BRIGITTE A. PICART being duly sworn deposes and says:
1. I am the respondent in this action and submit this affidavit in support of an Order to Show Cause why the Judgment dated November 30, 1998 granting posession of the premises known as Apt. 5A at [my address] to Petitioner and ordering the Issuance and Execution of a Warrant of Eviction against me, should not be reversed.
As more fully set forth below the grounds for reversal of this Judgment are that Petitioner, through its agents, harasses me, violates my privacy, prevents me from working and overall oper- ates a constructive eviction against me.
2. In early December 1996 I asked Petitioner's agent Ronnie Oved to repair the shower in the communal bathroom and to fix my kitchen window. I told Mr. Oved that the bathroom was "a ruin" and Mr. Oved asked me if this ruin was "as pretty as the ruins in Cancun" and he refused to go see the bathroom. Mr. Oved left on his Cancun Christmas vacation without providing the repairs so I hired a handyman from the neighborhood to do the job and on December 22 or 23rd, 1996, both the shower and my kitchen window were fixed for an amount, including labor and parts, of about $300.
3. In March or April 1997 I asked Mr. Oved to credit this amount to my account and showed him an itemized bill. He was very upset that I had initiated the repairs and told me that I should have asked him first, and as I didn't have a receipt for the payment to the handyman for his labor, Mr. Oved haggled over the amount and after much playful sparring credited all but eighty dollars of the total to my tenant's account.
4. I was left with the impression that Mr. Oved disliked me because his refusal to pay the total amount of the bill implied that he believed that I had padded the bill. However his attitude toward me changed from cool to warm without apparent reason and in April or May 1997, Mr. Oved asked me how I was doing, put his hand on my shoulder as if we were old friends and even, to my astonishment, slapped hands with me "jive" style. He even asked me if I needed repairs.
5. At that time I was about four weeks late in my weekly rent payments and my financial and life situations were as follows:
5.1. Since my father's death of lung cancer in September 1990, I encountered extreme difficulties in obtaining monies owed me by the estate, of which my mother was -and remains- the executrix.
5.2. My mother refused to send me money unless I signed away my rights to some real estate properties worth many times the paltry sums that she sent me.
5.3. In 1991 I was recovering from a serious leg injury and was unable to make a living, therefore I depended entirely on my mother.
5.4. In 1992 I started a small business making and selling men's and women's hats. These hats sold briskly in the fall- winter season of 1992-93 and I was making a good living selling these hats from a table in a Soho street.
5.5. When the mayor cracked down on unlicensed street vendors in 1993 I tried to sell my hats to stores and soon found out that I was boycotted. My business died.
5.6. In the summer of 1993 I wanted to test my ability to play the guitar and sing in public, as I had been taking lessons and practicing since 1988. Every time I went out with my guitar I was followed and when I started playing I was harassed and intimidat- ed.
5.7. When I followed up on telephone contacts with club or cafe owners who accepted beginning performers, even before hearing my music my contacts treated me with contempt, condescen- sion, mockery and cynicism, which discouraged me from seeking further opportunities to play in public.
5.8. In August 1993 a personal injury lawsuit related to my leg injury was scheduled for trial but when I realized that false and unsworn statements I had made on orders of my lawyers were going to be used by the defense at trial, that the false state- ments were inconsistent with my injury, and that my lawyers expected me to lie on the witness stand, I fired my lawyers and had my cased marked off the trial calendar.
5.9. In just a few months therefore, I saw all my hopes of
5.10.This realization caused me such a terror that I consid- ered killing myself. I perceived an evil intent against me without understanding the reason why.
5.11. Since August 1990 when my lawyers had coerced me to lie about how I was injured, I had been suffering from partial amnesia. I had forgotten what happened just before I was injured.
5.12. I was again totally dependent on my mother for my survival and to my pleas for help she opposed the same demand that I sign a document that was to her advantage and to my detriment.
5.13. On November 27, 1993 a crucial detail about what hap- pened just before I was injured returned to my memory. This detail alone proved that I had been the victim not of a traffic accident but of an attempted murder made to look like one. And the only person I knew who had revealed a motive was my mother.
5.14. The next day I called the police in the city of my mother's residence [in France] and without saying that I was calling from New York I said that I had been the victim of an attempted murder. But because of the emotions involved I was unable to speak more and hung up.
5.15. In July 1994 my mother sent me an advance against my inheritance in the amount of $63,000 and I lived on this money until it ran out in 1997.
5.16. Renewed appeals to my mother for a cash infusion were met with the same request that I sign the same document.
5.17. In February 1997 I started writing a criminal complaint to the police in the city of my mother's residence in France, tying her to the attempt against my life in New York less than four months before my father's death.
6. In April or May 1997, Mr. Oved had a young man named Ramesh or "Mitch" re-do entirely the ceilings and walls in the bathroom as well as other ceiling work in the hallway.
7. On March 19 I became unable to pay my rent but nonobstant this problem (as mentioned in Par. 5 above) Mr. Oved remained cheerful and I mentioned to him my situation with my mother [regarding the payment of my share of the estate].
8. As I kept writing the criminal complaint I kept trying to talk with my mother on the phone but she refused to speak to me.
