The Athens Review
SEVEN POINTS —
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is accusing an area RV park owner of discriminatory housing practices and claiming he evicted a couple from his grounds because one of them — Roxanne Feme-fatel Joganik — is a transsexual.
According to the documents provided to the Athens Review, HUD found enough probable cause to file a charge of discrimination against George Toone and In Toone Services, LLC, owners of Texan RV Park located on U.S. Highway 175 between Athens and Eustace. HUD is claiming Toone violated terms of the federal Fair Housing Act, which prohibits discrimination, in this case specifically, on the basis of sexual orientation.
Documents indicate an issue arose when Toone denied a request by Joganik — a 56-year-old male born as Scott Peops but who identifies as female — to wear women's clothing outside her home at the park. Joganik told the Athens Review he is receiving hormone treatment and is going through the process of “gender transition,” commonly referred to as a sex change. She said he has been dressing as a female for more than three years and has already legally changed her name.
Toone later told HUD investigators he did not want Joganik to wear female clothing around the park's pool area because there might be children around and he did not want to promote that kind of atmopshere.
Toone eventually asked Joganik and his female partner, Darlina Anthony, to leave after they refused to sign the park rules he presented to them. Toone states in documents that the couple disrupted other guests' use of the park and accused Joganik of killing turtles at a community pond (Joganik admitted to killing the turtles, saying they were eating his fish bait, but claims to have discontinued the practice).
In a response to the HUD allegations, Toone also claims the case against him does not apply to the Fair Housing Act because Joganik's recreational vehicle does not constitute a “dwelling.” He says the owners of the recreational vehicles in the park are not tenants, but merely guests of the park.
“My civil rights have been violated,” said Joganik, who lived in the Texan RV Park for 14 months and has since relocated to Seven Points in western Henderson County.
Toone, said he was advised not to talk to the press.
A call placed to his attorney Casey Erick's office, was not returned.
HUD is asking for a court to declare Toone's actions discriminatory and assess a civil penalty of $16,000 against him. The federal agency is also asking that Joganik and Anthony be awarded monetary damages of an undisclosed amount.
Joganik says the next step in the case could either lead to an administrative hearing, or either party can demand the action proceed in federal district court. Joganik and Anthony received a certified letter on Thursday from HUD stating the case will be heard in a federal district court. Toone has requested the case be heard by a jury.
Said Joganik: “I just want to change the law in America.”