An elderly woman who survived the Nazis, a plane crash and recently, a car accident, has told a Manhattan court that her 23-year-old real-estate broker granddaughter sold her home out from under her as she was recuperating, leaving her destitute and facing eviction.
Sarah Weinberg, 73, owned two small apartment buildings in Hell's Kitchen, Manhattan for decades - but one was sold recently, and the other has been signed over to her granddaughter, Danielle Kaminsky.
Weinberg is claiming that Kaminsky conspired with her father David Kaminsky, Weinberg's former son-in-law, to scam the grandmother out of the buildings, and has filed a $16 million suit against the two.
The building that was sold at 371 West 46th Street is where Weinberg was living with her daughter, Iris Kaminsky, and Danielle Kaminsky.
According to the New York Post, Weinberg and her late husband purchased the four-storey building 44 years ago for $59,000. Weinberg was refinancing the building when her granddaughter convinced her to sell it.
The New York Daily News reports that Danielle Kaminsky, a blond real-estate broker, encouraged Weinberg to sell the building when she was recovering from being hit by a car in 2012.
Papers filed in court say Danielle Kaminsky, whose 'spending habits far exceed anything she makes,' also convinced her grandmother to sign the building over into a trust under Danielle's control in spring.
According to the suit filed by Weinberg, Danielle 'desperately sought to sell the 371 building for her own personal gain [and] preyed on [Weinberg's] post-traumatic fears and anxieties in order to confuse, isolate and terrorize her elderly and trusting grandmother.'
The building was sold in May at the 'bargain-basement' price of $3.2 million - to a friend of David Kaminsky's. And David Kaminsky himself pocketed a $200,000 'consultancy fee' in the transaction.
The suit claims that the building had been conservatively valued at $5.3 million.
Danielle Kaminsky convinced Weinberg to transfer the deed to the second building at 402 West 46th Street to a trust under her control.
Meanwhile, Sarah Weinberg was told in no uncertain terms by her granddaughter to move out of her home.
'She told me, "Pack." That’s it. "Pack,"' Weinberg told the New York Daily News.
'There is something wrong with her. But I don’t want to say anything bad about her,' she said.
According to Weinberg's suit, Weinberg tried to undo the transfer, but was blocked by her granddaughter.
The New York Daily News reports that Danielle Kaminsky has moved into the second building's penthouse, along with her boyfriend and her grandmother's two pet Akitas, where she's been living rent-free ever since.
On Thursday, Danielle Kaminsky's lawyers agreed to postpone eviction proceedings and hold the money from the sale of the first building in escrow until the next court hearing on July 23.
Weinberg's lawyer told the New York Daily News that she has survived far worse trials than her granddaughter's 'deceit', including fleeing with her family as a baby to escape the Nazis, escaping political persecution in Argentina at 15, and enduring the loss of her parents in a plane crash that also left her with severe burns.
Danielle Kaminsky's profile on the Douglas Elliman Real Estate website says she's a 'rental specialist' who loves jazz and ballet and spent her 'formative years watching her family invest in Manhattan real estate, so she’s literally grown up in the business.'
Kaminsky told the New York Daily News that her grandmother wasn't telling the truth.
'I don’t know why she’s lying but she’s lying,' she said as she wiped away tears.
The New York Post reports that Kaminsky says the real villain is her mother, Iris, who 'forced Weinberg to refinance the building and then allegedly pocketed the cash'.