A home health aide squatting in a New York City apartment allegedly threatened to flush the ashes of a 103-year-old woman down the toilet amid a heated legal battle with the dead woman’s daughter.
Tatiana Abello, her mother and sister have been squatting in the Upper East Side apartment where the elderly woman had lived for at least 18 months, the New York Post reported. Abello had been hired by Verra Katz and her daughter Alayne Skylar in 2016 to help care for the elderly Katz.
After Katz died in 2021, Abello reportedly remained in the two-bedroom, 1,221-square-foot, rent-stabilized apartment and brought her other family members to live in the home. They argue in court records they have “succession rights” to the apartment and were like “family” to Katz, according to the Post.
Skylar said that after her mother died, she worked with Abello on a game plan on how to end her employment because she cared about the woman and her family.
“I loved these people. I had a relationship with them because they took care of my mother,” Skylar, 65, told the Post.
“I bought them dinners, I bought them gifts,” she said.
The daughter tried to get into the apartment in 2021, but “there was a slider bolt” on the door – and the Abellos reportedly refused to open the door for the daughter or the NYPD. Skylar eventually took the Abellos to Manhattan Housing Court, and recounted how the family allegedly threatened to flush the ashes of her mother and father down the toilet.
“They were threatening to flush my parents’ ashes down the toilet,” she told the outlet.
Katz was a big band singer who used the name Verra Stuart during her career, while Skylar’s father, Ralph Katz, was an editor for the New York Times who died in 2003.
Amid the court battle, the Abellos agreed to give the ashes of the parents back to Skylar by December 2021. After the ashes were returned, court proceedings seemingly were dropped, the Post reported.
The woman is still locked out of the home and unable to recover her parent’s personal belongings, according to court documents reported by the Post.
In a bid to recover the home, the landlord of the apartment is suing the Abellos and Skylar.
“The tenants should not be granted a ‘windfall’ and be permitted to escape ‘rent free,'” the landlord argued, according to the outlet. Apartments in the area typically rent for about $7,000 and the landlord is demanding the Abellos start paying rent.
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