Agents named in discrimination exposé face discipline from state

Three agents have appealed denials; 18 more may have licenses denied or revoked

A blockbuster investigation into housing discrimination on Long Island has led to disciplinary action for more than a dozen real estate agents.

The Department of State, which licenses real estate agents and instructors, has sought to deny license renewals to three brokers based on allegations of housing discrimination cited in Newsday’s 2019 investigation, “Long Island Divided.” Those agents have appealed the denials, Erin McCarthy, spokesperson for the state agency, told Newsday, which first reported the news.

The agency is also seeking to suspend or revoke the licenses of 18 agents cited in the outlet’s investigation, along with three instructors who allegedly made inappropriate statements during state-mandated fair housing classes.

The state has opened 52 more investigations into potential fair-housing law violations tied to the Newsday report, McCarty told the publication.

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When subpoenaed by the state Senate, agents cited in the probe insisted they had not discriminated against anyone or violated fair housing laws.

Taking a cue from Newsday’s three-year probe — which involved sending undercover testers to meet with real estate agents, and secretly videotaping brokers’ allegedly discriminatory actions — the state recently launched its own plan to combat housing bias. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced in February that the state will set aside $250,000 for the program, which will send out undercover testers to areas like New York City, Long Island and Westchester County.

[Newsday] — Akiko Matsuda

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