The New York State Department of State dismissed the complaint against a real estate agent who featured in a Newsday article about alleged discriminatory practices.

A ruling released Monday Administrative Law Judge John Kenny determined there was no substantial evidence that the agent, Lee-Ann Vicquery, engaged in discriminatory conduct when working with potential buyers, who were actually testers hired by Newsday for its story.

Vicquery, who was licensed with Keller Williams at the time of Newsday’s investigation in 2016 and 2017, allegedly kept a white tester away from Brentwood, while encouraging a minority tester to tour homes in Brentwood, according to court documents.

However, the judge found that the state investigator did not interview these testers or review any of the listings sent to the testers by the real estate agent. Instead, the state investigator’s testimony during the January 2021 hearing into the case was based solely on his recollection of the content of the Newsday story and his interview with Vicquery, according to the ruling. .

In her decision, Kenny wrote that the “investigator seemed to have difficulty remembering the details of her conversation” with the officer and concluded that the investigator’s testimony about the officer’s statements about her did not was “not believable”.

E. Christopher Murray

Vicquery was represented by Uniondale-based attorney E. Christopher Murray of Ruskin Moscow Faltischek, who said that “when all of the actual evidence was presented at a hearing, it was clear that Ms. Vicquery had not indulged to any discriminatory conduct”. Murray added that his client “had her life turned upside down and lost her job because of the Newsday report.”

Vicquery, who continues to work as a real estate agent, said she was relieved by the decision.

“I did not engage in discriminatory behavior and I am pleased to have had the opportunity to present evidence at a hearing showing that I did nothing wrong,” Vicquery said in a written statement, adding that she would like to put this whole “awful” situation behind her.

In April, Newsday reported that the State Department, the licensing office for real estate agents, was seeking to suspend or revoke the licenses of 18 agents and had opened 52 additional investigations into potential misconduct by real estate professionals related to Nov. Newsday 2019 story.

Agents charged by the State Department could have their licenses suspended, revoked and could face fines of up to $10,000, according to Murray. Numerous hearings are ongoing and decisions on the cases are still pending.

Attorney Dennis Valet, senior partner at Lieb at Law in Smithtown, who represented two Douglas Elliman agents who were also featured in the Newsday article, said the state’s charge against Agent Michele Friedman had been dropped before the hearing began. He said a decision in the case against his other client was still pending.

Valet said the decision to fire Vicquery is a “bad omen” for the State Department.

“Their whole case was based on what Newsday reported,” Valet said. “The State Department did not conduct its own testing and its investigation was limited to interviews with the charged officers.”

In his decision to dismiss the case against Vicquery, Judge Kenny wrote that while the Newsday story is relevant, “its probative value is limited and not sufficiently reliable”.