Island Park finalizes $1.96M housing discrimination suit

advertisement | advertise on newsday

The Village of Island Park has finalized a $1.96 million settlement with the federal government, ending a two-decade legal battle that accused former village officials of discriminating against minorities and violating fair-housing laws in the 1980s.

The consent order was signed Tuesday by U.S. District Judge I. Leo Glasser, who since November had not approved the judgment. The village had initially faced paying $5.4 million in fines.

The settlement stems from a 1990 lawsuit brought against the village and former officials for allegedly illegally steering some of more than 40 federally subsidized homes away from minorities whom the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development program aimed to help and instead diverting the properties to their friends and families.

"We are happy to put this behind us and prepare to move in the village to comply fully with the consent decree," village attorney Paul Millus said Wednesday.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Robert Nardoza, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office, declined to comment.

Village officials have said residents can expect property tax increases beginning June 1, 2017, and lasting to Nov. 1, 2023, to pay $1.061 million toward the settlement. That will add $20 to the annual tax bill on homes assessed at $400,000.

The other $900,000 will be paid by the village's insurer, National Casualty Co., based in Scottsdale, Ariz.

The village will initially pay $32,000, and then make monthly payments of $13,602 beginning in 2017. An additional $300,000 would go toward appointing a fair-housing administrator, whose goal would be to get at least 17 village homes over four years to be owned and occupied by African-American families.

You also may be interested in: