Full Name
Steve Tomkowiak
Job Title
Executive Director
Fair Housing Center of Metropolitan Detroit
Speaker Bio
Steve Tomkowiak since 2018 has served as Executive Director of the Fair Housing Center of Metropolitan Detroit (FHCMD). Prior to serving as Executive Director, Tomkowiak for twenty-eight years specialized in the litigation and trial of mortgage lending and fair housing cases. He has litigated cases under all protected class categories. He served as lead counsel in numerous fair housing, fair lending, landlord-tenant, consumer protection, and real estate cases for a variety of clients, including one of the nation's largest mortgage lenders and its subprime division and captive insurers; a government sponsored enterprise (GSE); the Mortgage Electronic Registration System (MERS); property management companies; small businesses; real estate appraisers; churches; and individuals. Tomkowiak also served as an independent cooperating attorney for several fair housing centers.

Tomkowiak successfully briefed and argued a recent fair housing case before the Michigan Supreme Court. Riverbrook v. Fabode, 981 N.W.2d 468 (Mich. 2022). He is involved in two notable American Sign Language (ASL) cases pending before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. FHCMD v. American House Sr. Living, No. 21-11061 (E.D. Mich. Nov. 28, 2022), appeal pending, No. 23-2051 (Nov. 29, 2023); FHCMD v. Singh Sr. Living LLC, No. 21-12212 (E.D. Mich. Nov. 28, 2022), appeal pending, No. 23-3969 (Nov. 29, 2023). Tomkowiak also obtained federal court jury verdicts of $130,000 and $700,000 under the Fair Housing Act in residential mortgage lending discrimination cases and obtained a rare 50% attorney fee enhancement. Edwards v. Flagstar Bank, FSB, 297 F.3d 431 (6th Cir. 2002), cert. denied, 537 U.S. 1227 (2003); Stevenson v. Towne Mortgage Company, Fair Housing – Fair Lending Reporter Rptr. (PH) ¶16,129 (E.D. Mich. 1996). These are believed to be the first two successful jury verdicts under the Fair Housing Act involving residential lending discrimination and the first court decisions approving of mortgage lending testing. Tomkowiak has also filed appraisal and loan modification discrimination cases in federal and state courts and with HUD.

From 2004 to the present, Tomkowiak has served as a course developer and instructor with HUD’s National Fair Housing Training Academy (NFHTA). He has drafted NFHTA course materials on lending discrimination and predatory lending; writing for investigators; fair housing for private sector attorneys; and litigating fair housing cases. He also co-authored an NFHTA course on fair housing for private sector attorneys. He currently is co-authorizing a forthcoming management course for fair housing centers.

He has published articles on fair housing law and litigation, including The Fair Housing Act’s Disparate Impact Theory of Liability: A Viable but Underutilized Tool for Combatting Policies that Cause Adverse Effects and the Perpetuation of Segregation, 101 MICH. B.J. 26 (2022); Using Community Planning and Public Accommodations Laws to Address Racial Disparities in Health Outcomes—Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic (Federal Bar Ass’n Civil Rights Insider - Summer 2020); and Using Testing Evidence in Mortgage Lending Discrimination Cases, 41 URBAN LAWYER 319 (Spring 2009). He also co-authored Residential Racial and Socioeconomic Segregation as Predictors of Housing Discrimination in Detroit Metropolitan Area (Sustainability 2020, 12, 10429).

Tomkowiak has spoken and trained nationwide on fair housing and fair lending, including investigators and attorneys for HUD, state and local civil rights agencies; fair housing centers; HUD’s National Fair Housing Forums and policy conferences; the International Association of Human Rights Agencies (IAOHRA); the University of Michigan and UIC John Marshall law schools; and various regional, state, and local conferences throughout the nation. Tomkowiak is also a frequent trainer, averaging close to 60 trainings annually, for housing providers; property management companies; realtors; lending institutions; HUD-approved housing counseling agencies; municipalities; legal service organizations; condominium and cooperative boards; attorneys; homeowners; and tenants.
Steve Tomkowiak