Staten Island Mom At Odds With Neighborhood Over Wheelchair Lift For Daughter

Maria Stasinski Says It's A Case Of NIMBY In Her Front Yard

NEW YORK (CBS 2) — It’s a heartbreaking battle involving a 4-year-old girl with cerebral palsy and her right to a wheelchair lift.

A Staten Island condo board isn’t allowing a front-door lift. The homeowner is calling it discrimination, reports CBS 2’s Emily Smith.

Giuliana relies mainly on two things — her wheelchair and her mom.

Maria Stasinski does the heavy lifting about six times a day and wants to install a $5,000 lift that was donated to her. She’d like it to go along the side of her front entrance.

“The lift is gonna go behind the bush where it’s not even visible to anyone,” she said.

But the condo board at the Richard Mews Complex in the Bullshead neighborhood won’t allow a lift at this point. Approval has only been given for Stasinski’s backyard entrance.

The Americans with Disabilities Act says as long as there is a ramp allowed it’s ok, but the family said it is more of a side entrance than a back entrance and it’s too difficult.

Neighbors, who were reluctant to go on camera, told Smith the condo unit’s attorney needs to know more about how the device will work, since it’s not just a ramp, but an actual lift. And that’s not their only concern.

“It’s not a vanity thing. It’s a safety thing,” one neighbor said.

Stasinski said she thinks it’s both discrimination and neighbors not wanting to ruin the uniform look of their development.

“With a 20-percent chance of survival, I begged her. If she survives I’d be her legs until she is able to walk and her voice until she is able to speak,” Stasinski said.

All the while taking the hard road until she gets her.

Stasinski said if she has to file a discrimination lawsuit she will. Smith called the attorney representing the complex, but did not get a response.

Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.

More from Emily Smith
  • LuLu

    Ok children, starting to get really annoyed with all the $14 an hour workers and wanna be lawyers putting in there opinions that have no idea what they are talking about when it comes to HOA terms, our county’s “rights and movements”, building issues and Disablity acts, when half of you people have nothing to do with nor have the knowledge to even make a remark about this matter. Now to silence all the dried up old ladies and washed up limp hags that either live in the condo or just have nothing better to do all day then to sit on the computer and try to get involve with something that doesn’t concern them at all( did your mommy not hug you when you were little, grow up, no need to get wild over a discussion box on Fox news lol) …welcome to america and 2011 J.O’s its a wheelchair lift, not a group of chained pitbulls or an opened box of ak-47’s…i’m sure everyone will be able to breathe oxygen and be capable to somehow, someway live after it is installed. I’ve been to that condo and it is in no way near the sidewalk that people walk on or in obstruction of ANYBODY in that condos safety or well being. worried about gettin hurt? then dont go playing behind the bush of their home. Is it unsightly, you can’t stand to look at it? look the otherway, it has nothing to do with you anyhow, its a lift not a dead rotting body. Ok so the board has a problem with keeping a uniformed look at the condo’s development? Way to word it genius…shes not painting her house violet, she’s putting in a lift for a disabled child who is unable to walk up stairs. you sound very moronic and your so called arguement would never hold up in court! c’mon was that the best excuse you had? But wait, the board said she could just put it in the backside….how about the board and all of you other opinionated people can put it in YOUR backside…Put the lift in, and let them try to stir up some sort of lame-ass excuse for you to take it out.. i DOUBT they’ll win L.Mack SI NY ;)

  • tony

    Sad but what’s wrong with people wanting to keep a place exactly as they purchased it? In these days were everyone feels they have their “rights”
    some owners would paint their unit purple, while another would have 15 cats etc.. Why do you think these covenants were created. Better to find a friendly community were your daughter wouldn’t grow up with the animosity fo those who are following the covenants.

    • nicole

      I know the family very well Giuliana goes to school with my Son who also has special needs .. the lift would be put on the side of the steps behinds a large bush . we are not talking about a building where there is many families living in one unit.. this is a house they own. I think it is so sad that people care more about the appearance then the safety of a child…the back is unsafe for Giuliana .nor have they approved the backyard. they told her that they would think about allowing her to put the lift in the yard. I spoke to Mrs Stasinski yesterday she is fighting for her child just like anyone who is a parent would do. this has nothing to do with 5 min’s of Fame… she is a mother who loves her child and wants the best for her.. I know I would do anything for my son. it is a shame that it had to come to this .. people can be so heartless.. if this was their child I am sure they would change their rule… I think Mrs . Stasinski is doing her job as a parent …God Bless you always.. Nicole

      • Rodin

        I’ll say it 1.000 times if need be. People seduced by co-op board entitlements are a special breed…

        STRAIGHT OUT OF HELL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Rodin

      You don’t have a clue of what you’re talking about or you’re part of the set.

