Ex-broker hit with $20K fine for alleged discrimination

City claims agent posted Craigslist ad seeking dual-income, kids-free tenant
February 19, 2014 02:15PM

Former Fillmore Real Estate broker Michael Jenkins was slapped with a $20,000 fine after posting an apartment ad seeking “DINKs” — dual-income, no-kids — tenants only.

The Craigslist ad for a one-bedroom unit on East 85th Street in Canarsie was posted in 2011 by Jenkins, stating: “A FAMILY SIZE OF 2 PEPOLE [sic] ONLY !!!!!!!!” and “WE MUST HAVE A WORKING COUPLE WITH 2 INCOMES.”

The post flew in the face of New York’s housing laws, which prohibit discriminatory preferences for tenants in listing posts. Jenkins was contacted by city investigators working undercover. One claimed to be married with no kids, the other said he had plans to move in with his pregnant girlfriend. Jenkins allegedly told the latter that “the owners preferred only two adults and that he was unsure about whether the owners would accept a couple who were expecting a child,” Human Rights Commission documents cited by the New York Post said. The other undercover investigator, meanwhile, secured an appointment to view the unit, according to records.

Jenkins, for his part, told the Post that he won’t take part in the hearings as he was simply conveying the landlord’s requirements and was a victim of “entrapment.” He also said that the city won’t have any luck collecting the fine because, now that’s he’s stopped working as a broker, he’s broke.

The apartment owner Walcott Romain, at one point also on the receiving end of the charges, has since been removed from the case. He told the Post that he has tenants with both children and grandchildren, and did not recall any contact with Jenkins.

“You want to put a lie saying I refused to rent, which is untrue,” Romain said when contacted by the Post. “Are you crazy or something?” [NYP]Julie Strickland