New York (CNN) A New York judge earlier this month recommended a landlord pay $17,000 in fines for threatening to call immigration authorities on an undocumented tenant.
This is the first case related to housing where threatening to call Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to harass or intimidate a tenant has been found to be a violation of law, according to a spokesperson for the New York City Commission on Human Rights.
Holly Ondaan, the tenant and an undocumented immigrant at the time the case was filed, testified in court that she became “an emotional wreck” when her former landlord, Dianna Lysius, threatened to call ICE and sent demeaning texts because she was unable to pay rent.
The city’s Commission on Human Rights, which represented Ondaan in this case, filed a complaint on her behalf on January 31, 2018 detailing Lysius’ alleged discrimination against the undocumented tenant.
CNN was unable to reach Ondaan directly.
Judge John B. Spooner recommended on September 12th that Lysius pay a $5,000 civil penalty, $12,000 in damages for emotional distress and complete 50 hours of community service, according to his written report and recommendation.
Lysius told CNN that she plans to appeal but doesn’t currently have legal representation.
“It sets important case precedent for the interpretation of our Human Rights Law to include the weaponization of ICE to intimidate or harass someone in housing as a violation,” Sapna V. Raj, deputy commissioner for the law enforcement bureau of the city’s Commission on Human Rights, told CNN. “We will not allow our city’s most vulnerable to be further marginalized out of fear for their safety in their own homes. Immigration status, citizenship, and national origin (perceived or actual) are protected categories under our law, and we will continue to fight to ensure those protections are enforced to the fullest extent.”
Ondaan, who received her green card on July 30, 2018, lived in the Queens apartment from September 2011 to September 2018, according to the judge’s report and recommendation. In the fall of 2017, she started complaining to police that Lysius was making harrassing visits and sending threatening text messages. In October 2017, Ondaan stopped paying rent due to financial difficulties and the texts from Lysius increased, she said. Lysius commenced a non-payment action against Ondaan for the late rent and eventually lost the mortgage to the house because of Ondaan’s non-payment, according to the report.
According to the report, some of the texts include:
- “HAVE MY MONEY OR IM CALLING ICES [sic] THAT DAY PERIOD.”
- “It was fun and games when you calling DOB now it’s fun and games calling immigration 12 times day. They can deport you.”
- “I REPORTED YOU TO IMMIGRATION BOO THEY KNOW IM THE LANDLORD TO PROVIDE THEM KEYS COME DIRECTLY TO YOU.”
On January 17, 2018, the city’s Commission on Human Rights sent Lysius a cease-and-desist letter ordering her to stop threatening tenants with reporting them to immigration authorities or engaging in any “actions or practices” that discriminated against tenants based upon their citizenship or immigration status, according to the report.
Judge Spooner says in his report that he found Ondaan’s testimony credible, while the landlord “raised various uncorroborated and unlikely accusations against” the tenant. The judge also recognized that Lysius’s “dire financial circumstances” likely played a part in the text messages but noted the threats were still discriminatory.
While Judge Spooner has recommended the fines, there are still more legal proceedings that must happen before it goes into effect. The parties will have a period of time to submit comments before the chair of the city’s commission on human rights issues a final decision and order, Raj said. The respondent, Lysius , can then file an appeal.
Leftist NYC Judge Recommends Landlord Pay $17,000 for Threatening to Call ICE on Illegal Alien Tenant
That’s right. If you dare call the authorities on an illegal in a left wing sanctuary city be prepared to get sanctioned by a judge who has different feeling than you. Everyone must have the same emotional reactions to everything in the SJW bubble. Those who don’t will be stripped of their wealth, thrown in prison, or killed.
I do believe there is a legal process to evict people who don’t pay their rent.
Unable to pay rent is probably more like…unwilling to pay rent. If the landlord had “discriminated” against her and decided against renting the apartment to her, she would have gotten sued anyway. It’s amazing the type of legal services these pieces of shit get, isn’t it?
So a bum feels she can keep the apartment without paying rent (care to guess which party she favors?) and a judge makes the landlord pay- I hope to God the landlord appeals this further.
This is completely by design. They want law-abiding citizens AFRAID of doing the right thing. SICKENING! They want to beat people down to the point that they are too tired to fight back.
The landlord should pay someone to break into the house and kick them out.
This guy clearly has a bias towards the freaks and sideshows of the extreme wing of the DNC
Reason #2599 why activist judges are bad for American jurisprudence.
This judge needs to be dragged off the bench, out of New York City, into America, prosecuted, and imprisoned.
The judge should be fired and disbarred.
The landlord has issues as well, you can’t threaten criminal action or deportation in order to collect a debt but this is ridiculous.
There is something really wrong when a person has the money to “transition” but wants the taxpayer to foot the bill for a place to live.
Desir ultimately found an apartment through welfare benefits, but said her sense of independence was shattered and that Walter’s comments were “devastating
Why would anyone want to be a landlord ? Why in the hell would you live in NYC ? NYC the next tent city , rat infested , shit stained sidewalks, and liberal nitwits .
I’m a landlord and I have a very clear method of vetting tenants. I think this landlord SHOULD have to pay because he had an illegal living in his house. I think the illegal should be evicted… from the country. With that said, you don’t need to threaten a tenant with the police. Go through the process and evict their ass for non-payment of rent. I’ve had to do it once and while it’s a pain, it’s just what you have to do when you agree to rent a house. I kind of like it though because it keeps me from having to go there and physically throw them out. I’m getting old.
Have I read this article correctly?
Yes - it is pure insanity. Liberal cities like NYC and SF show us just how much the government elites hate the average hardworking person and will do anything to support the welfare takers and the criminals who want to terrorize us and take all of our wealth and property.
WOW! Well spoken! I live in Germany and I am chilled to express my opinion.
In this case he screwed up by threatening the tenant. Should have just called ICE to report an illegal alien
With these “judges” we are now supposed to have to pay for their junk removal if they’re in jail otherwise it’s cruel.
I wonder if Monopoly will have a “Go to Jail Immediately, Get a Free Sex Change” card in the future?
According to one story I saw in NYC the eviction process, assuming no delays, can take up to 3 months.
And to compound things NYC has not friendly to owners squatters rights, as was infamously seen IIRC after Katrina when one relocatee decided to never leave the hotel.