After weeks of discussing a settlement, the Urby apartment development in Staten Island and three people who accused the firm of racial discrimination in a federal lawsuit have agreed to conclude the case, according to court filings.
Both sides’ lawyers signed a document, dated Nov. 26, in which they agreed to dismiss the matter, with each party paying for attorney fees and other expenses.
The conclusion comes more than two weeks after Logan Schiff, a lawyer for the three individuals who brought the lawsuit, drafted a letter to U.S. Magistrate Judge Steven Gold noting that he and Urby’s attorneys "have held several productive settlement discussions over the last two weeks and are close to an agreement…"
"The parties still have a gap in their respective positions as to the monetary portion of the proposed settlement," the letter read. "We believe that with a settlement conference before your Honor, the parties may be able to reach an agreement and avoid further litigation."
Schiff, who works for Legal Services NYC, said he and his clients were not able to discuss the matter.
Attorneys for Urby did not respond when asked about the case, and a spokeswoman for the company declined to comment.
In July, the three people, described then as current and former Urby residents, filed a lawsuit against the North Shore development. In the complaint, they alleged that Urby responded to online complaints about "ghetto" residents living in its below market-rate units by making a list of undesirable tenants — all of whom were black — and targeting them with frivolous housing court cases and aggressive buyout offers.
At the time, the tenants’ attorneys said Urby violated fair housing and human rights laws while receiving tax benefits that mandated the firm set aside at least one-fifth of its roughly 500 apartments for low-income residents. The tax perks also required Urby to certify that there were not substantiated instances of discrimination, according to the complaint.
Urby described the lawsuit as "completely baseless and utterly without merit" in July.
"We treat all of our tenants equally, in full compliance with all city, state and federal fair housing and anti-discrimination laws," the company said in a statement released this summer.