9. In late June 1997 Mr. Oved had Mitch re-do my kitchen ceiling, repaint the ceiling and the walls and put in a new floor covering.
10. I printed several drafts of my complaint but on August 8 my printer malfunctioned and emitted an acrid odor of burnt plastic or silicone. And since I could not afford to have the 28,400 words document printed by a service, I was prevented from sending my complaint to the police in France.
11. Around that time I was so broke that I could not even buy cat food. My mother still refused to talk to me. I mentioned this to Petitioner's porter Glen who repeated it to Mitch who gave me $10, saying that he didn't want me or my cat to be hungry, and that if I needed more money I should not hesitate to ask him.
12. I wondered what Mitch expected in return for his generous offer and I was both grateful and mistrustful toward him.
13. In November 1997 one of my brothers called to say that he had heard about my plight and offered to send me money. He did and I paid all the back rent I owed, putting an end to the suit in Housing Court that Petitioner had begun against me in July.
14. Shortly after sending me money my brother Norbert came to New York for a week and stayed in a room which had just been vacated on the ground floor and I introduced my brother to Petitioner's agents Glen and Mitch, who had started working full time in the office at the end of the summer.
15. During the following months my mother adopted a system whereby she sent me just enough money to cover my overdue bills, with just a minimum over the amount so that I was never able to have my printer repaired, and I lived in a constant state of unease and worry about financial matters. No sooner did I pay all my overdue bills than I fell behind again.
16. In late June 1998 Petitioner took me to court again for non-payment of rent. Again I appealed to my mother to send me enough money to cover the amount sued for, but she sent me only a few hundred dollars more than half the amount due and she sent it to a bank account that I had closed a year earlier so that the money, instead of taking one week to be credited to my active account took four weeks and several overseas phone calls.
17. I was therefore unable to make the payment mentioned at 2- b) in the stipulation of July 8, 1998.
18. At the end of September I sold some of my hats at a neighborhood flea market and was encouraged by the response. A few days later I entered into an agreement with an acquaintance whereby this person named William Jones would apply for a street vendor's license and obtain it immediately since he was a veter- an, and during his spare time he would sell my hats with my help.
19. I went with him twice to the Department of Consumer Affairs and helped him fill out the forms, and on my side I requested from the State Department of Taxation and Finance the necessary forms to register my business. I also intended to try again selling my hats to stores and enthusiastically informed my mother of the success of my hats at the flea market.
20. On October 9 I have a heated argument with a sewing machine repairman about the amount of his bill. I didn't expect the tune-up to cost more than thirty or forty dollars but he doesn't want to return my machine unless I pay hin one hundred dollars plus tax. I finally bargain the amount down to sixty dollars but am very upset when I return home and buy myself a beer.
21. Mitch sees me return from the store with a bottle and, pretending to check a piece of sheetrock near me, he looks at what I just bought that sticks out of the brown bag.
22. On October 13 William Jones calls me in the evening and he says that I sound "high". I deny having taken anything and realize that the more I try to clear myself the more suspect I sound.
23. On October 14 William Jones visits me and sees two empty bottles of Beck's beer in my kitchen. I keep the emties to get the five-cent deposit back. One of the bottles is from last July. Mr. Jones says that if I like liquid lunches I am welcome to them but not with his money (he gives me a little money) because he works hard for his money and he doesn't give me money to get drunk on, and I lied to him yesterday, yes, I lied, when I denied that I was high.
24. I realize that it's not going to be possible to do busi- ness with somebody who treats me like a criminal suspect.
25. In the evening on the phone he offers to break up the agreement and I accept without protest. He gets into another tirade about what a despicable person I am for drinking alcohol (although I never hid from him that I had the occasional beer but no hard liquor) and since he interrupts me every time I try to say something in my defense I realize that this argument over my non-existent drinking problem is a fabricated excuse to prevent me from making money.
26. Frustrated in my expectation to become active again, on October 21 I start writing on my computer a narrative entitled THE MEMOIRS OF A MARKED WOMAN - A true Story of Crime and Cover-up (Part One). The table of contents of this 27,800 words document is annexed hereto as Exhibit A for reference.
27. On October 30, Mr. Oved signs an affidavit in support of a motion to restore this action to the trial calendar and for entry of a judgment, issuance and execution of a warrant of eviction against me.
28. Upon receipt of the papers I get in touch again with my mother and impress on her the catastrophic consequences for me if she does not send me money to pay the rent sued on. She blames me for my problems and refuses to send me money.
29. I call her several more times and on November 17, the day before the return date of the motion I ask her if she wants me to sign anything. She asks me to give her a moment to think about it and says that she'll call me back within the hour.
30. She calls me back fiftenn minutes later and apologized for taking so long. She explains that she tried to discuss my offer with the notary in charge of the estate and that at this time of day she had a problem reaching him. According to her the notary said that if I sent him a fax saying that I agreed with a certain court order related to the sale of a building of the estate, then it would be possible to proceed and he could arrange to send me the money I requested.
