Sunday, November 29, 2015

Head Manhattan Fed To Local Real Estate Developers: Don't Think You Can Build Rental Apartments Inaccessible To Persons w/ Disabilities, Then "Hide Behind Opaque Corporate Structures To Evade" Fair Housing Act Obligations, Or "Avoid Liability For Violating That Act"

From the Office of the U.S. Attorney (New York City):
  • Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced [] that the United States has reached a settlement that resolves a federal civil rights lawsuit against THE DURST ORGANIZATION, INC. (“DURST”), a major real estate developer based in New York City, and DURST’s affiliates and subsidiaries.

    The lawsuit alleges that DURST engaged in a pattern and practice of developing rental apartment buildings that are inaccessible to persons with disabilities. Under the settlement, DURST agrees to establish procedures to ensure that its ongoing and future development projects, such as the 2,400-unit Halletts Point development in Queens and the 709-unit VIA 57 West development in Manhattan, will comply with the accessibility requirements of the federal Fair Housing Act (“FHA”).

    DURST also agrees to make two apartment buildings in Manhattan containing more than 1,000 units – The Helena and The Epic – more accessible to individuals with disabilities.

    Finally, DURST agrees to provide up to $515,000 to compensate aggrieved persons and pay a civil penalty of $55,000. The settlement was reached after the court denied DURST’s motion to dismiss the government’s lawsuit and was approved yesterday by U.S. District Judge Ronnie Abrams.

    Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “This is the ninth in a series of lawsuits that this office has brought against real estate developers and architects who fail to design and construct new apartment buildings accessible to people with disabilities. When the government filed this lawsuit, Durst claimed that it should not be held responsible for inaccessible conditions at The Helena and other rental buildings – despite the fact that Durst’s own website trumpets its role in developing those buildings. It was only after the Court rejected Durst’s argument that Durst finally accepted its obligations under the law.

    [This] settlement with Durst makes clear that real estate developers cannot hide behind opaque corporate structures to evade their obligation to comply with the Fair Housing Act or avoid liability for violating that Act.”

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home