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TriBeCa Co-Op Board Discriminates Against Chinese Resident, State Says

By Irene Plagianos | November 27, 2015 9:40am
 Hanying Liu stands near her 165 Hudson Street building, which she claims she's being forced out of because she's Chinese.
Hanying Liu stands near her 165 Hudson Street building, which she claims she's being forced out of because she's Chinese.
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Hanying Liu

TRIBECA —  A TriBeCa co-op board has barraged one of its residents with racist comments, unlawfully trying to push her out of the building because she is Chinese, according to a lawsuit filed by the state.

Members of the board of TriBeCa's Spice Lofthouse, a 6-story building of multimillion-dollar apartments at 165 Hudson St., have made repeated "disparaging and discriminatory" comments to Hanying Liu, according to the suit filed by the New York State Division of Human Rights on behalf of Liu on Nov. 12.

Board members have told Liu, the only Asian resident of the 15-unit building, that Chinese people "'always lie" and "like to break the rules" and only have Chinese friends, according to the suit.

Some members also told Liu, “'you Chinese get out of here'” and have “interrogated” Chinese, Asian and other minority guests of hers, the suit says.

Liu, 46, a business consultant who is a Chinese native, told DNAinfo New York that the situation in her building has been "horrible."

"They are trying to push me and my daughter from our home," she said.

"They only want you here if you are white — they only tolerated me before because my fiance was white and he worked on Wall Street.

"They are worse than the communists in China — they police me and my friends."

Despite the fact that Liu bought her two-bedroom apartment for $1 million in 2011 and has always made “timely payments,” the board refused to approve her full ownership after her ex-fiance and co-owner, who is white, moved out in 2014, the suit claims.

The board was "willful, wanton and malicious” when it rejected her attempt to transfer her ex-fiance's shares into her name, the suit says. Liu was never given an explanation for why her application was rejected by the board — a rejection pushed through “knowingly and intentionally” because of her race, the suit says.

Liu is suing to gain full control of the apartment and is seeking damages.

A request for comment from the Spice Lofthouse management was not immediately returned.

According to property listings, recent apartments in the 1910 building have sold for more than $2 million.

Editor's Note: This story previously referred to the board at 165 Hudson St. as a condo board. It has been corrected to show that it is actually a co-op board.