Thursday, December 6, 2012
Sunnyside building screening out Blacks?
From the NY Times:
In February, according to a lawsuit, when Lisa Darden went to a building in Sunnyside, Queens, and inquired about a one-bedroom apartment, the superintendent told her there were none available, and that he did not know when one might be.
Just over an hour later, the lawsuit states, another woman made the same inquiry. This time, the superintendent showed her a vacant apartment, told her he’d knock $100 off the rent because she was “nice people,” and handed her a rental application, according to the suit.
Ms. Darden is African-American, the other woman is white. The race-dependent availability of apartments was a pattern at the 107-unit apartment building at 41-41 46th Street, according to the Fair Housing Justice Center, a nonprofit group that sent both women out as discrimination “testers.”
The justice center and three African-American testers filed a federal lawsuit on Wednesday against the building’s owner, the Nasa Real Estate Corporation, and the building’s superintendent, Irfan Bekdemir, who the suit said acted as Nasa’s agent.
According to the complaint, filed in federal court for the Eastern District in Brooklyn, the three African-American testers were prevented from viewing apartments on separate occasions in February.
Mr. Bekdemir also quoted higher rents to the African-American testers, the complaint states, telling Ms. Darden that rents were generally between $1,500 and $1,700, while telling the white tester who followed her that he could rent her the apartment for $1,400.