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Women Claim Landlord Demanded Sex for Reasonable Rent Price
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Douglas Waterbury

Summary: Six women, with the aid of CNY Fair Housing, have sued an Oswego landlord for demanding sex in exchange for reasonable rent prices and maintenance work.

Douglas Waterbury is the owner of the Renaissance Fair in Sterling, Santa’s Workshop near Lake Placid, Sylvan Beach Amusement Park, and a number of rental properties in Oswego. Six women have come forward, claiming he demanded sex from them in exchange for lower rent and maintenance work.


The low-income women, with the help of CNY Fair Housing, have filed a lawsuit in federal court for sexual harassment for the past five years. They claim that he used his position as a landlord to take advantage of them and their situations.

The lawsuit states that the Waterbury would require the women to meet them alone when they met with him to inquire about his available apartments. When the women would arrive alone to meet with him, he would quote them with an unreasonably high price for rent, adding he would be willing to accept “trades” as partial payment.

The suit claims that the women asked Waterbury if they could perform some work at his properties for a lower rent but he explicitly stated he wanted sex as the payment. Half of the women gave in to his demands, with one of them claiming she did it out of fear because he blocked the door when she tried to leave. She did not end up renting from him. The other three women would not agree to his request and never rented from him. One of those women went homeless.

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The two women that agreed to his demand and rented from him were roommates. They claim they had sex with him about 15 times each to get lower rent and have him clean up the property. They said he would also use his key to enter their apartment without permission.

The roommates explained that their garage filled with garbage, their furnace stopped working and their home had a rodent infestation but when they complained to Waterbury about the conditions, he complained that he wasn’t getting enough sex.

Executive Director Sally Santangelo of the CNY Fair Housing said of the six women, two reported him to the Oswego Police Department months ago. A third woman had reported his conduct to the police years ago.

Oswego Police Chief Tory DeClaire admits that the office had received at least one report of “inappropriate or suspicious activity involving a local landlord.” He would not comment further, stating there was an ongoing investigation.

The names of the women were redacted from the lawsuit copies provided by the CNY Fair Housing to The Post-Standard and, as they do not publish the names of alleged victims of sexual crimes.

This is not the first time Waterbury has been in trouble over how he manages his properties. A year ago, he had a building condemned after failing to make a series of critical improvements to the multi-unit home. The tenants of that building claim they had been asking him to make repairs and changes for over a year to the building. Most have since taken him to small claims court to get their rent and deposits back.

Do you think Waterbury’s business as a landlord should be shut down since he has two separate issues regarding how he handles his rental properties? Tell us in the comments below.

To learn more about bad landlords, read these articles:



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