Home aides from hell? While many elderly New Yorkers rely on qualified live-in attendants to make their golden years more comfortable, people rarely talk about what happens when patients pass on. In the case of Verra Katz, a former big band singer who died in August 2021 at 103, it’s been nothing but a headache.
Katz’s daughter, Alayne Skylar, alleges her mother’s former caretakers have taken over the Upper East Side apartment where they had worked since 2016. The New York Post revealed the squad of squatters is a family affair — Tatiana Abello, her sister Victoria and mother Olympia Oviedo-Reyes are living large in a rent-stabilized pad at 305 East 86th Street (Yorkshire Towers) and have refused to grant access to Skylar.
After swapping out the locks for a brand new deadbolt, the trio now claims to boast “succession rights” thanks to their “loving, family-type relationship” with the deceased. Alas, Skylar assures these fond feelings are nothing but a ruse — when she requested her parents’ ashes be returned, the domestic staffers “threatened to flush [them] down the toilet.” The dispute was brought to Manhattan Housing Court, but ultimately dropped once the ashes in question were back in Skylar’s possession.
The latest lawsuit comes courtesy of the building’s landlord, who is suing both parties in question to regain control of the property and receive back-rent from the Abellos on the $2,088-a-month abode (Skylar says she covered the costs for an unconfirmed length of time). “The tenants should not be granted a ‘windfall’ and be permitted to escape ‘rent free,” the landlord stated. Similar two-bedroom units in the building ring in at a monthly rate of $7,000.
Meanwhile, Skylar has hopes of reopening eviction proceedings and retrieving her parents’ belongings, which she speculates were trashed. “If this could happen to me, it could happen to anybody who retains home health attendants,” she warns. In a city where real estate is king, you never know how far someone will go for a 1,221-square-foot apartment.