A settlement has been reached in a sexual harassment lawsuit against the owner of the Sterling Renaissance Festival.
CNY Fair Housing, which along with six women filed the suit against Doug Waterbury in August 2017, announced the settlement in a news release Wednesday.
The suit accused Waterbury of subjecting tenants of his Oswego rental properties to unwanted sexual contact and other forms of harassment. As a result of the settlement, he will be permanently barred from managing rental properties and will be required to pay $400,000 in monetary relief, the release said. He must hire an independent management company, approved by CNY Fair Housing, to manage his properties. Additionally, he is prohibited from having any contact with tenants or prospective tenants, and from entering any occupied rental properties he owns.
CNY Fair Housing will monitor Waterbury's properties to make sure he complies with the settlement agreement, according to the release.
"We are pleased to have reached a settlement agreement that will get Doug Waterbury out of the rental business," CNY Fair Housing Executive Director Sally Santangelo said in the release. "We admire the incredible bravery of the many women who stepped forward. No woman should be subjected to sexual harassment and nowhere should a woman feel safer than in her own home."
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An adult ticket to the Sterling Renaissance Festival costs $28.95.
Waterbury owns about 50 rental properties in the Oswego area, as well as the Sterling Renaissance Festival in Fair Haven, Sylvan Sylvan Beach Amusement Park on Oneida Lake and Santa's Village in Lake Placid. He owns those properties with his wife, Carol, and their corporate entities, which were co-defendants in the suit. CNY Fair Housing and the six women — later eight — filed the suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York. It alleged that Waterbury violated the Fair Housing Act, which protects renters from discrimination based on sex, race and other classes.
The women defendants accused Waterbury of coercing them into sex to keep or obtain housing, making unwanted sexual contact with them and refusing maintenance work if they rejected him, among other allegations. The Department of Justice filed a similar suit in April 2018. According to court records, Waterbury was also negotiating to settle that suit, but its current status is unclear.
Reached by phone, Waterbury directed comment on the lawsuits to Shannon O'Connor, his legal representation at Goldberg Segalla. O'Connor did not respond to a request for comment.