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United States Enters into Fair Housing Act Settlement with Long Island Co-op Apartment Building and its Board

January 27, 2010

Benton J. Campbell, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, today announced the filing of a settlement agreement in a civil action brought by the United States against 75 Main Avenue and 75 Main Avenue Board of Directors for violations of the Fair Housing Act. 75 Main Avenue is a cooperative apartment building located at 75 Main Avenue in Rockville Centre, New York.

According to the government’s civil complaint, 75 Main Avenue and its Board refused to provide one of the building’s disabled residents with reasonable accommodation for her disabilities. In particular, the complaint alleges that Mary Pasko, a 90-year old widow, was forced by the defendants to live without a support animal – a miniature poodle – which helps alleviate her disabilities. The complaint further alleges that the apartment building’s Board refused to waive its no pet policy, and refused Ms. Pasko’s offer to provide medical documentation to support her need for the animal. The Board took steps to have her support animal evicted from the building.

The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities. Under the Act, buildings are required to make reasonable accommodation to allow people with disabilities and their families to use and enjoy their homes.

Under the settlement agreement, the co-op will allow Ms. Pasko to keep her dog in the apartment as an assistance animal, and will drop the eviction lawsuit that was filed in state court. The building will also provide to its residents, upon request, information drafted by the Department of Housing and Urban Development regarding making reasonable accommodation for assistance animals. The agreement was entered into by both sides without determining fault or liability.

“Persons with disabilities are entitled to the protections of the Fair Housing Act. This includes the right to reasonable modification of co-op rules to enable residents with disabilities to continue to live in their homes,” stated United States Attorney Campbell. “We are pleased that 75 Main Avenue has entered into an agreement that ensures that they will comply with the Fair Housing Act.”

The government’s case was litigated by Assistant U.S. Attorney Seth Eichenholtz.

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