Lakewood, NJ – The Justice Department filed a lawsuit against a Lakewood realty company, alleging it discriminated against non-Jewish, black and Hispanic tenants at the Cottage Manor Apartments.
The complaint, filed in federal district court, alleges that Triple H. Realty LLC, as well as a current employee and a former employee, marketed the complex to Orthodox Jews in the area beginning in 2002 by offering lower rents than current tenants paid for comparable apartments.
The suit seeks monetary damages to compensate victims, civil penalties, and a court order barring future discrimination. “It is bad news in . . . this day and age that a blatant case of discrimination happened right here in Lakewood,” said Warren Sherard, the president of the Lakewood NAACP. “It is good to see the powers of government doing something about it.”
According to the suit, non-Jewish black and Hispanic residents alleged they were pressured to move out of buildings that management reserved for incoming Jewish tenants and that were better maintained than other buildings at the 104-unit, six-building complex on Woehr Avenue.
The complaint also alleges that management provided Jewish residents more favorable living conditions, such as a fenced, landscaped yard. Tenants interviewed at Cottage Manor in July said almost all the Jewish families who were living at the apartment complex had moved out.
Shlomo Kanarek, listed on the property’s 2003 mortgage filing as the managing member of Triple H. Realty, could not be reached. There were also no listed telephone numbers for Cottage Manor Apartments or Triple H. Realty LLC.
However, the company has denied to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development the allegations of discrimination.
The prepared release by the Justice Department announcing the suit does not identify the current and former employees who are named as defendants.