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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.

— Socha said taking the case before a court would have had his company accruing up to $200,000 in costs, not including legal fees once it is before the court. According to Socha, the Attorney General’s Office originally wanted to settle the case for $75,000 fine. He claims the reduced $22,500 penalty proves the evidence wasn’t strong enough to support the state’s claims.

“For them to have gone down … shows they didn’t feel they have a strong case as well,” Socha said. “What we were finding was their case was very weak and invalid.”

He said a previous settlement would have included the company admitting guilt, which was a term he couldn’t agree to.

Michelle Duffy, spokeswoman for the Attorney General’s Office, declined to comment on the strength of the evidence used in the investigation.

“He is free to say whatever he wants, but I am not going to discus the investigation,” Duffy said.

Socha said the lawsuit is “still very upsetting” for Deana Tope, the sole rental agent for Shady Lane before and after the lawsuit.

In response to the lawsuit, tenants of the apartment complex gathered for a press conference held by Socha Management in July of 2010 to dispute the claims.

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

“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,” Tope said during the press conference. “Now I ask you with a heavy heart, how could you believe these accusations against me to be true?”

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