Dakota co-op board race discrimination lawsuit dismissed

Income, not color, responsible for defendants' rejection: court

From left: Alphonse Fletcher Jr. and the Dakota on the Upper West Side
From left: Alphonse Fletcher Jr. and the Dakota on the Upper West Side

The Dakota board may have discriminated, but only in the way it’s supposed to.

A lawsuit against the iconic co-op brought by former hedge fund manager Alphonse “Buddy” Fletcher Jr. was dismissed this week, when Justice Eileen Rakower of the New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan found that Fletcher’s weak financial position was explanation enough for his rejection.

Fletcher sued the board, which he’d once led, in 2011 after it rejected his application to buy a second apartment at the famously-selective co-op, known as a haunt for celebrities like Leonard Bernstein, Lauren Bacall and John Lennon.

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Rakower wrote Fletcher’s accusation was “devoid of any specifics and replete with conclusions,” according to the New York Times.

“Fletcher’s subjective, unsubstantiated belief that his race played a role in the board’s denial of his application is insufficient to establish pretext,” she wrote.

Fletcher said he would appeal the ruling, as the court had excluded his 126-page affidavit that he said provided evidence for his claims. [NYT] Ariel Stulberg