Friday, May 01, 2009

Justice Department Settles Lakewood, NJ Housing Discrimination Case

In a press release yesterday, the U.S. Department of Justice announced a settlement in a discrimination lawsuit filed against the owner, manager and former manager of Cottage Manor Apartments in Lakewood, New Jersey. The Department of Housing and Urban Development, on behalf of tenants, charged that defendants engaged in discrimination on the basis of religion, race and national origin. According to the press release:
The defendants transferred or attempted to transfer Hispanic and African American tenants from their apartments located in its most desirable building to make room for Orthodox Jews whom they courted as new tenants from 2002 to 2004. The defendants then assigned the non-Jewish tenants to less desirable apartments in the rear of the property, which had fewer amenities and were less well maintained than the most desirable building at the front of the property. The defendants charged the incoming Jewish tenants less rent than they did to non-Jewish tenants for apartments of similar size.
The settlement, which still requires court approval, calls for defendants to pay $170,000 to identified discrimination victims and a $30,000 civil penalty to the government. (See prior related posting.) [Thanks to Joel Katz (Relig. & State In Israel) for the lead.]