Ben Tracy successfully defended the Board of Managers (the “Board”) of the Aurum Condominium (the “Condo”) and Maxwell-Kates, Inc. (the “Agent”), the managing agent for the Condo, against a discrimination complaint filed with the New York State Division of Human Rights ( the “SDHR”) by one of the Condo’s unit owners (the “Complainant”). In her complaint, the Complainant alleged that the Board and the Agent retaliated against her by placing a lien against her unit for unpaid common charges shortly after Ben obtained the dismissal of the same Complainant’s complaint against the Board and the Agent before the New York City Commission on Human Rights in May 2021. She further alleged that the Board discriminated against her because of her status as a Black woman by imposing late fees, interest fees, and legal fees related to her common charge arrearage.
After submitting an answer denying the Complainant’s allegations, Ben submitted a detailed position statement to the SDHR with supporting documentation demonstrating that the Board acted in compliance with the Condo’s by-laws when it filed the lien against the Complainant’s unit, which by-laws obligated the Board to collect unpaid common charges from all unit owners after sixty days. Ben further established that the Board and the Agent acted without racial animus or a retaliatory motive because the Board placed a lien on a unit owned by a non-Black male for unpaid common charge arrearage the same day the lien was filed against the Complainant’s unit.
Ben further represented the Board and the Agent during interviews conducted by the SDHR’s investigators.
At the conclusion of its investigation, the SDHR found that the Board and the Agent followed the procedures outlined in the Condo’s governing documents and that the consequences of failing to pay common charges on time was endured equally by all unit owners, regardless of race or gender. The Complainant also failed to establish that the Board and Agent acted with any retaliatory motive by filing the lien.
A copy of the decision may be viewed here.