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Justice Dept.: Oyster Bay housing discriminatory?

Less than a year after the state Division of Human Rights accused the Town of Oyster Bay with discriminating against people of color in its affordable housing program, the U.S. Department of Justice has launched an investigation into whether the program violates federal law.

Town supervisor John Venditto Monday received a letter from the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, informing him of the federal investigation of the town's Next Generation and Golden Age housing programs, which, according to the letter, appear to violate the Fair Housing Act by restricting the ability of nonresidents of the town to purchase homes.

The town's population in the 2000 census was 90.8 percent white, 5.1 percent Hispanic and 1.6 percent black.

"In my opinion, the actions of the federal and state governments are tantamount to social engineering," Venditto told Newsday Monday.

" on the investigation.

The letter, dated Dec. 11 and signed by U.S. Attorney Benton J. Campbell, cites a provision in the Fair Housing Act that prohibits discrimination in housing based on "race, color, religion, sex, familial status or national origin."

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