FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 24, 2017
Debbie Greenberger, Esq., Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady LLP, 212-763-5000
Geoffrey Anderson, Westchester Residential Opportunities, 914-428-4507
Westchester Residential Opportunities Alleges Housing Discrimination by Mamaroneck Cooperative
White Plains, NY – Westchester Residential Opportunities (WRO), together with an individual plaintiff, has filed a lawsuit for alleged discrimination against families with children by Mamaroneck Gardens, Inc. and PLI Prime Locations, Inc. Filed in federal court on March 23, 2017. The lawsuit claims that the actions of the defendants violated the Fair Housing Act and New York State Human Rights Law.
The individual plaintiff, a single mother with a 4-year old child, was hoping to purchase a one- bedroom apartment in a large co-op complex at 112 Richbell Road in Mamaroneck. She currently lives with her daughter in a studio apartment in the Bronx. She was looking for a safe place with good schools to raise her daughter. She was wrongfully denied the opportunity to purchase the apartment due to Defendants’ discriminatory housing policy. Mamaroneck Gardens’ official policy is that only two adults can occupy a one-bedroom apartment; one adult with one child may not buy a one-bedroom apartment in Mamaroneck Gardens.
WRO is a non-profit housing counseling agency that promotes the expansion of non-discriminatory housing opportunities in Westchester and the Lower Hudson Valley. WRO provides fair housing education, conducts investigations of alleged housing discrimination, and offers a First Time Homebuyers Program that educates and helps interested buyers obtain down payment assistance and mortgage advice.
Defendant Mamaroneck Gardens owns and operates the 288-unit complex where the plaintiff sought to buy an apartment. Defendant PLI Prime Locations is the property manager for that complex.
Upon learning of Defendants’ discriminatory housing policy, WRO conducted a testing investigation. WRO arranged for two trained testers to record visits to Mamaroneck Gardens, posing as potential purchasers. One tester posed as a single female with one child; the other tester posed as a married couple with no children. These tests confirmed that Defendants unlawfully preclude one adult with one child from living in a one-bedroom apartment, while allowing two adults to live together in a one-bedroom apartment.
Executive Director Geoffrey Anderson of WRO stated: “WRO works to ensure that all people, including families with children, are welcome wherever they choose to live in the Lower Hudson Valley. Families with children, people amid adoptions, and pregnant women are all protected from housing discrimination by federal and state law. WRO’s staff will continue to work to expand housing opportunity and fight housing discrimination in all its forms.”
WRO’s attorneys are Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady LLP of New York City.
The work that provided the basis for this press release was supported by funding provided through a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Founded in 1968, WRO is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to promote equal, affordable, and accessible housing opportunities for all residents of its region.