Sunday, November 13, 2016

NJ AG Sends Fair Housing Testers To Sting Landlord Of 17-Unit Building, Tagging Him With Discrimination Suit After Receiving Complaint From Prospective Tenant (Who Wore Islamic Head Covering) Alleging He Told Her "I Don't Rent To Muslims"

In Elizabeth, New Jersey, nj.com reports:
  • When Fatma Farghaly responded to a Craigslist ad for a one-bedroom apartment in Elizabeth, authorities say, she was told to come check it out.

    But when she arrived the next day wearing a khimar, a Muslim head covering, the landlord allegedly told her: "I don't rent to Muslims."

    Now the landlord, William Greda, faces a five-count complaint from the state Division on Civil Rights, which says it sent its own investigators to the Maple Garden apartment complex and substantiated Farghaly's claims.
    ***
    Attorney General Christopher Porrino called Greda's behavior "blatantly bias-driven and unacceptable under both state and federal law."

    He said the division sent two groups of "testers" to the complex after receiving Farghaly's complaint. The first group consisted of a man and a woman wearing a head scarf, who inquired about a listed apartment using a Muslim-sounding name.

    According to the complaint, Greda told the female applicant the basement apartment she was interested in was "not good for you."

    The second pair did not present themselves as Muslim, according to the complaint, and Greda did not discourage them from renting the apartment.

    During their investigation, authorities say Greda and his wife "made several unsupported claims" about why they refused an apartment to Farghaly.

    The couple said Farghaly told them she planned to house five people – three adults and two children – inside the one-bedroom apartment, according to the complaint. But authorities said Farghaly has no children and planned on living in the apartment alone.

    Civil Rights Director Craig Sashihara said [] that owners of single- or double-family dwellings can refuse to rent to anyone if they live in the building, but large rental complexes are subject to the fair housing laws.

    The complaint, filed in state Superior Court in Union County, accuses Greda of violating the state's Law Against Discrimination by refusing to rent to a tenant because of her religion and making discriminatory statements about her religion and gender.
For the story, see N.J. landlord told woman: 'I don't rent to Muslims,' AG says.

For the New Jersey Attorney General press release, see Attorney General, Division on Civil Rights Announce Superior Court Complaint Against Landlord for Rejecting Muslim Apartment Seeker (Landlord Accused of Telling Woman Wearing Khimar: ‘I Don’t Rent to Muslims’):
  • The complaint’s fifth count charges that Greda unlawfully transferred ownership of the rental complex he and his wife co-owned in order to hinder, delay or defraud the State. Specifically, the complaint charges that Greda created a corporate entity called Maple Garden LLC, then transferred ownership of the complex – for $1 – to that entity in April 2016 despite an awareness of the Division on Civil Rights’ investigation.

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