The Village of Mastic Beach on Long Island has settled with several people who accused the village and its former administrator of discriminating against African-American renters and agreed to pay $387,500 to settle the charges.

The lawsuit, Long Island Housing Services v. Village of Mastic Beach, 15-CV-0629, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York in February 2015, claimed that the Village of Mastic Beach and its former administrator, Timothy Brojer, illegally evicted low-income African-American renters.

According to the lawsuit filed by The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, the law firms of Cooley; Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll and the nonprofit organization Long Island Housing Services Inc., Village of Mastic Beach Code Enforcement evicted black tenants who received housing subsidies for minor housing violations, without providing lawful notice or giving the tenants an opportunity to be heard. Meanwhile, white tenants in homes with larger safety and health concerns were allowed to maintain their residences, the complaint claims.

The evictions started when the village decided to incorporate in 2010 in an attempt to make the village a “more upscale rental community,” the lawsuit said. Under the settlement, the village has to comply with state, local and federal civil rights laws until the village’s dissolution on Dec. 31, 2017.

According to the settlement agreement filed on Wednesday before U.S. District Judge Denis Hurley, the village will pay six tenants and two landlords $387,500 and comply with the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment, as well as the Fair Housing Act, the housing-related provisions of the state’s Human Rights Law and housing-related provisions of the Suffolk County Human Rights Law.

As part of the settlement, the village also is being required to distribute copies of the state’s Uniform Code, including the Property Maintenance Code, to all members of the village board and village employees in the Department of Building and Housing and the Department of Public Safety.

“This settlement sends a strong message to municipalities on Long Island and across the country that attempts to use code enforcement to push people of color out of their communities will not be tolerated,” said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, in a statement.

Brian Sokoloff, a partner at Long Island-based Sokoloff Stern who represented the village in the lawsuit, said the lawsuit was settled because the Village of Mastic Beach will soon cease to exist.
“A case is settled for any number of reasons. They settle based upon a balance of cost of litigating, the exposure, the viability analysis. A lot of things drove this settlement,” Sokoloff told the New York Law Journal on Wednesday. “The bottom line is that the village is soon disappearing. The voters of the village voted to dissolve the village. So when you think about it. there would be a lot of litigating to defend an entity that’s disappearing.”

In November, village residents approved a plan to disband the village and return to the town of Brookhaven, according to Newsday.

This report was updated with comment about the settlement.