Shady Lane suit settled for $22.5K

Socha Management reaches deal in Glenville apartment discrimination case

Deana Tope stands with her inter-racial family during a press conference at Shady Lane Apartments last July.

Deana Tope stands with her inter-racial family during a press conference at Shady Lane Apartments last July. Photo by John Purcell.

— A settlement was reached in a housing discrimination suit leveled by the New York State Attorney General’s office, but the defendant is still pleading foul.

Shady Lane Realty and Socha Management will pay the state $22,500 to settle the OAG’s lawsuit of alleged housing discrimination practices, which was filed in July 2010. The other requirements of the settlement include the owner and management company of the Glenville apartments to develop and implement non-discriminatory rental procedures and a non-discrimination policy, notify the public of its non-discrimination policy, require fair housing training for rental agents and provide periodic reports to the Attorney General’s Office.

“Depriving people of housing because they have children or because of their race is not only illegal, it is unconscionable,” said Attorney General Eric Schneiderman in a statement. “Landlords who violate our state’s fair housing laws will be held accountable. My office will not tolerate people being told where they can and cannot live based on their familial status, race, or any other unlawful reasons, and will continue to work to ensure equal access to housing for all New Yorkers.”

The charges stemmed from an undercover investigation conducted by the OAG. White and black testers were used to inquire about available apartments at random complexes statewide during several months in 2009. According to the state, there were differences in how the different races were treated.

The investigation also alleged differences in treatment between the individuals with children and those without children. Also, the state alleges the apartment complex maintained a “long-standing marketing campaign” advertising the appeal of the adult luxury living and mature living.

The settlement doesn’t include the defendants admitting any guilt towards alleged housing discrimination, however.

“In the settled agreement one of the key parts to it is we responded to all of their charges and denied each and every one,” said Bill Socha, president of Socha Management. “It still was a bitter pill to swallow to settle.”

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