Lawsuit claims property owner discriminates against disabled, minority renters

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WEST BABYLON -

Disabled and minority Long Islanders have filed a lawsuit claiming the owner of several apartment complexes is discriminating against them.

Ian Wilder is the executive director of Long Island Housing Services. His agency, along with a group of others, has filed a federal suit against NPS Property Corporation.

The plaintiffs in the suit allege that the company discriminated against prospective renters with disabilities, African-Americans and people with housing subsidies.

"There was language about quotas. People who were outside of the protected class were told things might be becoming available," Wilder says. "Inside the protected class, there was no discussion of it. So there was a different treatment between the two."

Lawyers for the plaintiff say the discrimination was widespread at several properties in Suffolk County.

"It's pretty shocking and blatant and targeted discrimination," says attorney Brian Corman. "And it seems to be designed specifically to deny people."

News 12 called NPS Property Corporation's main office, but no one answered the phone. Later, News 12 received a comment from lawyers for the company, denying the claims and saying that they have tenants from all backgrounds.

"Like landlords throughout the New York metropolitan region, our clients welcome all renters who meet standard income and credit requirements," the statement said.

But Wilder says the company's practices are encroaching on individuals' rights.

"The American dream is, you get to live where you want, whatever neighborhood you want, and people shouldn't keep you from living there," Wilder says.

Attorneys for the plaintiff want a class-action suit.

Long Island Housing Services is looking for people who believe they're victims of housing discrimination by NPS Property Corporation. It can be reached at 631-567-5111 ext. 314 or by emailing info@lifairhousing.org.

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