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Minneapolis landlord accused of trading lower rent for sex, gets rich man's justice

David Sheets was allowed to settle the case while admitting no wrongdoing.

David Sheets was allowed to settle the case while admitting no wrongdoing. Chauncey Lemieux

Even in the vicious Minneapolis rental market, you can still find deals on housing. But there's a good chance you won't like the terms.

Enter landlord David Sheets. According to the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), he got libidinously creative with a special tenant, offering to trade her lower rent for sexual favors. Repeatedly.

HUD, which has not released the woman's name, brought charges on her behalf. But in the end, the agency would settle for a rich man's form of justice.

It's a special tier of law popularized by George W. Bush, accelerated under Obama, and codified as holy scripture under Trump. Instead of charging the well-to-do with crimes, the feds offer deals in which the targets admit no wrongdoing, pay a fine, and essentially buy their way clear of trouble.

Take J.P. Morgan, the poster child of the practice. Since 2000, America's largest bank has paid more than $30 billion in fines involving 107 cases since 2000, without a single executive ever seeing a cell.

Sheets apparently received the same brand of justice. According to HUD, he agreed to pay $30,000 to the woman, and $7,000 to her lawyer. He also has to employ a management company to oversee his residential properties for the next five years.

Still, he was able to get this deal without admitting any wrongdoing, and the woman was forced to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

All this allows Sheets to still stress his innocence in the case, and the woman now has no way of claiming otherwise.