Posted on August 22, 2023

Feds: Woman Who Said Her Landlord Was Racist Made It All Up

Cameron Knight, Cincinnati Enquirer, August 17, 2023

A woman who publicly accused her landlord of racism to fight an eviction is now facing federal charges. Investigators say she made it all up.

Dermisha Pickett was going through the eviction process in February when she went public with a voicemail and text messages, supposedly from her landlord, stating she was being evicted due to her race.

Pickett claimed her landlord, Sergey Briskman, told her he would “not rent to African Americans” and that he would “rather put a white family in the unit.”

Pickett and her attorney, Fanon Rucker, filed a counterclaim of discrimination, then investigators from Housing and Urban Development launched an investigation.

According to court documents, Pickett faked the text messages using a separate phone and made false statements to investigators.

Briskman met with investigators and willingly allowed them to search his phone, court documents state. The investigators determined he had not texted Pickett at all during the times Pickett claims. He also told HUD officials he was evicting her because she was causing extensive damage to the Daly Road residence in Springfield Township.

Briskman owns over 100 properties, 56 of which are rented through HUD’s housing choice voucher program, officials said, and approximately 48 of those 56 households were rented to individuals who appear to be Black.