Concetta Passione just turned 100 years old on Saturday. Now the New York City Housing Authority is trying to kick her out, saying she’s running a scam by living in Italy while her 73-year-old son occupies her $219 per month, one-bedroom apartment in a 49-year-old city housing project.
When it heard in 2009 that the elder Passione was spending most of each year in Italy, the city started investigating. After a lengthy probe, the city concluded that the Passione family ripped off the city to the tune of $9,849 over six years.
The Passiones say that’s baloney.
“All you have to do is come up to the 8th floor knock on the door and you’ll see her,” said her son Sebastian, who is accused of occupying the immaculate flat in his mother’s place.
Sebationan Passione says that he has been trying for the past decade to get his name put on the lease, but despite repeated requests, the city has never even responded to him.
He moved in to the apartment to care for his aging mother.
Sebastian says that his mother visits Italy for a few months every year, but spends the majority of her time in New York City, occupying the apartment where she has lived since the Rutgers House building opened in 1964.
The Passione family immigrated to the United States 10 years before that, living on New York’s Lower East Side the whole time. They were one of the first tenants in the then-new Rutgers House in October of 1964.
“I want to be here,” says Concetta, with Sebastian (both are pictured) translating her Italian. “I will never get used to any place else. I’m the first one to come here and now they want to throw me out? It’s not right. I’ve been here my whole life.”
Well, technically, since she was 51, but when you’re 100, who’s counting?
Her husband passed away in 1973.
SOURCES: New York Daily News, WPIX Channel 11