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New York attorney general fines Long Island real estate companies for housing discrimination

New York Attorney General Letitia James acknowledges questions from journalists at a news conference on May 21, 2021, in New York.
Richard Drew
/
AP
New York Attorney General Letitia James acknowledges questions from journalists at a news conference on May 21, 2021, in New York.

New York Attorney General Letitia James has ordered three Long Island real estate companies to pay $115,000 to settle claims of housing discrimination.

The attorney general’s investigation was launched after Newsday reported in 2019 that Long Island real estate brokers routinely steered prospective homebuyers to neighborhoods based on their race.

The state conducted undercover investigations of Keller Williams Greater Nassau, Keller Williams Realty Elite and Laffey Real Estate. It found agents steered prospective homebuyers of color away from white neighborhoods and subjected them to different requirements. An example describes an agent telling a white buyer that a particular neighborhood had gang violence while then telling a Black buyer that the same neighborhood had “the nicest people.”

Under the settlement agreement, the three companies are required to pay an assortment of fines, retraining costs and money to Suffolk County so local authorities can conduct further inspections.

The state said investigations of further companies are still ongoing.

Charles is senior reporter focusing on special projects. He has won numerous awards including an IRE award, three SPJ Public Service Awards, and a National Murrow. He was also a finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists and Third Coast Director’s Choice Award.