"8. The Department * * * may suspend * * * any certificate of registration * * *
(e) Where the registrant * * * is found guilty of:
(1) Making any substantial misrepresentation, or untruthful advertising,
3. Pursuing a continued and flagrant course of misrepresentation or the making of false promises through agents or salesmen or advertising or otherwise,
11. Having demonstrated unworthiness or incompetency to act as a real estate broker or salesman in such manner as to safeguard the interests of the public,
14. Any other conduct, whether of the same or a different character from that hereinbefore specified which constitutes dishonest dealing,
17. Disregarding or violating any provision of this Act, or the published rules or regulations promulgated by the Department to enforce this Act."
"RULE VII-DISCRIMINATION PROHIBITED
(1) No registrant shall enter into a listing agreement which prohibits the sale or rental of real estate to any person because of race, color, creed, religion, or national origin.
(2) No registrant shall act or undertake to act as a real estate broker or real estate salesman with respect to any property the disposition of which is prohibited to any person because of race, color, creed, religion, or national origin. Promulgated pursuant to Ill. Rev. Stat. ch. 114 1/2, par. 8(e), par. (17), December 21, 1970."
On July 15, 1975, the Department's Real Estate Examining Committee held a hearing at which the following pertinent facts were adduced.
He is a black Haitian citizen working here as an analyst for Johnson and Johnson. On February 13, 1973, he spoke with Mrs. Migely, an employee of McKey & Poague at the Crestline Arms Apartments. He informed her he was looking for an apartment for himself and his brother, Maxence. After viewing one of the apartments they submitted an application for a lease, together with a $50 deposit. About a week later they received a call informing them that their application had been rejected because the owner refused to rent to single men. Mrs. Migely had not previously indicated that this was a company policy. Shortly thereafter they received a letter of confirmation from George M. Hiles written on McKey & Poague stationery.
As a result of this incident, he and Maxence filed a Federal lawsuit. (Jeanty v. McKey & Poague, Inc. (7th Cir. 1974), 496 F.2d 1119.) Eventually they settled this case for $5,000.
They are white. On March 9 or 10, 1973, they submitted to Mrs. Migely applications for Apartment 107 in Crestline. She accepted their application and they moved in on March 12, 1973. Shortly thereafter they received a lease. E.F. Migely signed the lease as agent of Presbitero & Sons and McKey & Poague.
About two weeks after moving in, Eugene Migely informed them that their lease had been rejected by Presbitero because they were single men and that they would have to move. McKey & Poague rented them a "lot nicer" two-bedroom apartment ...