Saturday, February 20, 2016

NYC Landlord/Developer Agrees To Make Expensive Retrofits In Nine Recently-Built Residential Complexes & Fork Over Up To $950K To Resolve Federal Lawsuit Alleging Its Buildings Had Accessibility Issues For People w/ Disabilities

In New York City, The New York Times reports:
  • Glenwood Management, a politically influential developer of luxury high-rise apartment buildings in Manhattan that figured in two recent public corruption trials, has agreed to settle a civil rights lawsuit that claimed three of its residential complexes violated the Fair Housing Act’s requirements for people with disabilities.

    The settlement was detailed in a consent decree approved [] by Judge J. Paul Oetken of Federal District Court in Manhattan, who will retain jurisdiction to enforce the deal’s terms for three years, according to the document.

    Glenwood agreed to make alterations at the three complexes in Manhattan, and to inspect six others and, if necessary, retrofit those as well, according to the deal the developer struck with the office of Preet Bharara, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York.

    Glenwood also agreed to pay up to $900,000 in compensation to people who suffered as a result of what the decree described as the firm’s “discriminatory housing practices.” The developer also is to pay a $50,000 civil penalty.
    One of the buildings is Liberty Plaza, a 287-unit complex at 10 Liberty Street in the Financial District that Glenwood says was the first high-rise rental building constructed in Lower Manhattan after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. It was designed and constructed with many inaccessible features, Mr. Bharara’s office said, like a lack of space in bathrooms and kitchens for people in wheelchairs, and bathroom configurations that prevented the installation of “grab bars.”

    In the consent decree, Glenwood agreed that “without admitting liability,” it would address the alleged housing act violations. In a written statement [], it said it would work to “enhance the accessibility” of the nine buildings cited in the agreement.

    Mr. Bharara, whose civil rights unit handled the case, said on Friday that the Glenwood lawsuit was the 10th filed by his office to “ensure that the promise of the Fair Housing Act — that newly built residential buildings are accessible to people with disabilities — is being fulfilled in New York City.”

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