Trial resumes in case of landlord accused of forcing tenant to sign sex contract
LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The federal civil lawsuit of a landlord accused of coercing his Section 8 tenant into signing a sex contract in order to rent a home was back in federal court today.
The case resumed after being interrupted in mid-August, and during the interruption, a new witness came forward.
The tenant in this case is a single mother, as is the new witness who came forward after seeing our coverage of the case in August.
She is a widow with young children who wanted to stay in the same house for school. She is expected to testify this week about how landlord Allan Rothstein asked her for sexual favors to make up for late fees on her rent.
Candy Torres, the plaintiff in the lawsuit, says she signed Rothstein’s sex contract to keep the house she had already moved into with her five children.
“As far as this document regarding, essentially, extorted sex, there is a problem,” said attorney Bruce Flammey, a housing law expert whom we asked to analyze the case in August.
“I think we have to say thank you to God for strong women,” Flammey said, “because I think it’s a valid argument that this (sex contract) is designed to be used against people who don’t have not have the resources to get up.”
Documents filed Friday show all payments Rothstein received from the Southern Nevada Regional Housing Authority.
The lawsuit claims that the nearly $25,000 in federal funds for Torres’ rent should have been all that Rothstein collected from her, but she alleges that he charged her illegal additional fees.
The trial was halted after a week of testimony in August.
Rothstein, who is in his 80s, said his health was in jeopardy due to death threats he received after media coverage of the case.
In court filings filed Friday, he claims to still have cognitive issues.
“No sane person would bother to write a contract like this.” Flamey said.
On Friday, U.S. District Judge Andrew Gordon declined to further delay the trial.
On the eve of its takeover, Rothstein filed for bankruptcy, saying its debts related to the business outweighed its assets.
While that won’t stop the lawsuit from moving forward, it will likely impact the damages Rothstein would pay if he loses the case.
Lawyers hope to conclude the trial this week.