Landlord ordered to pay $675,000 for refusing to lease to Muslims

Landlord ordered to pay $675,000 for refusing to lease to Muslims
A father and son wanted to sublease a space. The landlord, Katina Gatchis, denied and made racist comments. Now she has to pay. (Source: KDVR/CNN)

DENVER (KDVR/CNN) - A Colorado building owner who was recorded telling her tenant to find an “American person” to sublease her property instead of a Muslim father and son, now has to pay the men $675,000.

The men sued last year and the landlord agreed after she was threatened with a lawsuit for religious discrimination.

“It’s my community, it’s my neighborhood,” said Rashad Khan, co-owner of Curry & Kabob. “I have friends who live there. I lived down there since 2008.”

Khan and his father run their restaurant up in Boulder, CO.

When Khan saw a space collecting dust in his neighborhood, he decided he wanted to expand.

The problem is, the property owner Katina Gatchis didn’t like the idea when asked by the current tenant who wanted to add Khan to the lease.

That tenant recorded the conversation.

"American person,” Katina said. "American person I need. Good American person like you and me."

Khan said he could not believe the recording.

"It was shocking,” he said. “I... it just didn't feel real."

"These kind, type, they are very dangerous, extremely dangerous," Katina continued.

“You just can’t get away with it,” Khan said. “We have the opportunity to have that here. If we were anywhere else in the world, it may have been ‘this is how it is,’ and you move on.”

Khan, his father and the tenant sued Gatchis for discrimination.

"Discrimination is expensive," said Siddartha Rathod, the father and son’s attorney.

Gatchis has since settled the lawsuit.

"The community will hold you accountable,” Rathod said. “Your peers will hold you accountable. We will hold you accountable."

Gatchis and her attorneys did not respond to comment for this story.

Khan said the settlement sends a strong message.

"You can't behave in this fashion," he said.

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