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German-American group in NY ordered to end race-based housing discrimination

A Long Island organization that was historically known to only allow people of German descent to live on its land will now have to open its properties to individuals of all races and nationalities. 

The German American Settlement League (GASL) will be required to change its policies that discriminated against certain races, New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced on Wednesday. 

The nonprofit organization was founded in the 1930s as a summer camp that supported the Nazi regime, according to WSHU. The group followed laws that would allow individuals "primarily of German extraction and of good character and reputation" from living on its land in Yaphank. 

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"The GASL’s discriminatory practices were a remnant of a disgraceful past that has no place in New York or anywhere," Schneiderman said. 

The attorney general's office began investigating the organization in 2015 after it violated federal, state and local laws. Investigators found that homeowners would only be allowed to announce property listings at meetings or through internal flyers. 

The group was ordered to revise its by-laws and policies after a 2016 settlement, but little changes were made, according to Schneiderman. 

The new settlement would also require the group to follow fair housing laws, replace its president and treasurer, and report to the attorney general's office regularly over the next three years. 

"This agreement will once and for all put an end to the GASL’s discrimination," Schneiderman said.