Postville landlord files discrimination lawsuits
By GRANT SCHULTE • Des Moines Register
A Postville landlord has filed discrimination lawsuits against the city, the city clerk and two council members, alleging that their actions devastated his business.
Gabay G. Menahem alleges in federal and state-court lawsuits that city officials subjected his business to discrimination, retaliation and interference. City officials also allegedly made "negative comments designed to direct business away" from Menahem and his company, GAL Investments Ltd., the federal lawsuit states.
GAL Investments Ltd. was the second-largest real estate company in Postville and a major supplier of apartments for immigrant workers at the now-disbanded Agriprocessors Inc.
Menahem is a Jew who was born in Israel but moved to Postville, among a large population of Chabad-Lubavitch Jews.
He claims the discrimination dates to 2006, when Postville City Clerk Darcy Radloff allegedly started to enforce water disconnection procedures on his properties differently than for other owners.
Rather than shut off water for tenants who hadn't paid their bills, the lawsuit says, the city allowed bills to mount for Menahem. Menahem says he was blamed for properties that had fallen into disrepair under another owner.
The lawsuit alleges that City Council members made disparaging remarks about the city's Hispanic and Jewish populations.
The lawsuit names the city, Postville City Clerk Darcy Radloff, and council members Virginia Medberry and Jeff Reinhardt as defendants.
It also seeks compensatory damages, equitable relief and punitive damages against Radloff, Medberry and Reinhardt.