A landlord was reportedly ordered to pay $17,000 for threatening to call Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on a tenant in what may be the first case of its kind.
A New York City judge ordered the Queens landlord to pay a $5,000 fine to the city and $12,000 in damages to the tenant, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.
The order followed a complaint by the city's Commission on Human Rights that alleged that the landlord threatened via email and text message to call ICE if the tenant did not pay her rent, according to the Journal.
A spokesperson for the panel told The Hill on Sunday that the commission chair has to review the ruling and can make changes to it before it becomes final.
The spokesperson said that this is the first time the commission had litigated such a complaint. She believes it sets a precedent regarding the use of ICE to "intimidate or harass" housing tenants.
New York City attorneys reportedly accused the landlord, Dianna Lysius, of sending the messages to tenant Holly Ondaan.
Lysius denied sending the texts and emails to Ondaan in an interview with the Journal and said she plans to appeal.
“Everything in that report is false,” she said.
Ondaan told the newspaper she was not permitted to be in the U.S. during the time of the incident but has since obtained her green card.
The commission received around 160 complaints alleging housing discrimination based on national origin or immigration status last year, the spokesperson told The Hill.
--This report was updated on Sept. 24 at 10:16 a.m.