Janet Babin, Economic Development Reporter, WNYC News
Janet Babin is a reporter at WNYC covering economic development.
Tenants in the Homewood Gardens Estates in the Prospect-Lefferts Garden neighborhood have filed a lawsuit against their landlord, alleging he is trying to evict them to bring in white tenants. The tenants are black.
"He took us to court saying we owe him 10 months of rent, when he has hasn't been cashing our checks," said tenant Mikela Atherton.
The tenants also say the landlord fails to make necessary repairs and aggressively litigates against black tenants in New York Housing Court.
Homewood Gardens Estates said owner Yeshaya Wasserman won't be back in the office to respond to questions about the lawsuit until after Passover ends next week.
Representing the tenants, Legal Services NYC filed a civil rights lawsuit in U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York on Monday.
"These are all rent-regulated apartments where our clients have lived for years. It is possible that he's seeking higher rents, the bottom line is [the landlord] violates federal law when he seeks to evict black tenants in pursuit of that objective," said Pavita Krishnaswamy of Legal Services NYC.