JANESVILLE — The landlord behind the mass termination in Janesville affecting nearly 90 properties had been the subject in 2022 of a federal sexual harassment lawsuit.

The landlord issued 28-day notices terminating rental agreements at many of its 93 residential rental properties in Janesville, according to the city.

The move comes after Housing Services Division issued 46 enforcement citations last month to the property owner and related property owners regarding alleged violations concerning some of these rental properties, according to a city of Janesville news release.

The city has not named the landlord, but according to an open records request, citations were issued to Richard D. Donahue of Janesville.

According to online court records, 35 citations were entered into court records on Jan. 18.

Citations included violations regarding heating issues, pests, fences, electrical issues and more.

Eleven citations were issued to Donahue’s wife, Mary, for similar complaints.

In May of 2022, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that it has filed a lawsuit against Richard and Mary Donahue alleging sexual harassment and retaliation in violation of the Fair Housing Act.

According to the complaint, Richard Donahue made repeated and unwelcome sexual comments to female tenants, entered the homes of female tenants without their consent, touched female tenants’ bodies without their consent, requested sexual contact, offered reduced or free rent in exchange for sexual contact, and took adverse housing-related actions against female tenants who refused his sexual advances. 

The city of Janesville is taking the lead on helping residents who received one of nearly 100 termination notices to find new places to live.

If you or someone you know is affected, there are resources available from the city.

Tenants affected should begin by contacting City Housing Services at (608) 755-3065. 

“The City’s resource network has an action plan to reach out to tenants and find assistance best suited for them,” said Nick Faust, assistant to the city manager.