The Dakota, the exclusive and historical New York City apartment building, has been accused of discrimination by its former co-op board president, Alphonse Fletcher Jr.. Mr. Fletcher who still lives at the Dakota and sued its board this year, claimed that he was denied permission to buy an apartment next door because he was black and because another board member wanted the apartment. He has also accused the Dakota of discriminating against the actor-couple, Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas, as well as singer, Roberta Flack, who was allegedly forced to use the service elevator while white residents were using the main elevator. Since the lawsuit was filed, the Dakota board has filed a 237-page response in State Supreme Court denying Mr. Fletcher’s claims and stating that he simply did not have the resources to buy the apartment he was seeking. The current board president, Bruce Barnes, stated in court papers that approving the purchase would expose the Dakota to “unacceptable financial risk.” Mr. Barnes has also stated that denial of permission to buy the apartment had nothing to do with Mr. Fletcher’s race and that he is a longtime neighbor, who was repeatedly approved for apartment purchases, elected to the board eight times, twice been elected by the board as its president in prior years. See full article.
Denying the permission to buy an apartment on the basis of race is a form of discrimination. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits not only intentional discrimination, but also practices that have the effect of discriminating against individuals because of their race, color, national origin, religion, or sex. The remedies available for a plaintiff who has been effected by discrimination, whether caused by intentional acts or by practices that have a discriminatory effect, can include reinstatement, reasonable accommodation, or other actions that will make an individual “whole” (in the condition she or he would have been “but for” the discrimination). Remedies can also include payment of attorneys’ fees, expert witness fees, and court costs. For more legal information, please see: http://www.eeoc.gov/facts/qanda.html.
Leeds Morelli & Brown, PC is a nationally recognized firm in the area of all forms of discrimination and bias law. Our firm has had considerable success in matters of throughout Long Island and the New York City area. For more information, contact Leeds, Morelli and Brown, PC at 1-800-585-4658 for a free consultation.