New York Attorney General Letitia James on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against Buffalo landlord Farhad Raiszadeh, his wife, Shohre Zahedi, and their companies (Raiszadeh Group) for alleged repeated and flagrant violations of lead safety laws at dozens of properties in Buffalo.
Erie County and the city of Buffalo are co-plaintiffs in the action.
The Raiszadeh Group currently owns 75 properties and 47 of them have been cited for lead paint hazard violations. At least 16 children have been diagnosed with lead poisoning while living in those properties, according to the Attorney General’s office.
In the complaint, James seeks to require the Raiszadeh Group to pay substantial penalties and restitution to the impacted families and disgorge all ill-gotten profits, such as rent payments, totaling potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars.
She is also seeking an order to stop the Raiszadeh Group’s harmful housing practices and require them to inspect the properties for lead hazards on a regular basis, remediate all lead exposure risks, and provide tenants with legal and accurate lead disclosures.
In addition to Raiszadeh and Zahedi, the Raiszadeh Group companies named in the lawsuit are Prime Heritage Homes LLC, Premier Heritage Homes LLC, Premium Heritage Homes LLC, Maxinnova Inc., and Maxinnova Defined Benefits Plan.
“In Buffalo and throughout New York, Black and brown children and their families disproportionately suffer the lifelong impacts of lead paint exposure,” James said in a news release.
“We cannot allow landlords’ neglect to steal our children’s futures. We will hold the Raiszadeh Group accountable for their actions and will continue fighting to ensure all children are able to grow up in safe and healthy homes.”
Raiszadeh and Zahedi managed the Raiszadeh Group properties from their permanent residence in California. They have been managing these properties without the required property management license from the city and rented out the units without the required real estate broker’s licenses from the state, according to the Attorney General.
The complaint alleges that by failing to prevent and properly remedy these hazards, 16 children suffered lead poisoning living in Raiszadeh Group properties, according to James.
The complaint seeks penalties of up to $5,000 for every false or misleading lead disclosure the Raiszadeh Group provided to tenants.