College Takes Ex-Nurse to Court in NYC Squatting Case

MANHATTAN (CN) – Ramping up a purge of alleged dormitory squatters, Hunter College claims in court that a 68-year-old retired nurse is nine years past due on her residence hall charges.

The trend of full-time Bellevue Hospital nurses living at Brookdale Residence Hall through a program run dates back to the 1960s, according to the April 13 complaint filed in Manhattan Supreme Court.

Represented by Eric Sherman of Pryor Cashman, Hunter says the program is long disbanded but that legacy agreements have allowed about 30 nurses to remain in the dorm as of 2017.

One of these nurses, according to the complaint, is Perla Magbaleta who switched from full-time work at Bellevue to volunteer status in 2014. Contending that Magbaleta is in violation of her occupancy agreement, Hunter says their agreement afforded her a spot in the dorm room so long as she remained employed.

Magbaleta rented month-to-month, but she started making inconsistent rent payments in 2009 and ignoring demand notices sent by the college, according to the complaint. The rent allegedly stopped altogether in 2014.

“To date, Magbaleta has racked up a staggering $56,000 in unpaid residence hall charges on account of her continued occupancy, all the while ignoring Hunter College’s service of additional demand notices,” the complaint states (emphasis in original).

Located on East 25th Street and First Avenue, Brookdale is about a 20-minute walk from Bellevue.

Hunter is part of the City University of New York system. The suit against Magbaleta comes about a month after Hunter brought an eviction action against a 30-something former student it said had been living illegally in Brookdale after she dropped out of school.

The New York Post reported in February that the school also sued a 67-year-old man who had once been part of the same Bellevue program as Magbaleta.

Sherman declined to comment, and representatives at Hunter College did not comment on the case. No contact information for Magbaleta or a lawyer representing her could be found in court documents.

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