On August 8, 2017, Relman, Dane & Colfax filed a federal housing discrimination lawsuit against Oswego, New York landlord Douglas Waterbury, alleging that Waterbury demanded sexual favors from female tenants in exchange for lower rents and other benefits of tenancy. The plaintiffs in the case, six women and a northern New York local fair housing organization, describe Waterbury’s long-standing and pervasive pattern and practice of quid pro quo sex discrimination in violation of the Fair Housing Act and the New York State Human Rights Law’s prohibitions against sex discrimination.
Each of the six individual plaintiffs are women who were victimized by Waterbury and who were told by Waterbury that they could pay for their units through sexual trades and favors. After receiving complaints about Waterbury’s conduct, the seventh plaintiff, CNY Fair Housing, Inc., a fair housing organization that serves Central and Northern New York, conducted an extensive investigation that uncovered Waterbury’s ongoing pattern of behavior that has affected a number of the approximately 50 properties in Oswego that he and his companies own.
CNY Fair Housing, Inc. v. Waterbury, No. 5:17-cv-868 (N.D.N.Y.)
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