      We’re talking about an apartment in a building. If I want to paint my kitchen purple, my bedroom chartreuse, my bathroom orange and my dining room canary yellow, whose business is it?

      By law all buildings have to be handicapped “accessible”. So too by humane standards. This family was vetted before buying. The co-op board knew their requirements ahead of time. Had they been rejected because of the girl’s handicap, it would have been discriminatory. So is to not accommodate her after the fact.

      It’s not up to the family to endure bias and mistreatment or “find a friendly community were your daughter wouldn’t grow up with the animosity.”

      Like I said below, we DID move out rather than “live in the Snake pit.” We’re fortunate. Not everyone has that option. When our apartment sells, hopefully within weeks 9we have an excellent buyer lined up), and the board has no hold over us, we’ll see who has the upper hand.

      Heah come da judge!

    • shawn

      people should have the right to live in and modify their house for disabilities as needed. this is clearly against the moral code and you think the covenants should be upheld? the covenants cannot discriminate. the little girl should be able to go in and out without her mother risking injury.

  • Tom

    The whole reason I didn’t buy a house in a association. That is what it is called here in Minnesota. I was looking at a house in a neighborhood and was told I could only plant these kind of trees, put up this kind of fence, have a house color they picked and then I would have to pay them to tell me what to do. No frickin way. I understand that isn’t possible everywhere but if you don’t want to be told what to do or how to do it or when, don’t buy a house in a co-op or association.

  • Cribblyd

    CUte little girl. Keep on smiling little one. It will all work out for you…!

  • Richard Allen

    The only way out is to STOP paying the mortgage and co op fees….l

    Tell the bank you need the mortgage money to pay a lawyer, and let them drag this out

    Maybe a Year of free rent before the sherriff comes to you door with orders to eveict.

    the courts are clogged with foreclosures use it to your advantage.

  • Leonard Copp

    THIS is why we need the co-op ombudsman bill passed into law — so that people like this have someone to turn to other than an expensive, often unaffordable lawyer when typical boards act like this. There are cases of boards bashing the disabled like this all over the country.

    Because of something called the Business Judgment Rule — usually reserved for professionally run corporations, with regulatory and other oversight — co-op boards have, in the words of one judge, “virtually unfettered power” … even though they’re run by volunteer amateurs who often abuse that power. That’s insane! It needs to change.

    • Rodin

      I’m with you!

      I would totally appreciate more info on this ” co-op ombudsman bill”. Can you please provide a source?


  • $$

    another excuse to sue.

    • Rodin


      I broke a hip in 2005, was on crutches for a year, had hip replacement in 2006, and our “co-op” board wouldn’t provide as much as a ramp to provide access until threatened with a lawsuit under HUD and the Fair Housing Act. Ditto on their attacks on our certified Service Dog.

      We didn’t sue. We left. To bad. But they had the power to halt any future attempt to sell and we didn’t want to continue living in the snake pit.

      They are craven, arrogant, power hungry megalomaniacs who serve only themselves while they lord over their neighbours.

      Tell me about co-op boards!

      • Rodin

        PS –

        You a member of one? I bet!

        …or just ignorant about the power these creeps hold over the “stockholders”?

  • Rodin

    “Co-op boards are about controlling their environments….”
    Founder of It’s a Dog’s Life, a training service

    Actually, Co-op/Condo boards are about nothing but themselves and their ‘fiefs’; petty, power-mongreling autocrats with empty lives and nothing better to do than meddle in other people’s lives.

    “Co-op board is an oxymoron.”

  • jimbo hector

    they should get syphilis and die the sob’s

  • iggy

    nazi-republicans. what else could be the reason?

    • Fed Up With Idiots

      you are a PUTZ

      • iggy

        well who else is high and mighty and cares not a wit about anyone else but nazi-republicans?

      • Rodin

        Stay on topic, both of you. Are you that obsessed? “Paranoia will destroy’a!” You’d be perfect fit in any co-op board.

    • Starbuck

      Ya think maybe self-righteous dems? The same people who are bankrupting this country.

  • only on SI

    So glad I dont live on the Island of staten anymore. Lots of white trash.

    • salvenuto

      thats right on both points white and trash, may those heartless SOB’s rot painfully and slowly like the garbage there.

    • Rodin

      You wished. It’s endemic. Co-op boards are a nasty breed apart. I’m glad I don’t live in NYC anymore.

      • whites are not only racist in world

        Sounds like no one will miss any of you racist pigs!!!

      • Rodin

        As if this was a race issue.

        You another ‘board’ member, as in ‘don’i-have-anything-better-to-do-but-throw-my-weight-around? Who else would defend these cretins?

        I sure as hell don’t miss the can’t-mind-their-own-business, we-are=the=law board of bigots and bullies, no matter what their race.

        Crawl back under the rock you came out of.

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