Starrett arm refused rental subsidy for tenant with AIDS: suit

Grenadier Realty employee allegedly claimed company stopped accepting it
February 14, 2017 12:45PM

A tenant is accusing a property management subsidiary of Starrett Corporation of discrimination, saying the company would not take her rental subsidy because she has AIDS.

In A Lawsuit Filed With The Brooklyn Federal Court, Idalia Cruz claims an employee at Grenadier Realty Corporation, owned by Starrett, told her the company does not accept rental subsidies for people living with AIDS, the New York Daily News reported. The 49-year-old woman could pay up to $1,200 in rent through the city’s HIV/AIDS Services Administration (HASA), but had been living in emergency housing for over a year. She was on the waiting list for a $936-a-month one-bedroom rental, the suit said. The location of the one-bedroom apartment was not clear.

According to the suit, filed last month, the Grenadier Realty employee said, “Wait a minute, you’re a HASA client.” The subsidy, the employee allegedly claimed, made a “big difference” and the company would not accept HASA “anymore.” Cruz said the company also refused her application because of her source of income.

The company told the newspaper it does, in fact, accept the subsidy and is denying Cruz’s allegations.

Cruz said she is suing so this “doesn’t happen to anybody else under the same circumstances. Because somebody could easily commit suicide or not take their medication and die, feeling like they have no place to fit in,” according to the paper.

In 2015, Grenadier was sued for rejecting tenants using vouchers from Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Living in Communities (LINC) Rental Assistance program. The tenants were applying to rent in the Spring Creek Towers, a subsidized housing complex in East New York managed by Grenadier.

Grenadier owns a portfolio of over 40 properties containing more than 22,000 rental units, according to its website. Starrett, controlled by Pembroke Companies, is planning a 62-story glass tower at 259 Clinton Street with 732 apartments and 2,500 square feet of commercial space. [NYDN]Miriam Hall