January 27, 2022

News

News Network

Justice Department Files Housing Discrimination Lawsuit Against Staten Island, New York Rental Agent and Real Estate Agency

16 min read
<div>The Department of Justice announced today that it has filed a lawsuit against Village Realty of Staten Island Ltd. and Denis Donovan, a sales and former rental agent at Village Realty, alleging discrimination against African Americans in violation of the Fair Housing Act when offering housing units for rent. The lawsuit is based on the results of testing conducted by the department’s Fair Housing Testing Program, in which individuals pose as renters to gather information about possible discriminatory practices. </div>

The Department of Justice announced today that it has filed a lawsuit against Village Realty of Staten Island Ltd. and Denis Donovan, a sales and former rental agent at Village Realty, alleging discrimination against African Americans in violation of the Fair Housing Act when offering housing units for rent. The lawsuit is based on the results of testing conducted by the department’s Fair Housing Testing Program, in which individuals pose as renters to gather information about possible discriminatory practices. 

The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, alleges that Donovan discriminated against prospective renters on the basis of race by treating African Americans who inquired about available rental units differently and less favorably than similarly-situated white persons. According to the complaint, Donovan told African-American testers about fewer rental units than white testers, offered white testers rental discounts and opportunities to inspect units that were not offered to African-American testers, generally offered African-American testers units only in racially mixed  neighborhoods while offering white testers units in both overwhelmingly white and racially mixed neighborhoods, and made more encouraging comments to white testers about available rental units. The lawsuit alleges that Village Realty is legally responsible for Donovan’s alleged discrimination because Donovan worked as Village Realty’s rental agent. 

“Freedom for Americans means that people can live peacefully in our nation without regard to their race, ancestry, sex, and other protected traits,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division. “The United States and its laws forbid segregation in which people are judged, divided, and harmed because of the color of their skin. Race never should be a factor that determines where someone can live. No one should have their housing choices limited, whether by explicit refusals to rent on the basis of race, or more subtle differences in the way home seekers are treated when they ask about available properties. Whether obvious or less apparent, race discrimination in the rental housing market is intolerable. The Department of Justice is committed to enforcement of the Fair Housing Act to ensure that people have equal access to rental housing, and equal treatment when seeking rental housing, regardless of race, including by uncovering hidden discrimination through our Fair Housing Testing Program.”

“The U.S. Attorney’s Office has been, and always will be, dedicated to protecting the rights established by the Fair Housing Act, which demands that individuals and families of all races, colors and nationalities are treated fairly when they want to buy or rent a home,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Seth D. DuCharme. “Today’s lawsuit reinforces this Office’s commitment to eliminating discrimination in housing.”

The lawsuit seeks monetary damages to compensate victims, civil penalties against the defendants to vindicate the public interest, and a court order barring future discrimination.

Individuals who believe they may have experienced discrimination at Village Realty or believe they may have information relevant to this case should contact the Department of Justice toll-free at 1-800-896-7743, by email at fairhousing@usdoj.gov, or by submitting a report online.

The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division enforces the federal Fair Housing Act, which prohibits discrimination in housing on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin and disability.  More information about the department’s fair housing enforcement can be found at www.justice.gov/fairhousing.

