Photo Courtesy of the Anti-Defamation League
Anti-Defamation League Regional Director Evan Bernstein delivers remarks in front of the Sunnyside building.
By Forum Staff
The City has launched an investigation into allegations of tenant harassment at a Sunnyside building which has displays of Nazi and Confederate imagery, swastikas and other hate symbols in the lobby, the NYC Commission on Human Rights announced on Tuesday.
The probe has been initiated on behalf of the City following public reports from City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside), tenants, and condominium owners of a hostile environment due to alleged tenant harassment by the property manager or managers connected to the offensive displays in the common area of 47-55 39th Place. The commission noted that under NYC Human Rights Law it is illegal to discriminate against or harass tenants because of their race, color, religion, immigration status, sexual orientation and other protected classes.
“The tenants of this Sunnyside condominium have been terrorized at the hands of this property manager for far too long,” Van Bramer said. “After speaking with the commissioner on behalf of the tenants and condominium owners, I’m pleased that Commission on Human Rights has decided to open an investigation into this condominium board member and property manager after tenants reported constant intimidation, harassment, and retaliation. Clearly, their rights are being violated. And with the announcement of this investigation today, we send a strong message that we uphold and defend the rights of tenants in New York City.”
According to the commission, it is illegal for housing providers, landlords, or their employees or agents to:
Discriminate against tenants by creating a hostile environment of harassment based on their race, religion, immigration status, sexual orientation, or any other protected class.
Harass or threaten tenants because of their race, religion, immigration status, sexual orientation or any other protected class.
Refuse to make repairs or provide equal services to tenants because of their protected class.
Retaliate against tenants who report discriminatory behavior or neglect to ensure employees and agents are trained on their responsibilities under the NYC Human Rights Law, including superintendents, maintenance workers, brokers, and salespeople.
“It is unacceptable that in Queens, the most diverse area in the country, immigrant tenants are facing threatening behavior and symbols of hate in their homes,” said Kavita Pawria-Sanchez, assistant commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. “Every tenant in New York City has the right to live without fear of discrimination or harassment, including immigrant New Yorkers, and the City will not hesitate to protect that right. We applaud our colleagues at the City’s Commission on Human Rights for launching this investigation, and we will continue our outreach work with the Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit and the Public Engagement Unit in Sunnyside to educate tenants on their rights as New Yorkers.”