PUBLIC ADVOCATE FOR THE CITY OF NEW YORK

Letitia James

February 28, 2014 VIA ELECTRONIC MAIL Commissioner Patricia L. Gatling New York City Commission on Human Rights 40 Rector Street, 10th Floor New York, New York 1006 Dear Commissioner Gatling: In accordance with New York City Charter § 24 (f), we are submitting this complaint on behalf of rent stabilized tenants residing at Stonehenge Village located at 120160 West 97th Street. As you know, the Commission may also initiate a complaint on behalf of the tenants under §8-109 of the New York City Administrative Code. Our complaint is supported by Jean Green Dorsey, Chair of the Westgate Tenants Association, which is the tenants association for Stonehenge Village. It has come to our attention that Stonehenge Partners, which owns and operates the development, have engaged in alleged discriminatory actions by which they have restricted access to amenities in the building to market rate tenants and denied those same amenities to rent stabilized tenants. The property was formerly part of the Mitchell-Lama housing program, which served as a vehicle to preserve affordable housing in the state. It is with great urgency that we request that your office investigate this complaint. As you know, New York City law prohibits discrimination in housing based on the source of income by tenants.1 The law states that it is unlawful to “discriminate against any person … because of any lawful source of income of such person … in the terms, conditions or privileges of the sale, rental or lease of any such housing accommodation or an interest therein or in the furnishing of facilities or services in connection therewith. See 8-107 (5)(2). The term "lawful source of income" is defined as income derived from social security, or any form of federal, state or local public assistance or housing assistance including section 8 vouchers. § 8-101. This law was passed in 2008 to prevent landlords from discriminating against tenants who have Section 8 vouchers or other subsidies. The spirit of the law suggests that it may cover instances where rent-stabilized tenants are denied an interest in their tenancies or services connected to it. Such as in the instant matter where the landlord discriminates between tenants based on their source of income or status as tenants is different than market rent tenants. The policy by Stonehenge to deny access to the gym to rent stabilized tenants appears to be a violation of the anti1

See N.Y.C. Administrative Code §§8-101; 8-107.

1 CENTRE STREET

NEW YORK NY 10007

TEL 212 669 7200

FAX 212 669 4701 WWW.PUBADVOCATE.NYC.GOV

PUBLIC ADVOCATE FOR THE CITY OF NEW YORK

Letitia James

discrimination laws of the City. We thank you for your attention to this matter and look forward to working with your office to resolve this issue. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely,

Letitia James New York City Public Advocate cc: Jean Green Dorsey, Chair of the Westgate Tenants Association Honorable Gale Brewer, Manhattan Borough President Honorable Mark Levine, New York City Council Honorable Bill Perkins, New York State Senate

1 CENTRE STREET

NEW YORK NY 10007

TEL 212 669 7200

FAX 212 669 4701 WWW.PUBADVOCATE.NYC.GOV

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