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U.S. Attorney: Real Estate Developer Discriminates Against Disabled

Monday, March 17, 2014

WNYC

The U.S. Attorney in New York is suing one of the city's largest developers, Related Companies, alleging it developed rental buildings that are inaccessible to the disabled.

Two architecture firms, Robert A. M. Stern and Ismael Levya Architects were also named in the suit, which sites two specific properties, One Carnegie Hill and Tribeca Green, for allegedly violating the federal Fair Housing Act.

According to the lawsuit, both properties fail to accommodate the disabled by having kitchens that lack the width required for wheelchairs to pass by. Additionally, the complaint cites insufficient clear floor space within bathrooms for people who use wheelchairs.

“We will not allow developers and architects who deprive people with disabilities of accessible housing to evade the consequences of their failure to comply with clear, long-standing federal civil rights laws," said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.

The developer has been trying to come to an agreement with the U.S. Attorney for several years. Similar suits have been filed against other developers and usually settle.

“We are disappointed by the fact that we have been unable to reach agreement with the U.S. Attorneys’ office respecting the subject matter of the complaint, especially given our long-time commitment to accommodating disabilities," Related Companies said in a statement.

The United States filed the federal civil rights lawsuit in Manhattan federal court on Monday.

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