A Denver landlord reached a settlement with a Muslim family for denying them a sublease because of their religion. Katina Gatchis agreed to pay $675,000 for her discriminatory actions against Rashad Kahn and his father, according to The Denver Post. Khan wanted to lease a space she owned on 9th and Corona in Denver to open up their second Indian restaurant. However, they were rejected due to being Muslim by Gatchis.
In 2016, Craig Caldwell signed a five-year lease on a corner spot owned by Katina Gatchis for his fried chicken restaurant. Unfortunately, he closed his restaurant down in 2017 but was still on the hook for the lease. Instead of paying the rent for the remaining time, he decided to sublease the place. Caldwell found Rashad Khan who was looking for a place to open up his second family-owned Indian restaurant called “Curry n Kebob.”
After Caldwell checked Khan’s financial records and tried out their food, he thought the Khan family was the perfect tenant. He took the sublease agreement to Katina Gatchis because he needed her to sign off on the sublease.
Weeks went by without a word from Gatchis, so he went to her to see what was going on. He was surprised to find out that Gathchi’s son wouldn’t least the place to the Khans because they were Muslim.
“I didn’t believe it, and I didn’t think anybody would believe me,” Caldwell told Fox Denver.
This caused Caldwell to start secretly recording their conversations with a recording app on his smartphone. He confronted Katina Gatchis and she let it be known that no Muslims were going to be leasing from her. In the recording, Gatchis is heard telling Caldwell that she wanted an “American person” and not the “dangerous” and “trouble” making Muslims.
Caldwell hoped that she would change her mind after giving her some time. But when he returned a few days later she was staunch on her no Muslim policy.
“He said it’s because he’s a Muslim,” Caldwell said, according to recordings obtained by Fox Denver.
“No,” Katina said.
“I can’t have a Muslim?” he asked.
“No,” she said.
“How come?” Caldwell asked.
“Because we have before, we had a lot of troubles. This kind, this type, they are very dangerous. Extremely dangerous.”
She went on and said that the Muslims caused “problems” while Caldwell tried to convince her to reconsider. Furthermore, she stressed that she and Caldwell were “Americans” and that there were a “lot of differences” between them and Muslims.
“So if I get anybody, as long as it’s not a Muslim, I’d be okay?”
“Yes. No Muslims. Especially this guy.”
Caldwell, Rashad Khan, and his father ended up suing Gatchis over her refusal to rent to a Muslim. The trial was set but right before the jury selection, the two parties agreed on a settlement in April. Katina Gatchis admitted that the “recordings are accurate” and that she “unlawfully discriminated.” She agreed to pay the three men $675,000 under the settlement.
“I wish it didn’t have to come to this. Honestly, I just wish I was selling curry down the street right now,” Rashad Khan told CBS Denver. “That would been the ideal situation but this reaffirms my faith in my country, in Denver, and where we live.”