Coakley resolves discrimination suit

By Keith Loria | Feb 25, 2011


BOSTON (Legal Newsline) - Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley has obtained a consent judgment against a property management company and an assistant property manager over allegations that they violated state anti-discrimination law.

Named in the consent judgment are the Natick-based Franchi Management Company Inc., and Marsha Lenhoff, the assistant property manager of Babcock Tower, a residential apartment building in Boston.

The consent judgment resolves allegations that the defendants were in violation of the state anti-discrimination law when they allegedly told a disabled woman that the management company would not provide services to people with disabilities.

The prospective tenant, suffering from mobility impairments, viewed an apartment and asked if the property management company could make bathroom alterations and install push button door openers to accommodate her disabilities, a complaint filed in December 2009 alleged.

The prospective tenant was then informed by an employee of the property management company that it could not make the modifications as the company did not accept tenants with disabilities, it is alleged.

It is illegal under Massachusetts law to make any statement indicating a preference limitation or discrimination against persons with disabilities.

"Persons with disabilities need to have the same opportunity and access to housing as any person," Coakley said. "Equal and fair treatment in housing, employment, education and other aspects of daily living is critical for every resident in the Commonwealth and our office will continue to combat all forms of discrimination against persons with disabilities."

A broad range of relief is included in the settlement, including that the defendants refrain from acts of discrimination, train employees on fair housing, adopt comprehensive anti-discrimination policies and procedures, and report all discrimination complaints to the attorney general's office.

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