Local landlord accused of offering housing in exchange for sexual favors

department of justice DOJ
Posted at 4:12 PM, Mar 15, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-15 18:13:56-04

DEARBORN HEIGHTS, Mich. (WXYZ) — A local 51-year-old property owner and manager is accused of offering up housing to potential tenants in exchange for sexual favors.

Mohamad Hussein, who owns and manages over two dozen houses in Dearborn Heights, is now at the center of a federal case.

"I was completely taken aback," said Erick Matthews.

Matthews said he was stunned by the allegations against his landlord Mohamad Hussein. The U.S. Department of Justice announced a federal lawsuit against him, accusing him of subjecting female tenants and prospective ones to sexual harassment.

We spoke to one tenant who did not want to be identified.

"I've never had nothing like that, no experience like that with him at all. He's always short and sweet. 'Did you deposit your rent?' Yes, that's it," said one tenant.

But federal investigators say that's not how things went for other women. In one case, it's alleged Hussein told a prospective tenant that they could come to a rental agreement if she performed a sex act on him and then sent nude pictures of himself.

"I would not have suspected anything, you know, regarding harassment with women at all," said Matthews.

Matthews says he and a former roommate suspected there was some sort of investigation underway a few months ago with a letter that came in the mail.

"They're out of state now. But they actually reached out to me to say, 'hey, Mohamed's being sued by someone for, you know, harassment' or what have you. I'm like, 'oh, my God, I didn't know anything about it.' I'm still shocked," said Matthews.

In the lawsuit, federal investigators say Hussein texted prospective tenants things like “you take care of me I take care of you”... “let’s have a little fun"... "Everything will be secret don’t worry" and “I want to do you honey.”

One woman responded with "what's sex have to do with renting a house."

In a statement to 7 Action News, Hussein's attorney Azzam Elder slammed the DOJ's lawsuit and its allegations by anonymous tenants, saying the secrecy has handcuffed his client.

He said they categorically deny the allegations and that his client has tenants who will testify to his kindness and stellar reputation.

"He's never said nothing to me, in any kind of way, inappropriate," said a tenant.

Hussein's lawyer also said they look forward to cross-examining the accusers and clearing his client's name.

The full statement from Hussein's attorney is below:

"Yesterday the DOJ filed a press release against Mr. Hussein, making allegations of sexual harassment by “anonymous” tenants. First, the secrecy of the alleged tenants, by design, has handcuffed Mr. Hussein and hindered his ability to clear his name. We categorically deny the allegations as false. It should be known that we have spoken to numerous tenants who will testify about Mr. Hussein’s kindness and stellar reputation.

Second, we do not believe a press release is the proper method for a government entity to use to announce accusations against any citizen. Every American has the right to know his/her accuser and not to have the evidence against them hidden until the Government deems it appropriate to release.

We will not try this case online or in the media. We look forward to rigorously cross-examining these accusers and to clearing Mr. Hussein’s name.

Azzam Elder,

Attorney for Mr. Hussein"