Glenwood will retrofit luxury towers, pay nearly $1M to settle federal accessibility lawsuit

Leonard Litwin’s Glenwood Management will pay nearly $1 million and retrofit a handful of Manhatta

Preet Bharara and Leonard Litwin with Glenwood’s Liberty Plaza

Leonard Litwin’s Glenwood Management will pay nearly $1 million and retrofit a handful of Manhattan apartment buildings after settling a Fair Housing Act lawsuit federal prosecutors brought against the landlord over lack of accessibility at its properties.

Earlier this month, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office filed a complaint claiming Glenwood’s Liberty Plaza rental building at 10 Liberty Street in the Financial District “was designed and constructed with scores of inaccessible features” for those with disabilities.

The action detailed features such as thresholds and mailboxes that are out of reach of those in wheelchairs and “numerous inaccessible conditions” that violate the FHA. Bharara’s office said the non-profit Fair Housing Justice Center first brought it to his attention.

The real estate firm and U.S. Attorney’s office reached a settlement that includes Glenwood paying up to $900,000 in compensation and a civil fine of $50,000.

“This settlement shows our enforcement efforts have motivated major developers like Glenwood to embrace their obligations under the law by making retrofits in thousands of apartments, compensating aggrieved parties, and establishing procedures to ensure accessibility at ongoing and future development projects,” Bharara said in a statement, noting this is the 10th case of this kind his office brought against city landlords.

The prosecutor’s office settled a similar case in 2014 with the Related Companies, ensuring apartment buildings at Hudson Yards would be accessible.

Under the terms of the Glenwood agreement, the landlord will retrofit three of its complexes to make them more accessible to those with disabilities: Liberty Plaza in the Financial District, Hawthorne Park on the Upper West Side and The Sage in the Garment District.

The landlord also agreed to inspect six other Manhattan properties and make retrofits where needed, as well as set guidelines to ensure that future projects will be accessible.

“Glenwood has always tried to adapt apartments for disabled residents and looks forward to working with the Civil Division to enhance the accessibility of the nine covered buildings,” read a statement released by the landlord. “Glenwood has begun improvements designed to benefit all residents of Liberty Plaza, as well as residents of two other covered buildings.”

This is, of course, not the first time the tenacious federal prosecutor has investigated Glenwood and its centenarian CEO.

Investigations spearheaded by Bharara’s office eventually led to convictions of former state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, both of whom had ties to Glenwood detailed during their trials.

Source: The Real Deal