A lawsuit is alleging acts of racial discrimination against an apartment complex in Mineola.
The suit, filed by Syosset-based ERASE Racism, the Fair Housing Justice Center (FHJC), and three African American testers in Federal court, is seeking unspecified damages after the groups conducted investigations into the 74-unit Town House Apartments at 225 First St. in 2012 where both white and African American posed as prospective renters after an "Apartment for Rent" sign appeared in the front window.
The groups filing the suit state that the complex was chosen because it is one of the largest in Mineola, where they state that African Americans are underrepresented in the rental market.
According to the lawsuit, building superintendent Jorge Agudelo allegedly "misrepresented the availability of apartments for African Americans, not showing available apartments, quoting higher rents, and/or suggesting there could be a wait because other people were ahead of them" and violates both the federal Fair Housing Act and Nassau County Human Rights Law.
"That doesn't happen. We don't discriminate," Agudelo said in a Newsday interview, stating that the complex has African American tenants and that prices are "the same for everybody."
The operator of the complex, Port Washington-based LLR Realty, LLC was also named as a defendant in the suit. Requests for comment were not immediately returned.
“This lawsuit is about more than just the possibility of people being kept out of a suburban apartment building," FHJC Executive Director Kumiki Gibson said in a release. "It is about African Americans being shut out of a community with high-performing schools, good jobs, and many other amenities.”