Beloit City Hall, 100 State St.

BELOIT—A third-party investigator will look into a recent fair housing complaint in addition to the two other complaints on file with the City of Beloit, the Beloit Daily News has learned.

The city is contracting with Markley Investigations, a firm sought out by the city in the past who has handled all recent fair housing complaints.

In August, two complaints were set to be investigated. A staff report to the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) now shows that a third fair housing complaint will be investigated by Markely Investigations.

The nature of the complaints are not made public during the investigatory phase and the EOC is not briefed on the complaints should the commission need to serve as an impartial body if the complaints head to trial.

The contract has now been signed by required city staff to proceed.

The contract is in the final stages of review and is pending signatures from the required city staff, including Beloit City Manager Lori Curtis Luther.

As previously reported by the Beloit Daily News, Deputy Community Development Director Teri Downing said the city is required to maintain a contract with a private investigator due to federal public housing policies, but said there’s no rule stipulating the duration or terms of a given contract. The contract is typically renewed every five years or as needed, she said.

Fair housing complaints submitted to the EOC are investigated by a third-party firm, with the investigator conducting discovery and an investigation into the alleged infractions. The investigator will then give a determination whether there is a cause to believe there was a violation of fair housing laws. That determination is followed by conciliation where a third-party facilitator helps both parties reach an agreement to remedy the complaint.

If conciliation is unsuccessful, a professional mediator will meet with each party to resolve the complaint. Cases that remain unresolved or on appeal will be heard by the EOC at a formal hearing.

Downing said to her knowledge the city has consistently relied on conciliation and the issue has not drawn out into formal hearings.

The nature of the most recent complaints is not currently known. Downing said that complaints are not made public until after a determination is made due to the EOC needing to remain impartial throughout the process should a formal hearing be needed.

All funds for the investigator are paid through Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding.