Villager fights to kick out “serial con artist” – The Village Sun

BY THE VILLAGE SUN | Scammer alert!

Posters were recently posted in the West Village warning people against a woman who has been dubbed a local ‘serial con artist’.

Heidi Russell, who lives on Barrow St. in a two-bedroom apartment, said that for a year her roommate Kate Gladstone refused to pay her $ 2,000 a month rent or to move out.

In a June letter begging for help from Governor Cuomo, Russell said Gladstone moved in in June 2019 and was only supposed to stay three months – but only paid the first month’s rent and has since refused to leave. places.

Gladstone, 44, is from Pittsburgh and is also called Katherine Klein. This is apparently not the first time that she has squatted in another person’s apartment in the Village area and refused to leave.

Among his previous victims is Matt Titus, a matchmaker and relationship expert who is a regular on TV talk shows. Titus sublet her rented studio on 13th Street in Gladstone for a month, but she didn’t want to leave after that. He then had to rent elsewhere while waiting for his landlord to evict him.

Additionally, according to Russell, three hotels in the area, including the Maritime and Arlo, have banned the scammer.

The New York Post was the first to report about Gladstone.

Heidi Russell and her dog, who is disabled, were forced out of Russell’s apartment because of an unwanted squatter, Russell accuses. (Courtesy of Heidi Russell)

This time, however, much to Russell’s chagrin, despite securing a deportation warrant against Gladstone, a judge recently ordered that Gladstone be allowed to stay in the Barrow Street apartment. The reason was the pandemic moratorium on residential evictions, which was recently extended until at least October 1.

On top of that, Russell discovered Gladstone had a rap sheet, including on counterfeiting and robbery charges relating to the theft of an ex-girlfriend’s credit cards to pay for hotel rooms. .

The intrusive roommate also has a 12-year-old daughter, who attends 75 Morton St. College, which is said to be another reason the woman refuses to budge.

Russell filed several harassment complaints against Gladstone at the Sixth Police Station. Among them, she said, the squatter sprayed her with liquids, including bleach.

Village district chief Arthur Schwartz said he has been in contact with Russell in recent months, following the postponement of Gladstone’s eviction due to the pandemic.

“I have received calls from the victim almost every day since April 1 ”, he declared. “Gladstone does Airbnb, rent for a month, take years to leave.

Schwartz said Gladstone’s ex-girlfriend – in addition to having her credit cards stolen by the chiseller – ended up paying Gladstone $ 20,000 to get her out of her apartment in Christopher St.

Likewise, although Gladstone was due to be evicted from the Barrow St. home on March 31, she still had the nerve to demand $ 24,000 to leave, according to Schwartz.

Gladstone could not immediately be reached for comment.

The uncomfortable situation forced Russell – and her disabled dog, which she rolls in a stroller – to spend as much time as possible outside her apartment.

She sent the Sun Village photos recently taken on her tours outside her home, writing, “This is a sample of my day away from the apartment. After sleeping, I was working in my bedroom on my laptop. Then I go out from the afternoon until late at night. I eat, wash and use the bathroom in our laundry room across the street.

Heidi Russell rolls her disabled dog in a baby stroller through the streets of West Village as they flee from an unwanted squatter in their home that is making their life hell, Russell says. (Courtesy of Heidi Russell)

In her June letter to Cuomo, Russell noted that she and her partner – who is currently “stuck in Kiev” – had to spend over $ 40,000, which they had to borrow, to secure the deportation warrant. against Gladstone in January. As part of the mandate, Gladstone had signed an agreement to leave by March 31 – but the pandemic then struck.

Russell wrote to Cuomo after being informed by the Marshal’s office that only the governor or mayor could lift the moratorium on evictions. She pointed out to the governor that her long-standing affair with Gladstone is in fact “pre-pandemic”, so should be an exception to the ban on deportation.

“How can you protect New York single-family homeowners who fall victim to a serial con artist who uses strict tenant-friendly laws to repeatedly steal homes and intimidate landlords while living in the home with the owner ? Russell wrote Cuomo. “There were these daring con artists before the pandemic, and now they are taking advantage of the eviction moratoria to continue to steal homes and terrorize homeowners.

Posters warning Kate Gladstone recently hung throughout the West Village. (Photo by Arthur Schwartz)

“We want our home, our life, our safety and our safety back, but she will continue to another victim,” Russell warned, continuing in his letter to Cuomo. “My partner is afraid to come home (she’s stuck in Kiev handling the affairs of her deceased mother even before the pandemic hits); we are in debt, I lost my job; we have a lender threatening foreclosure, so we need to be able to fix the apartment to show, which the scammer is preventing us; we are now seven months behind our interview because we lost our second bedroom income for 11 months; and the crook terrorizes me with chemical sprays and incense, my dog ​​and I are sensitive (which she knows); she uses her daughter as bullying, and she stalks me in my own house by spraying me, blocking me access to my living room, kitchen and bathroom, for fear that her daughter will accuse me of harming her. wrong. I have to use the bathroom in our cooperative laundry room; I have to plug the cracks in my bedroom door so that chemicals don’t get in. I have thousands of photos and hundreds of audio recordings that I had to take to protect myself from the false allegations she uses as intimidation.

“We want to help prevent future victims from being terrorized and financially ruined in the village and beyond,” Russell said.

She concluded by asking Cuomo to help Gladstone and her daughter in permanent accommodation, for their own well-being.

In response to his letter to the governor, Russell received a response from Dana Ferine, spokesperson for the state’s Homes and Community Renewal agency.

Ferine wrote, in part, “The Safe Harbor Act for Tenants, passed by the NYS Legislature and signed by Governor Cuomo, prevents evictions of New Yorkers who have suffered financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 for non-payment of rent accrued from March 7 until all government restrictions related to the pandemic are lifted in a given county. “

In the meantime, Russell hopes politicians and judges will “see the light” and authorize the execution of deportation warrants granted before the pandemic no later than October 1.

She is also considering holding a protest outside her apartment to focus more on the issue.

“This is the only way to put enough pressure on this serial criminal to move on,” Russell told The Village Sun. “It would also help raise awareness in the city about its scams and how scammers are taking advantage of the pandemic, as well as horrific tenant protections that are too extensive that are hurting landlords.” It’s a huge story with many fronts.

Russell has also worked to find and encourage more Gladstone squatting victims to come forward, with the goal of filing a complaint with Manhattan District Cy Vance on possible charges of intent to first degree fraud.

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