A Tony award-winning producer defamed and then fired her longtime housekeeper after she’d found bedbugs in her fancy Upper West Side digs, a new lawsuit alleges.
Lawyers for Maria Patel, of Queens, say in court papers filed in Manhattan Supreme Court that Barbara Manocherian, producer of the play “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” blamed Patel for the bugs because she wanted to “deflect the blame and humiliation” of bringing the creepy crawlies into her luxury condo at 135 Central Park West.
By spreading that falsehood, Manocherian made Patel unemployable when she abruptly fired the housekeeper this past August, Patel’s lawyer Marc Rapaport says in the lawsuit.
The papers say that for most of Patel’s 22-year tenure in the Manocherian household, she cared for the producer’s son, working 80-hour weeks with no overtime pay.
For the past six years, she had worked 62-hour weeks taking care of Manocherian’s pampered pooch, a Wheaten Terrier named Sandy, the suit says.
The papers say Manocherian required Patel to skin and boil kosher chicken breasts for the dog, mix the meat with wheat grass grown in the apartment, give the dog its medicine, keep track of how much it pooped each day and write all of this down daily on a complex chart worthy of a hospital’s intensive care unit.
Rapaport says Patel accepted the long hours with no extra overtime pay because Manocherian promised repeatedly that she would make sure Patel got her flat $1,000-a-week salary for the rest of her life and would remember Patel in her will.
Instead, she was fired with no severance.
Patel is demanding compensation and punitive damages.
Manocherian reached on her cellphone declined to comment.