The persnickety co-op board of the building at 210 East 36th Street in Murray Hill may have gone too far in rejecting an African American man who paid in cash, with no explanation. According to the New York Daily News, the co-op board now faces a discrimination lawsuit in excess of $1 million.
Before signing a contract for a studio apartment this spring, Goldwyn Thandrayen put down the entire $400,000 sale price, $30,000 as a guarantee and $15,000 for yearly maintenance fees, all in cash, the Daily News reported. Thandrayen is a Berkeley College business student and native of the Republic of Mauritius, an island nation off the coast of Africa, who made his fortune in the refrigerator business and global real estate investments.
After jumping through all the co-op board’s hoops — the board forced him to have his British documents translated into American English — it came as a surprise when he was rejected without an interview and or an explanation, he claims.
“It’s pretty bad,” Thandrayen said. “From the very start I knew [the board’s behavior] was weird, [but] I really wanted the apartment and I did everything they asked.”
Now Thandrayen has lawyered-up and is seeking damages for discrimination based on his country of origin. One email from a co-op board member, uncovered by the lawsuit, complained that Thandrayen’s “entire financial portfolio is in some tiny little unknown country.”
According to the lawsuit, the board’s demand that he seek a “professional translation” of documents written in English, was “not only bizarre, but one of a series of examples of overly discriminatory roadblocks.”
The building’s management agent declined to comment to the Daily News. [NYDN] —Christopher Cameron