LOWER EAST SIDE, Manhattan (PIX11) – Friends and family were calling nonstop from Italy, with warm wishes for the birthday girl.
Concetta Passione turned 100 Dec. 8. Relatives threw her a party Saturday night. She got lots of cards stuffed with cash and not exactly a gift from the New York City Housing Authority: an eviction notice, specifying a breach of rules and regulations.
“I said it can’t be. I’ve been here 50 years. This is my house. This is my home. I’m paying,” Concetta.
Shes currently paying $219 a month for her one bedroom in the Rutgers Houses on the lower east side. The Passiones were among the first families to move into the building when it opened in 1964. Her husband died years ago, and her sons who had families of their own, made it their business to look after her. When her son Paul moved out in 2004, her other son Sebastian, now 73, moved in and says he pressed NYCHA’s managers to have the lease changed to have his brothers name replaced with his.
“I provided all the information, all the documentation they wanted and I’m still waiting for them to allow me to be put on the lease. It never happened,” Sebastian said.
Someone reportedly called the inspector general for NYCHA, claiming the great grandmother was living in Italy and that her son Sebastian was living there instead — which would be illegal. Sebastian, a translator for Social Security, says his mom has made some long trips to Italy, but this is her home.
“All you have to do is come up to the 8th floor knock on the door and you’ll see her,” Sebastian said.
Scott Loffredo is the family’s attorney. “If Mr. Passione was on the lease, the family composition would have been recalculated, and the rent would’ve increased,” Loffredo said. “He’s been asking to be on that lease since 2004.”
NYCHA would not comment. But we do know the Department of Investigation took up the case a while ago.