Mineola, NY (PRWEB) August 29, 2013
On Wednesday, August 28, 2013, ERASE Racism, the Fair Housing Justice Center (FHJC), and three African American testers filed a lawsuit in federal district court (E.D.N.Y., CV13-482-1) alleging that the owners and managers of an apartment building in the Village of Mineola discriminate against African American renters.
In 2012, an investigation was jointly funded and sponsored by ERASE Racism and FHJC, which included sending several teams of comparably qualified African American and white testers posing as prospective renters, to inquire about apartments at the 74-unit Town House Apartments located at 225 First Street in the Village of Mineola, a predominantly white community in Nassau County.
According to the lawsuit, an “Apartment for Rent” sign appeared at the entrance of one of the largest rental buildings in Mineola. Despite the sign, the complaint alleges that the building superintendent discouraged African Americans from renting apartments by misrepresenting the availability of apartments, not showing available apartments, quoting higher rents, and/or suggesting there could be a wait because other people were ahead of them. The lawsuit names LLR Realty, LLC based in Port Washington, NY along with the building superintendent as defendants.
The suit alleges that the defendants’ conduct constitutes racial discrimination in violation of the federal Fair Housing Act, which states that it is illegal to “discriminate against any person in the terms, conditions, or privileges of sale or rental of a dwelling, or in the provision of services or facilities in connection therewith, because of race, color, religion, sex, familial status, or national origin”. The suit also alleges racial discrimination in violation of the Nassau County Human Rights Law.
The lawsuit seeks injunctive relief to stop the alleged discrimination and ensure future compliance with fair housing laws as well as seeking damages and attorney’s fees. The plaintiffs are represented by Diane L. Houk and Samuel Shapiro with the law firm of Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady, LLP.
ERASE Racism president, Elaine Gross, commented that, “On August 28, 1963, a quarter million people gathered in Washington, DC for the historic March on Washington. Today, 50 years later, I am here in DC, standing where they stood as thousands of us gather to commemorate that day and renew our commitment to continue the work that was done across this country to bring justice and equity to a disenfranchised people, the descendants of slaves.”
“Fair housing”, Ms. Gross continued, “the ability to purchase or rent the home of your choice in the community of your choice, regardless of the color of your skin, has been a hallmark of the civil rights movement. Yet here we are, 50 years after the March on Washington and 45 years after the passage of the federal Fair Housing Act, with ERASE Racism fighting to make fair housing a reality on Long Island, the 10th most racially segregated metropolitan region in the country.”
About ERASE Racism: ERASE Racism is a regional organization that leads public policy advocacy campaigns and related programmatic initiatives to promote racial equity in areas such as housing, public school education and healthcare. It engages in a variety of research, education and consulting activities to identify and address institutional and structural racism, primarily on Long Island.