The Real Deal New York

LeFrak sued for alleged discrimination at LeFrak City

April 26, 2013 09:00AM

A housing advocacy group has sued the LeFrak Organization for alleged discrimination based on disability and income at the 5000-unit LeFrak City complex in Queens, Real Estate Weekly reported. 

The Fair Housing Justice Center received word from Housing Works that a woman living with AIDS had been denied an apartment at LeFrak City because she intended to pay her rent with a subsidy from the HIV/AIDS Services Administration (HASA), according to a press release from Housing Works seen by Real Estate Weekly.

The FHJC then conducted an investigation into the incident, which yielded evidence of systemic discrimination based on source of income and disability at the sprawling complex, as well as at other LeFrak-operated buildings in the city, the lawsuit alleges.

The lawsuit goes on to say that LeFrak and its subsidiary rental management company, Estate NY Real Estate Services LLC, discriminate against applicants with rental assistance of any kind.

Representatives from LeFrak did not immediately respond to Real Estate Weekly’s requests for comment.

“Discrimination in housing is not merely odious, and offensive, but it is life-threatening for thousands of indigent New Yorkers living with AIDS. With affordable housing increasingly hard to come by in this city, it is critical that we ensure that apartments be made available to all, regardless of disability or source of income,” Armen Merjian, an attorney at Housing Works, told Real Estate Weekly. [REW]Hiten Samtani