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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of New York

Friday, December 23, 2016

U.S. Attorney Files Civil Rights Suit Against Bronx Developer To Remedy Pattern And Practice Of Inaccessible Design And Construction Of Apartment Buildings

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that the United States has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against ABRAHAM STRULOVITCH to require him to remedy conditions at two rental complexes in the Bronx and in Orange County to make them accessible to people with disabilities and to ensure that two rental complexes currently under construction by STRULOVITCH in the Bronx will be accessible.  

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “The Fair Housing Act’s accessibility provisions were enacted to ensure that people with disabilities have the same access to housing as everyone else.  With today’s lawsuit, we seek to ensure that Strulovitch fixes the current inaccessible conditions at Riverdale Parc and Bluestone Commons as well as at his ongoing construction projects.  This Office will continue to use all available tools to enforce the FHA’s promise of accessibility for people with disabilities.” 

The Fair Housing Act’s (“FHA”) accessible design and construction provisions require multifamily housing complexes constructed after January 1993 to have basic features accessible to persons with disabilities.  According to the allegations in the Complaint, STRULOVITCH has engaged in a pattern and practice of discriminatory conduct, as evidenced by the numerous inaccessible conditions at Riverdale Parc, a 54-unit rental complex in the Riverdale section of the Bronx designed and constructed in 2014, and Bluestone Commons, a 70-unit rental complex for senior residents in Maybrook, New York, designed and constructed in 2015.  The inaccessible conditions alleged include, for example, an excessively high threshold at the main entrance to Riverdale Parc, as well as insufficiently wide doorways within the rental units at both Riverdale Parc and Bluestone Commons.  Other inaccessible conditions include excessively high thresholds to balconies within the rental units at Bluestone Commons and inaccessible locations of thermostats or other environmental controls in the rental units at Riverdale Parc and Bluestone Commons.

The Complaint further alleges that STRULOVITCH currently is actively involved in designing and constructing two other rental complexes in the Bronx – 640 West 238th Street and 3707 Blackstone Avenue – that will contain a total of more than 90 rental units.  In the Complaint, the United States also seeks a court order requiring STRULOVITCH to take steps necessary to ensure that both 640 West 238th Street and 3707 Blackstone Avenue will be constructed in compliance with the Fair Housing Act’s accessibility requirements.

The case is being handled by the Office’s Civil Rights Unit.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Li Yu, Jacob Lillywhite, Jessica Jean Hu, and Natasha Teleanu are in charge of the case.

Updated December 30, 2016