By Erin Delmore
“I’m paying the same maintenance as everyone else here, and yet I can’t use the community pool. This is not a Jewish pool. This is not a Hasidic pool,” said Marie Curto.
Some condo owners in Lakewood are getting fired up over what they say are discriminatory rules against cooling down.
“Last year, we were able to use the pool from 11:30 to 4. This year, the mixed community can only use the pool 1 in the afternoon to 3 p.m. I work Monday through Friday. According to their new rules, I have no swimming hours,” Curto said.
The condo board in the predominantly Jewish community told residents it moved to designate gender-segregated swim times to accommodate religious and cultural beliefs. Under this summer’s policy the pool is open to women only from 8 a.m. until 11 a.m., Men only from 11 to 1 and all residents between 1 and 3. While the times vary between single-sex swims during the late afternoon, the men exclusively hold the block of time before the pool closes at 9 p.m. The rules hold from Sunday through Friday. On Saturday — the Jewish Sabbath — all residents are permitted to swim together. In total, that’s 25 hours out of the 91 hours the pool is open weekly, 27 percent of the total pool time. For single-sex swimmers, men get the pool 35 percent of the time, women 38 percent.
“I had company in from Florida and I stayed past the 4 o’clock, to 5:30. It as a male, my uncle, came in from California and I stayed. We were not in the pool, but we were at the pool,” said Curto.
She was fined $50. Same for Steve Lusardi. He says the pool is part of why he moved to the condo complex.
“I knew that they had put in a brand new heated pool and that would be very therapeutic for my wife. She had two strokes. Swim time, swimming, would be therapeutic for her,” Lusardi said. “There’s a 13-hour day, six days a week and the opportunity for me to bring my wife is from 1 to 3 o’clock, the hottest time of the day. I thought it was very unfair.”
Unfair, neighbors Marie Cuerto and Steve Lusardi say, but they’re asking: Is it illegal?
“The board has obligation to all unit owners to act fairly and have proper protocol and mechanisms so that the unit owners are treated fairly,” said real estate attorney Jason Rittie.
We left messages for the condo complex and its board members: no response, and while I was here I visited the administrative office. The response from that assistant? No comment.