The Rensselaer County Executive Office has accused New York Attorney General Letitia James of racism, claiming she is disregarding “the rights of the white people of Rensselaer County.”

The claim follows James’ decision to file a lawsuit against the county, alleging that it has not done enough to address decades of housing discrimination against Black and Latino residents. The suit was filed in January, following a four-year investigation.

“It is disheartening that Attorney General James has chosen to unilaterally make assertions that are both factually and legally flawed,” the Rensselaer County Executive Office said in a statement. “It is especially troubling that she has chosen to make such an accusation without consulting with any of the parties involved, including Rensselaer County, which has been actively working to solve this issue for many years.”

The Rensselaer County Executive Office denied the claims of racism and noted that the county has been a leader in promoting affordable housing and expanding access to housing for all residents. The office said that the county has been in compliance with the Fair Housing Act since the early 2000s, and has taken steps to create more housing opportunities for Black and Latino residents.

“The county is committed to creating more housing opportunities for all residents of Rensselaer County, regardless of race or ethnicity,” the statement said. “We are confident that the facts of our case will show that we are committed to this goal, and that we have been working diligently to make it happen.”

The lawsuit filed by Attorney General James urges the county to implement measures that would allow for more housing options for Black and Latino residents, and to create policies to ensure that all renters and homeowners in the county can access housing opportunities regardless of race or ethnicity.

The Rensselaer County Executive Office has strenuously denied the accusations of racism, and said that it will continue to fight the lawsuit in court. The office has also maintained that the county has made significant progress in promoting fair housing access for all its residents.

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