News Network

  • United States Joins Intergovernmental Forum on Mining
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Justice Department Settles Claims Against Borough of Woodcliff Lake Involving Denial of Permit to Orthodox Jewish Group to Construct Worship Center
    In Crime News
    The Justice Department today announced an agreement with the Borough of Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey, to resolve allegations that the Borough violated the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) by denying zoning approval for an Orthodox Jewish congregation to construct a worship center on its property. 
    [Read More…]
  • Department of Justice Awards over $1 Million in Forensic Grants to Aid Wyoming Investigators
    In Crime News
    Attorney General William [Read More…]
  • Federal Court Permanently Shuts Down Michigan Tax Preparer
    In Crime News
    A federal court in the Eastern District of Michigan has permanently enjoined a Detroit-area tax return preparer from preparing federal income tax returns for others and from owning or operating any tax return business in the future.
    [Read More…]
  • Secretary Blinken’s Meeting with South African Foreign Minister Pandor
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Guyana National Day
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • Uruguay Travel Advisory
    In Travel
    Reconsider travel to [Read More…]
  • National Weather Service: Reform Efforts Could Benefit from Additional Actions and Continued Attention
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found The Department of Commerce's National Weather Service (NWS) initiated the Evolve Program in 2017 to carry out a series of agency reforms to help achieve its strategic vision of strengthening the nation's readiness for and response to extreme weather events. The program has 20 reform initiatives, in varying stages of completeness, that are intended to free up staff time and improve service to the agency's partners (e.g., state emergency managers), among other things. In September 2021, GAO found that NWS has substantially followed five of the eight leading practices for effective agency reforms that GAO examined. Extent to Which NWS Has Followed Selected Leading Practices for Effective Agency Reforms Practice Extent followed Establishing goals and outcomes ◒ Involving employees and key stakeholders ◒ Using data and evidence ● Addressing fragmentation, overlap, and duplication ● Leadership focus and attention ◒ Managing and monitoring ● Strategic workforce planning ● Employee performance management ● Legend: ● Substantially followed —NWS took actions that addressed most or all aspects of the selected key questions GAO examined for the practice. ◒ Partially followed —NWS took actions that addressed some, but not most, aspects of the selected key questions GAO examined for the practice. Source: GAO analysis of National Weather Service (NWS) documents and interviews with NWS officials. | GAO-22-105449 However, there are gaps in the extent to which the agency has followed the other three leading practices. For example, in the area of leadership focus and attention, NWS has designated three leadership positions as having primary responsibility for leading the implementation of the reforms under the Evolve Program. However, the agency has not established a dedicated implementation team with the capacity to manage the reform process. Instead, the agency has primarily relied on rotating leaders and part-time staff for the Evolve Program, an approach that has not provided adequate leadership continuity, staff continuity, or staff resources for the program. By revising its approach to staffing the Evolve Program and addressing the other gaps, as GAO recommended in September 2021, NWS would have better assurance its reform efforts will succeed. The agency also faces staffing challenges that could affect its reform efforts. In its 2019 strategic human capital plan, NWS highlighted challenges related to staffing levels, vacancies, and hiring that could affect the agency's resources and capacity to implement its proposed reforms. These are long-standing issues that have been highlighted in previous studies, including a May 2017 GAO report. In September 2021, GAO found that these challenges continue. Continued attention to addressing these staffing challenges could help to reduce the risk that they will impede the agency's reform efforts. Why GAO Did This Study Extreme weather events, such as tornadoes and hurricanes, can devastate communities across the United States. NWS plays a critical role in the nation's efforts to prepare for and respond to such events, including by developing weather forecasts and issuing warnings to help protect life and property. NWS has determined that it needs to reform its operations and workforce to effectively carry out its responsibilities and to improve its provision of services to emergency managers and other partners. This testimony discusses (1) the extent to which NWS has followed selected leading practices for effective agency reforms and (2) staffing challenges NWS faces as it pursues its reform efforts. The testimony is based on a report GAO issued in September 2021, GAO-21-103792, on the agency's reform efforts, as well as previous GAO work on NWS from May 2017 and January 2020.
    [Read More…]
  • [Protest of Propriety of Provisions in Navy IFB for Custodial Services]
    In U.S GAO News
    A firm protested a Navy solicitation for custodial services, contending that it contained: (1) an erroneous Department of Labor wage determination; and (2) an allegedly improper liquidated damages clause. GAO held that: (1) the Navy admitted that the wage determination was erroneous and agreed to correct it; (2) the protester did not show that the damages clause imposed an impermissible penalty, since there was no possible relationship between its provisions and any contemplated losses; and (3) the damages clause involved a matter of contract administration, which it would not review. Accordingly, the protest was dismissed in part and denied in part.
