1 out of 68 invited realtors attend housing discrimination panel sparked by Newsday probe

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A Newsday series that uncovered a pattern of alleged discrimination among Long Island realtors has prompted state lawmakers to hold a hearing on housing discrimination.

Newsday's "Long Island Divided" series detailed the findings of testers with hidden cameras who met with real estate agents. The taped meetings showed evidence some homebuyers may have been steered to certain neighborhoods based on race.

State senators requested that local leaders, Newsday officials and realtors testify before the hearings. Out of the 68 agents who were asked to attend – only one showed up.

Because of the no-shows, the legislative panel decided to subpoena the missing real estate agents to continue their probe.

Barbara McFadden, an activist for minorities, says she's calling on state senators to do more to enforce laws on housing bias.

"Today's hearing reminds me of being back in the 1960s when we were fighting for equal access to housing," she says. "I can't believe now that in 2019 that here on Long Island, we are now fighting for some very basic rights."

Fair housing experts hope state officials will make a push to enforce anti-discrimination laws and take disciplinary action against those who may have broken the law.

Two state legislators have proposed a bill that would give the state authority to suspend or revoke a real estate agent's license if they are found to be engaging in housing discrimination.




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