31. I told my mother that what I needed at 8AM the next morning, 2PM in France, was a fax showing that she had trans- ferred to my account an amount sufficient to cover the amount sued on. I gave her all the numbers and insisted that 8AM was the latest time to send me the fax.
32. I sent the notary the fax my mother had asked me to send him but two hours later I realized that the court order was effective regardless of whether I liked it or not once the time for appeal had passed, and that my mother had probably tricked me and didn't intend to send me any money.
33. On the 18th at 8AM there was no fax for me.
34. Returning from court I met a fellow tenant outside the building. She asked how I was doing and I told her that my mother had tried to have me killed eight years ago and that since then I was under constant surveillance because my mother was afraid of what I might do, and that whatever I did, I met a surreptitious antagonism that defeated me so that I couldn't have a boyfriend, I couldn't marry and have children, I couldn't have a career, I couldn't have anything that every human being is entitled to. My mail was watched, and if I took a P.O.Box then the postal worker who filled the mail boxes would be paid off to keep track of the mail I received. I said that my phone was tapped. "But that's illegal!" she said. I said that murder was illegal too and that I felt totally raped.
35. She -Pat O'Connor- said that the people who kept an eye on me were probably Mr. Oved and Mitch. I agreed because I don't know anybody on a daily basis except Petitioner's employees, and except in the wee hours one of them is always around, able to see who's coming and who's going.
36. Two days later, on Friday the 20th, Mr. Oved called me into the office. In the presence of Mitch he told me with dead certainty that my mother was not going to send me money so I better get a job. He was so positive about it that I could have sworn that he had just spoken with my mother and she asked him to convey the message. Mr. Oved added that I couldn't live off my family forever. He seemed to have forgotten everything I had told him before: that my mother kept me dependent on her by bying off everybody I came into contact with, and also that the money I asked her belonged to me by law. I told Mr. Oved that just last month I was about to get back into business selling my hats but that my associate had been turned against me. [Mr. Oved then suggested that I take a secretarial job.]
37. The same evening I understood the meaning of several acts
and statements of Mr. Oved and of Mitch that related to the
breakdown of my printer:
38. But when my sewing machine needed service, Mitch asked me if the problem was electrical or mechanical, and when I said that it was mechanical he said that he was sorry but he couldn't help me. He also said that he was once given a brand new sewing machine that didn't work and that the only problem with it was a short circuit in the pedal.
39. He also stated that he had done a complete electrical installation in a house. Moreover I saw him repair the motor of a vacuum cleaner and he aknowledged being good at fixing electrical problems.
40. However just before my printer broke down, Mitch installed a ceiling lamp in my kitchen that never worked properly, due apparently to a faulty switch.
41. Remembering Mitch's offer of help at the time he gave me the $10 in the summer of 97, I asked him in early 98 if, the next time he drove from here to Mr. Oved's hotel on East 33rd Street he could give me a ride to bring my printer to a computer shop at 41st and 6th Avenue, since it was on his way and it would save me a cab fare. Mitch declined to help on the ground that today was his last day of work for Mr. Oved and that he would not come to work here anymore, therefore there would be no next time.
42. From all these acts and statements of Petitioner's agents, I concluded that both Mr. Oved and Mitch greeted my expressions of intent to have my printer repaired with trepidation, and that they tried to make me buy a new printer instead.
43. If they were so apprehensive of my printer being fixed, it could only be because the printer had been tampered with and caused to malfunction intentionally, which would be obvious to a service man.
44. The timing of the destruction of my printer indicated that Petitioner was aware of the contents of the document I was writing on my computer a that time, and that the purpose of the destruction was to prevent me from sending my complaint to the police.
45. Similarly, Mr. Oved signed his affidavit in support of an application for a warraqnt of eviction against me just nine days after I started writing my memoirs and the intent, although perfectly legitimate on the surface, was to prevent me from getting my story published.
46. If Petitioner knew of the contents of my criminal com- plaint and my narrative, it could only be by means of electronic eavesdropping.
47. And if Petitioner wanted to prevent me from getting both stories out, it could only be because he was helping my mother.
48. Therefore Petitioner has violated his duty to me by all the acts of its agents as shown above. Moreover Petitioner has fraudulently concealed from me that he used his privileged position as landlord to meddle and tortiously interfere with my private and social life, with the resul that I am completely isolated and under virtual house arrest.
49. My situation of "incommunicado" protects from criminal prosecution all the persons involved in the attempt against my life, including my mother who ordered it.
50. During a 3AM phone call to my mother on November 27, 1998, my mother all but admitted that she was behind all the negative interferences in my life, the purpose being to force me to return to France.
51. As my landlord, Petitioner has an affirmative duty not to interfere with my life as long as I do not violate the tenancy laws.
52. By his continuous and persistent violation of this duty and his fraudulent concealment that, through its agents, Peti- tioner was all along acting against my interests, Petitioner is equitably estopped from charging me rent.
53. WHEREFORE I, the respondent herein, pray the Court will set aside the stipulations signed by me on July 8, 1998 and November 18, 1998, grant Respondent an extension of time to amend her answer and to interpose a cross-claim against Respondent's mother and for all further relief that the Court deems just and proper.
Sworn to before me this 27th day of November 1998.