Opening Acts: July 6, 2017

Photo © by Bernard Kleina

July 6, 2017

Rabsky Group Sued for Building Inaccessible Apartments in Brooklyn and Queens

FHJC Testing Investigation Documents Fair Housing Violations

On July 6, 2017, the Fair Housing Justice Center (FHJC) filed a federal lawsuit in the Eastern District of New York alleging that a major developer of rental buildings failed to design and construct two rental buildings in Brooklyn and one in Long Island City in compliance with accessibility requirements under local, state, and federal fair housing laws. The defendants named in the lawsuit include The Rabsky Group LLC, Purvis Holdings LLC, Salamon Engineering PLLC, North-Driggs Holdings, LLC; and North Plaza Holdings LLC. The lawsuit is based on the results of a testing investigation conducted by the FHJC which yielded evidence that the defendants designed and constructed multifamily apartment buildings in a manner that makes them inaccessible to persons with physical disabilities who use wheelchairs and do not provide the minimum levels of accessibility required by fair housing laws. The Rabsky Group, owned by Simon Dushinsky and Isaac Rabinowitz, is reportedly one of the more active residential developers in Brooklyn and Queens with more than 2500 new housing units currently in the pipeline.

The lawsuit alleges that the defendants failed to comply with accessibility requirements at the 284-unit apartment building called Halo LIC in Long Island City (Queens) and at a 211-unit rental building called The Driggs and a 234-unit development called Driggs-North, both located in Williamsburg (Brooklyn).   The FHJC investigation identified various features in these buildings that were non-compliant including, but not limited to, inaccessible common use areas, lack of accessible parking, doors not sufficiently wide to be usable; the lack of an accessible route into and through dwelling units; lack of clear floor space in some bathrooms and kitchens, and environmental controls in inaccessible locations.

FHJC Executive Director Fred Freiberg stated, “There is no excuse, nor should New Yorkers ever tolerate, a major developer who, over a few short years, produces over 725 new rental units that are largely inaccessible to people with physical disabilities.”  Freiberg added, “Accessible housing is a civil right.  The reckless and willful indifference displayed by some builders and architects to the legal rights of people with disabilities has got to end.”

The lawsuit seeks damages and injunctive relief to stop the discrimination, retrofit the buildings to make them accessible, and take other remedial action to ensure that future housing built by the defendants will be designed and constructed in compliance with fair housing accessibility requirements.  FHJC is represented by Diane L. Houk with the law firm of Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady, LLP.