HABITAT

LEGAL/FINANCIAL

Woman Claims Co-op Rejected Her Because She’s Gay

Upper East Side, Manhattan

Lesbian Lawsuit

333 East 69th Street, where a rejected purchase has led to a discrimination lawsuit (image via Google Maps).

June 12, 2018

Alison Amron’s failed attempt to buy into an Upper East Side co-op goes a long way toward explaining a bill now before the New York City Council. That bill, staunchly opposed by co-op advocates, would require co-op boards to act on purchase applications within 45 days and disclose their reasons whenever they reject an applicant. 

Amron had a deal to buy a $2.2 million penthouse at 333 East 69th Street – when the co-op board abruptly rejected her application without even interviewing her, the New York Post reports. Amron’s all-cash offer was accompanied by multiple references and an offer to put four years’ worth of maintenance and assessments into escrow. The board, as is its right, offered no reason for turning down Amron’s application. 

But in court papers filed in federal court in Manhattan, Amron claims that she was rejected because she’s married to a woman. The lawsuit is based on city and federal laws that make it illegal for boards to discriminate on the basis of a person’s sexual orientation – and numerous other factors. Amron, 59, a documentary film producer known for the Emmy Award-winning Showtime series “Years of Living Dangerously,” is seeking unspecified damages in her lawsuit against the co-op. 

Even as this news was breaking, co-op advocates were speaking out against the bill that would strip co-op boards of their coveted power to reject buyers “for any reason or no reason.” Writing in her law firm’s newsletter, attorney Eva Talel, a partner at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, said the proposed 45-day deadline for board’s to rule on purchase applications is “generally insufficient.” And she described boards’ power to reject applicants without offering a reason – provided they observe anti-discrimination laws – as “a long-standing and important legal right.” 

Talel urged fellow opponents of the bill to write to their city council member expressing their opinion. She offered a template of a letter provided by the Real Estate Board of New York.

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