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New York real estate firm settles discrimination suit


NEW YORK (Reuters)—A New York real estate company has agreed to settle a lawsuit that accused it of discriminating against potential African-American renters, federal prosecutors said on Wednesday.

The Manhattan U.S. Attorney's Office sued Burgundy Gardens in 2010, accusing the company of either refusing to rent to African-Americans or charging them higher prices at a 96-apartment complex in Rockland County, just north of New York City.

Burgundy Gardens must deposit $150,000 in a compensation fund for people who suffered discrimination, and it also must pay a $25,000 civil penalty and put in place a nondiscrimination policy, according to the settlement.

A lawyer for Burgundy Gardens said the company had not intentionally discriminated against anyone, and that any inconsistent treatment was due to a rental agent who did not follow correct procedures.

"To demonstrate their commitment to equality, the owners decided that making funds available to anyone harmed by the former rental agent's actions would be a better use of resources than to incur substantial legal fees to prove they did nothing wrong," attorney Laurent Drogin said in a statement.