Map Interactive local COVID-19 tracker
Contact Us
Union Daily Voice serves Berkeley Heights, Clark, Cranford, Elizabeth, Hillside, Linden, Plainfield, Rahway, Union & Westfield
Return to your home site

Menu

Union Daily Voice serves Berkeley Heights, Clark, Cranford, Elizabeth, Hillside, Linden, Plainfield, Rahway, Union & Westfield

Nearby Towns

  • Middlesex
    serves Edison, New Brunswick, North / South / East Brunswick, Old Bridge, Perth Amboy, Piscataway, Sayreville & Woodbridge
  • Essex
    serves Belleville, Caldwell, Cedar Grove, Fairfield, Glen Ridge, Montclair, Newark, Nutley, Verona & West Orange
  • Somerset
    serves Bernardsville, Bridgewater Township, Franklin Township, Hillsborough Township, Manville, Montgomery Township, North Plainfield, Raritan, Somerville & Watchung
  • Morris
    serves Boonton, Chatham, East Hanover, Jefferson, Kinnelon, Madison, Montville, Morris, Morristown, Parsippany-Troy Hills, Pequannock, Randolph, Rockaway, Roxbury & Washington Township
  • Hudson
    serves Bayonne, Harrison, Hoboken, Jersey City, Kearny, North Bergen, Secaucus, Union City & West New York
DV Pilot Police & Fire

NJ Landlord Demanded Sex For Housing, Lower Rents, Justice Department Charges

“No one should ever be forced to provide sexual favors, or otherwise endure sexual harassment, as a condition to keep or obtain housing."
“No one should ever be forced to provide sexual favors, or otherwise endure sexual harassment, as a condition to keep or obtain housing." Photo Credit: Pixabay

For at least 15 years, an Elizabeth landlord has demanded sexual favors from tenants to get or keep apartments while offering reduced rent to others in exchange for sex, federal authorities charged.

Joseph Centanni, who owns hundreds of rental units in and around Elizabeth, “initiated or threatened to initiate eviction actions against tenants who objected to or refused his sexual advances,” U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said Wednesday.

The U.S. Justice Department took the case because Centanni -- who is married and lives in West Mountainside -- receives roughly $102,000 a month in Section 8 money from the government, carpenito said.

A lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Newark by federal authorities alleges that Centanni “offered housing benefits like reduced rent in exchange for sexual favors, touched tenants and applicants in a way that was sexual and unwelcome, and made unwelcome sexual comments and advances to tenants and applicants.”

“No one should ever be forced to provide sexual favors, or otherwise endure sexual harassment, as a condition to keep or obtain housing,” Carpenito said.

The federal lawsuit seeks “monetary damages to compensate the victims, civil penalties to vindicate the public interest, and a court order barring future discrimination.”

It was brought following a joint investigation by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity Office and Office of Inspector General.

Alleged victims of sexual harassment or other types of housing discrimination at rental units owned or managed by Centanni, or who have other information that may be relevant to the case, are asked to contact the Housing Discrimination Tip Line at 1-800-896-7743. Select Option #1 to leave a message.

Citizens can also report sexual harassment and other forms of housing discrimination to the U.S. Attorney’s Office Civil Rights Hotline at (855) 281-3339 or e-mailing the Justice Department at fairhousing@usdoj.gov.

Handing the case for the government is Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael E. Campion, the chief of Carpenito’s Civil Rights Unit; Assistant U.S. Attorney Susan Millenky, also of the Civil Rights Unit; and Trial Attorneys Erin Meehan Richmond and Kathryn Legomsky of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division Housing and Civil Enforcement Section.

to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.

Welcome to

Union Daily Voice!

Serves Berkeley Heights, Clark, Cranford, Elizabeth, Hillside, Linden, Plainfield, Rahway, Union & Westfield

Hi! You've read our articles so we know you like our reporting. To keep reading please join our mailing list.

Get important news about your town as it happens.