Shady Lane rental agent denounces claims of racism

Tenants gather to support Socha Management

The parking lot of Socha Plaza was a little more crowded with supporters Monday, July 26, when residents gathered to support Socha Management against a lawsuit filed by Attorney General Andrew Cuomo which alleges racial discrimination.

We are here this morning to set the record straight and deny the attorney general's accusations of housing discrimination, said William Socha, vice president of Socha Management. " I find his accusations shocking and repugnant to our family owned business model and reputation in the community."

The charges stem from an undercover investigation conducted by the attorney general's office. White and black testers were use to inquire about available apartments at random complexes statewide during several months last year.

Shady Lane Apartments, run by Socha Management, is accused of discriminating against African-Americans and families with children. The investigation claims African-American applicants asking to view apartments were told to complete a form and make an appointment, while white applicants were not required to take these steps. Also, white applicants when shown apartments received attention and told about the unit, while African-Americans were left view the apartments on their own.

"This case has forced us into the public eye, which has been nothing but uncomfortable, embarrassing and a stressful situation for both me and my entire family," said Tope.

Tope's family was in attendance too and she explained how she has undergone discrimination for her bi-racial family with her African-American partner.

"Not only do I know first hand how it feels to be discriminated against, because the color of my families skin, but we had the unfortunate experience of being rejected by landlords because of the color of their skin," said Tope. "I wonder if any of you know what it feels like and how bad it hurts to be in the grocery store with your innocent children while the woman next to you, as ignorant as she may be, spits racial slurs in your face and stares. Now I ask you with a heavy heart, how could you believe these accusations against me to be true?"

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