DANVILLE, Va. -

After renting properties in Danville for more than 19 years. John Matthews says he's now finished with the business.

"It makes me sick, I can't sleep, I'm the one going through pain and suffering," Matthews said.

Earlier this month a Danville judge found Matthews violated two counts of the Federal Fair Housing Act.

He is now ordered to pay more than $36,000 for damages and legal fees.

In September, a Danville woman contacted Matthews about a rental property in Pelham, North Carolina she saw in an ad.

Matthews says the woman called four times with questions about the rent-to-own double wide mobile home.

"I said it's 10,000 down or 500 a month, 'Well you ain't got that in the paper. You're just telling me that because I'm black,'" Matthews said.

According to the Housing Opportunities Made Equal of Virginia, or HOME organization, Matthews told her the property was already rented.

The organization says her friend, who is white, called about the same property and the landlord offered it to her with no hassle.

In a news release this week, HOME says it investigated and confirmed housing discrimination through a series of tests from callers of different races.
In on instance the group says Matthews discouraged black people from renting, even calling them insensitive racial names.

"You believe you're the victim here?" WDBJ7's Justin Ward asked.

"Yes sir. I know I'm the victim," Matthews said.

Matthews says what he owes in legal fees is more than what he's got.

He now has a better understanding of the Fair Housing Act which states no landowner can discriminate in the sale, rental based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status and disability.

Matthews is looking for a lawyer to appeal. The woman has filed another lawsuit against Matthews and can't speak about either case.