Linda Benjamin, 58, says the management of the adult home Garden of Eden is abusing her and other residents and calls it "the garden of hell."
Some residents of a Bensonhurt adult home are outraged at what they call shoddy treatment and unsanitary living conditions at the facility.
The Garden of Eden Home on Stillwell Ave. has been slapped with multiple lawsuits stemming from complaints of mistreatment from residents. In addition, the state Health Department cited the facility for a number of violations earlier this year.
A Health Department spokesman said most of the violations the home was cited for dealt with verbal abuse and retribution.
"They have black hearts - all of them," said Linda Benjamin, 58, who has been staying at the facility for the last nine years.
Benjamin said she has been bullied and threatened by administrators the entire time she has lived at the facility.
Last week, Benjamin said, she asked directors to give her a break on her rent so she could buy herself a set of replacement dentures. Instead, Benjamin said, she was told if she didn't pay up, she would be thrown out on the street.
Benjamin paid - and said she's been losing weight because she can't eat without dentures.
"I felt like dirt," she said. "They never have a problem with me on rent. This was an emergency situation."
Residents charged that head administrator Martin Amsel constantly bullied patients into attending optional treatment meetings and would threaten residents with eviction or unnecessary hospital visits if they didn't do as instructed.
"They've told me they don't have access to the basic things that they need to live well and to be healthy," said Jota Borgmann, a lawyer for several residents suing the home.
In documents provided to the Daily News, the state Health Department noted that residents at the adult home complained they were served stale and moldy food. Also, one resident complained she was forced into a $1,000 contract for the use of air conditioning in her room.
Jeff Sherrin, a lawyer for Garden of Eden, said the home has tried to clear its name with the Health Department, noting complaints made by residents are "always shown to be unfounded."
"Garden of Eden and its administrator were wrongfully accused by a Department of Health inspector of overzealousness in trying to encourage residents to attend programs and take medications that their doctors had ordered for them," Sherrin said.
He said the facility has one of the best inspection histories of any adult home in the state and "is prepared to defend it in any forum at any time."
But Borgmann said, "Residents told me it's not a place that fosters recovery. It's very disturbing."
Other residents also say they've had a difficult time at the home.
Ralph Goldberg, 64, said he regularly sees other residents being bullied and tormented.
"This is like a dictatorship," said Goldberg. "People are supposed to be in a protected environment, not a place where people are threatened."
James Ramdaou, 32, said he left the facility two years ago because he couldn't handle all the abuse from Amsel.
"I felt so small and scared. I didn't feel comfortable, and I was always hiding," he said. "I felt like [Amsel] would do something to me."