Albany, NY

Cuomo knocks Astorino over HUD settlement fight

October 01, 2014
Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday criticized Westchester County's refusal to comply with a federal housing settlement, knocking Rob Astorino, the county executive and GOP gubernatorial candidate, for disregarding the federal mandate.
     Astorino has been battling the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development since he took office in 2010 over a 2009 fair housing settlement, contending that the deal takes away land-use decisions from local towns. It's led HUD
     to withhold more than $20 million
     in grants to local governments since 2011.
     Cuomo, who lives in New Castle and headed HUD in the 1990s, said the county should comply with the federal settlement, saying, "I have no reason to disagree with the federal findings."

Settlement reached in local housing discrimination suit

September 26, 2011
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced a settlement on Monday between his office and the rental agency for Shady Lane Apartments in Glenville. Socha Management and Shady Lane Realty are now required to develop and implement non-discriminatory rental procedures and a non-discrimination policy. They will also need to notify the public of their policy, require fair housing training for all rental agents, and pay a penalty of $22,500 to New York State. The settlement is the result of an undercover investigation by the Attorney General's office. In July 2010, the Attorney General's office filed a lawsuit charging the complex with discriminating against African-Americans and families with children.
     

Federal court to hear city zoning lawsuit

April 16, 2010
A lawsuit that accuses several former Planning Board members of racial discrimination for rezoning a plot of land, thus blocking a proposed housing development, will be heard in U.S. District Court as early as May 17.
     The case involving the land between Lake Avenue and Gilbert Road in Saratoga Springs is on a docket with several other trials to begin that date, and it is the fourth in line to be heard.
     The plaintiffs, developers The Anderson Group LLC and Gail Anderson, proposed the development to the city’s planning board in 2004. Their plans called for transforming 44 acres of Gail Anderson’s property east of Northway Exit 14 into Spring Run Village, a 260-unit residential housing development with 52 units of low-cost housing.

State discriminated against mentally ill, judge rules

September 08, 2009
New York State had discriminated against thousands of mentally ill people by leaving them in privately run adult homes, which are usually larger than the disgraced psychiatric hospitals they were intended to replace, a federal judge ruled in a decision released on Tuesday morning.
     Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis ruled that the state was violating the Americans with Disabilities Act by housing more than 4,300 mentally ill people in sprawling and often poorly run homes. He said the residents are essentially warehoused with little hope of mingling with others in the wider community.
     Judge Garaufis wrote in a 210-page decision that the state had “denied thousands of individuals with mental illness in New York City the opportunity to receive services in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs.” He also said the state had failed to show that reforms proposed by the nonprofit group that filed the case “would constitute a ‘fundamental alteration’ of the state’s mental health service system.”

Federal access lawsuit settled

January 22, 2008
The U.S. Department of Justice has settled its Fair Housing Act complaint against two Capital Region developers accused of failing to abide by handicapped accessibility laws. The lawsuit against Bruce Tanski, the Halfmoon-based owner of Bruce Tanski Construction and Development Co., and Michael Dennis, the owner of Saratoga Springs-based Mountain Ledge Development Co., involved seven apartment complexes in Halfmoon and Clifton Park.
     Among other complaints, the Justice Department says all the apartments were built with one or more steps at their entrances and with thermostats out of reach of people in wheelchairs.
     The settlement requires that Tanski and Dennis retrofit the apartments and common-use areas and pay $155,000 in damages to people harmed by the violations, plus $20,000 in civil penalties, the Justice Department said.
     

Westchester real estate brokers to end racial discrimination

September 21, 2005
Attorney General Eliot Spitzer today announced the filing of consent decrees in federal court in White Plains involving two Westchester real estate brokerage agencies alleged to have discriminated on the basis of race and ethnicity against individuals seeking to rent apartments in primarily white Westchester neighborhoods.
     The consent decrees will require the agencies and their employees to undergo training and maintain records which will be used to test their compliance with federal, state, and local fair housing laws in the provision of brokerage services.
     "This agreement should alert real estate brokers that discriminatory practices will not be tolerated, Spitzer said. "It is illegal for real estate brokers to systematically exclude people from the rental housing market based on their race, color or ethnicity. Such practices perpetuate segregated housing and deprive persons of all races of the chance to live in integrated communities with better schools, employment prospects and public services."

'House flipping' said to cheat minorities

December 13, 2004
A four-bedroom, 1-bath colonial for only a $450 monthly mortgage payment? How can you go wrong? Lots of ways. Fair housing advocates say the first-time buyer of that $85,000 Syracuse, N.Y., home lost out in one of the many forms of "house flipping," or the fast resale of property at high profits.
     Now, house flippers, are being targeted by government officials.
     In this case, a developer interested a client in the house, bought it himself for $44,000, and resold it hours later for $85,000, according to the Fair Housing Council of Central New York

Web sites agree to be accessible to blind

August 19, 2004
In one of the first enforcement actions of the Americans with Disabilities Act on the Internet, two major travel services have agreed to make sites more accessible to the blind and visually impaired.
     Priceline.com and Ramada.com have agreed to changes that will allow users with "screen reader software" and other technology to navigate and listen to the text throughout their Web sites, according to New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer.
     Although the software and other devices, including a vibrating mouse that lets the blind "feel" boxes and images on the computer screen, have been available for years, Web sites must have specific coding that allows the equipment to operate, Spitzer said.

Mayor Jennings promotes fair housing

March 31, 2004
Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings said he's reaffirming his commitment to fair housing by signing a proclamation naming April 2004 Fair Housing Month.
     He said no one should be denied home ownership. Fair Housing prohibits discrimination in housing on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, ethnicity or disability. Lyndon Johnson signed this into law when he was president.
     Jennings said, "Today we're reflecting on 36 years ago, President Lyndon Johnson, you know, signed the Fair Housing Act, and that was quite a while ago, but we're still dealing with this issue, and it's something that should be in the forefront for all of us."

Integration and income vary with skin color

July 14, 2003
White and black Hispanics -- as well as Hispanics who say that they are "some other race" -- work different jobs, earn different levels of pay and reside in segregated neighborhoods based on the shade of their skin, according to a report released today by the Lewis Mumford Center for Comparative Urban and Regional Research at the State University of New York in Albany.
     The report, "How Race Counts for Hispanic Americans," follows the recent declaration by Census officials that Hispanics, who can be of any race, have become the nation's largest ethnic minority. Its authors and others who examine the U.S. Hispanic population said it was the first to look at how the group is divided along the color line.
     Latinos who described themselves as white on the 2000 Census had the highest incomes and lowest rates of unemployment and poverty, and they tended to live near communities of non-Latino whites, said the report, which analyzed Census figures nationwide. Nearly 50 percent of Latinos who filed a Census report said they were white, according to the center's report.

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