The developer, architectural firm and construction company behind the Sutton Manor condominium complex are being sued by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara for allegedly failing to provide access for handicapped people.
The lawsuit, which is being brought under the Fair Housing Act, names developer Robert Pascucci as a defendant, along with two companies that he owns, Bedford Development, LLC and Carnegie Construction Corp. The suit also names a company called Jobco, Inc, which Pascucci is president of.
“The Fair Housing Act mandates accessibility in design and construction," Bharara said in a statement. "Through this lawsuit – like the many other similar suits brought by this Office – we intend to hold these defendants accountable for their failure to adhere to the laws that ensure equal access to housing for New Yorkers with disabilities.”
A copy of the lawsuit announcement can be found here.
The project's architect, Warshauer Mellusi Warshauer, P.C. (WMW) is also a defendant. Former Pound Ridge Town Supervisor Gary Warshauer, served until 2013, is a partner in the architectural company.
Sutton Manor is a condominium complex geared towards people who are ages 55 and over, and was built in the 2000s on a hilly site behind a local Burger King. The complex is comprised of a three-story building with 47 units, Bharara's office notes.
Bharara's office cites a litany of alleged violations, claiming it "was designed and constructed with numerous inaccessible features, including insufficient clear opening width at, and excessive force required to operate, the doors to the elevator lobbies, excessively high thresholds at the entrances to the patios or balconies from within individual units and from the community room, insufficient clear opening width of each panel of the double-leaf doors leading to the patio or balcony in individual units, excessively high thresholds at the entrances to showers, and insufficient clear floor space in the hallways and kitchens for maneuvering by persons who use wheelchairs."
The federal lawsuit was brought in response to complaints from several condo owners, who purchased their units in 2007. The complainants are Mark and Gloria Koller, Michael and Linda Tracey, and Ina Grober. The units were advertised as being accessible to people with disabilities, Bharara's office says.
"Ms. Tracey, Ms. Koller, and Ms. Grober each has a disability that limits her mobility," the office stated. "Ms. Tracey uses an electric wheelchair and Ms. Koller and Ms. Grober each use a walker."
Bharara's office alleges that the complainants repeatedly notified the defendants about issues between 2007 to 2010 and that the problems were not addressed.
The residents reported their concerns to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which determined that there was "reasonable cause" to believe there was a Fair Housing Act violation, Bharara's office added. After HUD's determination, Bharara's office noted, the complainants decided to have their matter decided in federal court. The U.S. Department of Justice, which Bharara represents in southern New York State, is allowed to sue on behalf of Fair Housing Act complainants.