A Bronx landlord is facing a lawsuit this week after he racially discriminated against prospective Black tenants versus their white counterparts. As part of an undercover operation, Black testers were denied apartments moments after white testers were told that units were available to them.
The Fair Housing Justice Center in New York sent undercover housing testers on the fact-finding mission to determine if any racial bias was in play against the potential tenants. The organization took NBC-4’s I-Team on one of the Center’s runs and discovered shocking news.
J.J.A. Holding Corp. is the company that the Center has named in a federal lawsuit filed Wednesday, stating that rental agent Ray Brij-Raj was caught on tape telling the Black housing testers that they wouldn’t be able to move in. Although Brij-Raj’s denials were generally pleasant, there does exist a trend that he routinely shot down the Black applicants.
More from NBC New York:
On Wednesday, Fair Housing Justice filed a federal lawsuit against J.J.A. Holding Corp., a company they say they lied to prospective black tenants who were inquiring about two buildings in the Woodlawn section of the Bronx. In both cases, audio recordings catch rental agent Ray Brij-Raj telling the black candidates that there were no vacancies in the buildings right after he told white candidates there were, the suit alleges.
Neither J.J.A.’s CEO, Patrick O’Connell, nor its rental manager, Brij-Raj , responded to several requests for comment Wednesday, though several of the company’s tenants cast doubt on the discrimination claim.
A J.J.A. tenant doesn’t feel the company has racist policies, based on her observation that there is at least once Black family living in the Bronx building in question.
That last statement, of course, is part of the problem but we’ll let her cook.
Photo: NBC New York