BUFFALO, N.Y. (WWTI) — The New York Attorney General has filed a lawsuit against a Buffalo group following several lead exposure violations at their rental properties.
Attorney General Letitia James and Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown filed a lawsuit against rental housing operations controlled by Angel Elliot Dalfin. According to James, six properties managed by Dalfin violate lead-paint regulations.
The lawsuit stated that the rental housing group violated county, city, state, and federal laws by illegally allowing lead paint-related hazards at their rental properties. Dozens of reported childhood lead poisonings have resulted from the violations.
James confirmed that since 2013, the Erie County Department of Health has identified dozens of children with elevated blood lead levels in 22 of the Dalfin properties. In addition, 63 of these houses have been cited by county and city inspectors for housing code violations, either for conditions conducive to lead poisoning.
The Attorney General stated that the group has owned and managed over 150 single- and two-family homes in predominantly low-income communities of color.
“It is as immoral as it is illegal that a landlord would knowingly expose families to lead poisoning, which disproportionately threatens the health and development of Black and brown children,” said Attorney General James. “Our children deserve to live in safe and healthy homes, not dangerous and poisonous ones. This group of landlords and property managers put low-income Buffalo communities at extreme risk, and today we are holding them accountable.”
The Office of the Attorney General confirmed that the investigation into Dalfin began in 2017, ad found the group violated laws such as using shell companies to avoid city rental registration requirement, failed compliance with city and state property management requirements, conducting business without authority and initiation eviction of tenants in lead-poisoned houses.
According to a 2018 study, the city of Buffalo “suffers from some of the highest rates” of childhood lead exposure in the nation from “poor housing conditions in old homes with lead paint.” Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that in 2017, 715 children in Erie County under six years of age tested with blood lead levels between 5 and 9 µg/dL.
The lawsuit filed on September 19, 2020 was filed in Erie County Supreme Court.