Amusement Park owner settles second lawsuit for $450,000 penalty

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OSWEGO — The owner of Sylvan Beach Amusement Park and other recreational properties throughout upstate New York, accused back in August 2017 of “rent-for-sex demands” with female tenants of his rental properties, has settled a second lawsuit against him for another $450,000 penalty.

Douglas S. Waterbury, owner of E&A Management, Co., and Ontario Realty, Inc., previously settled a civil lawsuit in June brought against him by eight women and CNY Fair Housing of Syracuse, claiming as a landlord, he sexually harassed the women from 2012-17, demanding sex for lower rent fees and maintenance work. He was ordered to pay $400,000 to compensate the plaintiffs.

On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that Waterbury, his business partner and two related entities settled a second lawsuit on the same accusations, brought against him this time by the Justice Department. Waterbury and the others have been ordered to pay an additional $400,000 in monetary damages to the former tenants and potential tenants, as well as a $50,000 civil penalty, according to Department officials.

Waterbury is also barred from renting properties in the future.

“The sexual harassment of the vulnerable female applicants and tenants in this case by their landlord is an egregious and intolerable violation of federal civil rights law,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband.

“The Department of Justice will continue to pursue any depraved landlords and others who prey upon vulnerable women.”

In addition to Sylvan Beach Amusement Park, as owner of Empire Attractions, LLC, Waterbury also owns and operates the Sterling Renaissance Faire, Santa’s Workshop in Lake Placid and 50 rental properties, mostly located in the City of Oswego.

According to the lawsuit, the women claimed that Waterbury required them to meet him alone when they inquired about renting one of his apartments.

When they got there, he quoted them an inflated rent price, then told them he would accept “trades” as partial payment, the suit said.

The lawsuit also claimed when the women asked him if they could do work at his properties to lower the rent, he told them he wanted sex in exchange for the lower prices.  Three of the six women acquiesced to Waterbury’s demands and had sex with him to get the rent lowered. The three others refused and did not rent from him, with one going homeless, according to the suit originally filed.

Two women rented as roommates from Waterbury. The lawsuit stated they had sex with him about 15 times each for lower rent and to get him to clean up their property. Waterbury sometimes used his landlord’s key to enter their apartment without permission, the women said.

When the two women’s garage filled with garbage, their home became infested with rodents and their furnace stopped working, Waterbury complained that they weren’t having sex with him as frequently as he wanted, the suit said. Two of the women then reported Waterbury’s propositions to Oswego Police Department.

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