April 21, 2016
In what should come as no surprise, (at least) one of the investors in Shalom Lamm’s Chestnut Ridge in Bloomingburg (a development that undoubtedly violates the Fair Housing Act, among other laws and statutes) has a documented history of discriminatory practices.
Jacob “Yaty” Weinreb, principal of Weinreb Management, discriminated against a same-sex couple who were tenants in one of his rent-stabilized Manhattan properties. The Daily News reported on the couples’ lawsuit against Weinreb:
An Upper West Side lesbian couple is suing their landlord for refusing to put both of their names on their lease in what is believed to be the first case of its kind since New York legalized gay marriage in 2011.
Dava Weinstein, 68, and Dorothy Calvini, 64, say their landlord, Jacob Weinreb, is violating their rights by refusing to recognize Calvini as a co-tenant in their West 86th Street rent stabilized apartment.
The couple were married in Iowa in March 2011 to commemorate 35 years of partnership. Three months later, gay marriages were legalized in New York.
The contend their landlord violated their rights by refusing to put Calvini on the lease because New York law recognizes gay marriages in other states and requires gay couples to be given the same rights as heterosexual couples.
Weinstein and Calvini have been living in the same apartment since 1977 with only Weinstein’s name on the lease.
Their troubles started last December when Weinstein had to sign a new lease and added Calvini’s name as a co-tenant. Weinreb rejected it, explaining later that New York State law does not recognize Calvini as a tenant.
When he refused for months to budge on the issue, Weinstein signed a new lease without Calvini on it, but then the two women filed suit with the help of the gay rights group, LAMBDA.
LAMBDA attorney Susan Sommer said Weinreb “refused to budge” even after getting a letter from her explaining that New York recognizes gay marriages in other states and the women had to be treated like any other couple.
“They stuck to their guns. It amounts to rank discrimination,” she said Thursday morning.
Sommer said this was the second case that LAMBDA has handled in the last year where a gay couple had trouble getting both spouses’ names on a lease, but in the first instance, the landlord backed down before the matter got to court.
“We suspect this could be the tip of the iceberg,” she said.
Sommer said other married same sex couples might not know their rights to put their spouses on their leases as co-tenants or they could be “reluctant to rock the boat” with their landlord for fear of losing their rent regulated apartment.
She said it is far better to have both spouses on the lease than to have to prove, after one spouse dies, that the surviving spouse has a right to stay in the apartment.
Neither Weinstein, a clinical licensed social worker, nor Clavini, a geriatric nurse, were available to comment.
A manager in Weinreb’s office said his firm has no comment at this time.
A month after the suit was filed, Weinreb settled out of court, adding Calvini’s name to the lease and paying the couple $20,000.