    [Read More…]
  • COVID-19: Additional Risk Assessment Actions Could Improve HUD Oversight of CARES Act Funds
    In U.S GAO News
    What GAO Found The Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) oversight of $12.4 billion in CARES Act funding included monitoring spending and addressing reporting requirements, but further action is needed to more fully assess program and fraud risks. As of July 2021, HUD obligated 94 percent of its CARES Act funds, and 34 percent had been expended (see figure). The CARES Act significantly increased funding for some HUD programs—for example the Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) program for homelessness assistance received more than 10 times its fiscal year 2020 funding. GAO previously reported that programs should update risk assessments when funding or the operating environment changes. To respond to COVID-19, HUD expedited its risk assessment process, and concluded the CARES Act funds did not substantially affect programs' risks or existing controls. While HUD's assessment identified risk factors and short-term steps to address them, it did not include some leading fraud risk management practices GAO previously identified. For example, HUD did not identify programs' new fraud risks or evaluate fraud risk tolerance. Additional risk assessment actions could help HUD better identify and address potential program and fraud risks of its CARES Act programs. HUD CARES Act Funds' Obligations and Expenditures, as of July 31, 2021 As of July 2021, HUD's Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and ESG programs expended about 15 percent of their CARES Act funds, mostly for emergency payments that can include rental assistance. HUD officials said spending is slow because some grantees have limited capacity to administer the larger grants, other federal funding is available, and CDBG grantees had until mid-August 2021 to apply for CARES Act funds. HUD is providing grantees with training and support to help them administer and use the CARES Act funds and developing specific monitoring guidance. Almost all of the CARES Act's $1.25 billion for the Housing Choice Voucher program has been expended. To help public housing agencies navigate COVID-19, HUD issued numerous program waivers, such as letting owners self-certify property conditions in lieu of inspections. To monitor compliance, HUD is developing a portal for public housing agencies to report their use of the funds, which officials anticipate will be operational in December 2021. HUD also awarded a contract to support the program's CARES Act monitoring, including collecting information on waiver use. Why GAO Did This Study The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic downturn created housing instability for many families and individuals. Congress appropriated about $12.4 billion to HUD in CARES Act funds to prevent, prepare for, and respond to housing needs related to COVID-19. GAO has previously reported on HUD's persistent management challenges and noted the potential for these challenges to affect the implementation and oversight of HUD's COVID-19 response. The CARES Act includes a provision for GAO to monitor the federal government's efforts to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. This report examines HUD's actions to oversee its CARES Act funding and manage risks, and HUD's implementation and monitoring of the CARES Act funds of selected community development, homelessness, and rental assistance programs. GAO reviewed HUD documentation and analyzed HUD spending data, focusing on the four programs that received the most CARES Act funding. GAO also interviewed HUD officials and associations representing HUD funding recipients.
    [Read More…]
  • Joint Statement on the Ministerial Meeting on Syria
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Secretary Blinken’s Call with Italian Foreign Minister Di Maio
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Office of the [Read More…]
  • Pennsylvania Man Pleads Guilty to Attempting to Provide Material Support to ISIS
    In Crime News
    A Pennsylvania man pleaded guilty today to one count of attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), a designated foreign terrorist organization.
    [Read More…]
  • Man Charged with Attempting to Provide Material Support to a Foreign Terrorist Organization
    In Crime News
    A Washington man was arrested on Friday, May 28, at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on criminal charges related to his alleged efforts to join Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), a designated foreign terrorist organization, in order to engage in violent acts of terrorism in the Middle East or the United States.
    [Read More…]
  • On the First Anniversary of the Death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi 
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Michael R. Pompeo, [Read More…]
  • Canada Travel Advisory
    In Travel
    Reconsider travel to [Read More…]
  • Secretary Antony J. Blinken Remarks to Mission Mexico Staff
    In Crime Control and Security News
    Antony J. Blinken, [Read More…]
  • Drug trafficker sent to prison for smuggling meth via UPS
    In Justice News
    A 31-year-old San [Read More…]
  • Operation Legend: Case of the Day
    In Crime News
    Each weekday, the Department of Justice will highlight a case that has resulted from Operation Legend. Today’s case is out of the Northern District of Ohio. Operation Legend launched in Cleveland on July 29, 2020, in response to the city facing increased homicide and non-fatal shooting rates.
    [Read More…]
  • Application and Case Processing
    In Human Health, Resources and Services
    Bureau of Population, [Read More…]

Crime

Network News © 2005 Area.Control.Network™ All rights reserved.