Queens landlords settle record $1M discrimination case

Lawsuit claimed owners of Sand Castle apartments in Far Rockaway refused to rent apartments to people who had served time in prison

Nov.November 06, 2019 08:15 AM
The Sand Castle apartment complex at 7-11 Seagirt Ave in Far Rockaway (Credit: Google Maps)

The Sand Castle apartment complex at 7-11 Seagirt Ave in Far Rockaway (Credit: Google Maps)

Former owners of a rental building in Far Rockaway have agreed to pay $1 million to settle a federal lawsuit accusing them of discriminating against people who had been incarcerated.

Sandcastle Towers Housing Development Fund Corp., Weissman Realty Group and Sarasota Gold settled the case Tuesday. It centered on the 917-unit Sand Castle apartment complex, the Daily News reported.

The landlords, who no longer control the building, did not admit liability. But the social service provider that filed the lawsuit hailed the settlement as a win for formerly incarcerated renters.

“This settlement fires a warning shot across the bow of any landlord in America who blanketly refuses to rent apartments to people with criminal justice involvement,” JoAnne Page, CEO of the Fortune Society said in a prepared statement announcing the deal.

The case stretches back to 2014, when the Fortune Society accused the owners in Brooklyn federal court of violating the Fair Housing Act by automatically refusing to rent to someone with a criminal record. The group claims the $1.19 million settlement is one of the largest, if not the largest, of its kind.

Attorneys for Sand Castle did not respond to the Daily News’ request for comment. [NYDN] — Rich Bockmann


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