MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A judge has ordered two Twin Cities rental companies and their officers to pay $736,000 to nearly two dozen women over allegations that one of the defendants pressured the tenants for sex to avoid eviction.
The consent decree filed in federal court directs Fruen & Pfeiffer and M. Fruen Properties and individual defendants to pay $32,000 to each of the 23 women and pay a $14,000 civil penalty. The primary defendant, 70-year-old Reese Pfeiffer, is banned from managing property in the future.
In a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Justice Department last year, Pfeiffer was accused of various acts of sexual harassment as far back as 2009 and continuing well into 2020 toward female tenants who lived Robbinsdale, Crystal, Minneapolis, Golden Valley, Plymouth, Hopkins, Bloomington, Eagan and Minnetonka, the Star Tribune reported.
The U.S. Attorney's Office said that while Pfeiffer was the sole defendant accused of carrying out these acts, the others were sued because they were “liable for (his) discriminatory conduct because he acted as their agent when he sexually harassed tenants at properties in which they had an ownership interest.”
Pfeiffer declined to comment on the consent decree.