Bryan Cohen Nov. 1, 2013, 8:00pm

TRENTON, N.J. (Legal Newsline) -- New Jersey Acting Attorney General John Hoffman said Thursday his office has reached a settlement with an Essex County landlord resolving allegations he reneged on showing a unit to a man because of his race.

George Testa, the owner of a building in Orange, arranged to show a rental unit to a prospective tenant in December 2010. Testa allegedly avoided the man once he realized the potential tenant was African-American.

In 2012, the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights issued a finding of probable cause that included a narrative in which prospective tenant Charles Lawson allegedly arrived at a pre-arranged time to see the apartment and waited two hours outside for a no-show Testa.

After unsuccessfully trying to reach Testa by phone, Lawson started to drive away and allegedly saw Testa get in a red car parked in front of the building and leave.

Under the terms of the settlement, Testa will pay $3,000 to Lawson, undergo state monitoring of his rental practices for one year, maintain records of rental-related activities for three years and develop a written non-discrimination policy to distribute to his tenants.

Testa is subject to a $7,000 suspended penalty to the state that will be reinstated if he fails to comply with any terms of the agreement over the next two years.

Testa made no admission of wrongdoing as part of the agreement.

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