Owner Says He Would Not Tolerate Discriminatory Practices

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The operators of an apartment building in southern Brooklyn were facing a lawsuit Tuesday, for allegedly discriminating against potential tenants.

The lawsuit filed by the Fair Housing Justice Center claimed black applicants were turned away from the building at 7502 Ridge Boulevard in Bay Ridge, in favor of white applicants.

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The advocacy group said it investigated practices at the 59-unit building by sending equally qualified African-American and white testers to inquire about apartments for rent. The building superintendent allegedly told the African-American testers that no apartments were available or wouldn’t be for months, while white testers were shown available apartments, the group said.

The lawsuit named Merz Realty Co.; its principals, Hal and Barry Shaprio; and agents, Ula and Zdislaw Zatorski.

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“The testing makes clear that African Americans were routinely turned away or treated worse than their white counterparts,” attorney Mariann Meier Wang said in a news release. “Such behavior propagates segregation, which simply cannot be tolerated.”

In response to the allegations, one of the building’s owners said he would never condone any discriminatory practices.

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