Cincinnati landlord John Klosterman will pay $167,125 to 20 former tenants he allegedly harassed

Klosterman: Consent decree 'speaks for itself'
John Klosterman in court in 2018
Posted at 7:08 PM, Sep 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-30 20:16:54-04

CINCINNATI — Longtime Sedamsville landlord John Klosterman and his wife, Sue, will pay $177,500 and be banned from renting or managing residential rental properties in the future as part of a consent decree announced on Wednesday by the United States Attorney's Office.

The U.S. Attorney's Office sued the Klostermans in 2018, accusing them of violating the Fair Housing Act.

Most of the money paid by the Klostermans will go to 20 former women tenants who said John Klosterman sexually harassed them.

“In this settlement, Klosterman acknowledges that the United States has evidence he sexually harassed tenants on multiple occasions,” said U.S. Attorney David M. DeVillers in a news release. “He’s being held accountable under the Fair Housing Act and will pay more than $167,000 to victims of his heinous conduct."

John Klosterman declined to discuss the settlement with the WCPO 9 I-Team.

"It speaks for itself," Klosterman responded on Wednesday to a text from the I-Team.

According to the U.S. Attorney's office, the Klostermans acknowledged in the consent decree that federal prosecutors had the following evidence in the case:

  • Sworn deposition testimony from John Klosterman acknowledging that, on multiple occasions, he engaged in inappropriate sexual communications with his female tenants and prospective tenants, made comments about the physical appearances of his female tenants and prospective tenants, sent pictures of a naked male statue to his female tenants, and offered to send to his female tenants, and requested that his female tenants send to him sexual photographs;
  • Sworn deposition testimony from John Klosterman admitting that he offered to pay an “allowance” to a female tenant in exchange for engaging in a sexual relationship with him; and
  • Text messages and recordings of phone calls in which John Klosterman made sexual comments to female tenants and prospective female tenants.

The I-Team has been investigating the condition of Klosterman's rental housing for years.

Klosterman and companies linked to him purchased and rented dozens of houses and apartments in Sedamsville, one of Cincinnati's smallest and most neglected neighborhoods, according to court records.

City inspectors began citing him for building code violations two decades ago.

In one 2016 case, a judge sentenced Klosterman to 60 days in jail for his "willful disregard" about a hazardous property he owned.

Klosterman said he needed to sell his properties to pay a $578,801 court judgment against him for unpaid Cincinnati taxes, code violation fines and fees, according to court records filed last year by Klosterman in U.S. District Court.

Those properties are now in receivership, according to court records.

The consent decree still must be approved by the federal court judge overseeing the case.