Prominent Family With Roots Dating To 1644 Accused Of Indentured Servitude

SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — She was berated and tricked into a life of submission. That’s what a housekeeper from Indonesia claims in a shocking lawsuit against a prominent family from the Hamptons.

She claims she was kept as a slave, slept in a closet and is owed thousands in wages, CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan reported.

Their street bears the family name. The Halseys are synonymous with the Hamptons. They arrived here from England in 1644 and quickly became farmers, diplomats, even war heroes.

One branch of the family lives in privacy in Water Mill. And, according to claims in a lawsuit, it was there where the former housekeeper was “treated as a slave.”

“These are arrogant people who did not care. They had someone who was going to slave for them, clean for them, cook for them,” attorney Paul Millus said.

Ni Ketut Sulastri of Bali is suing Lawrence and Rose Halsey for allegedly forcing her into a life of drudgery, which included brutal hours and paltry pay.

In federal court papers Sulastri said she was nothing more than an “indentured servant” working 15 hour days for $350 a month, living in a closet and fed leftovers.

According to the lawsuit, when she complained the Halseys allegedly said, “nothing is free in America.”

Halsey relatives called the lawsuit deceitful.

“The little closet that she referred to happened to be my father’s bedroom when he grew up,” said Johanna Halsey, a sister of the accused.

The Halseys said Sulastri was a part of the family from 2005 to 2008.

“She could have called the police when she was here if there was a problem. She would sometimes come to Thanksgiving dinner, or Easter dinner with us. [She] never broke down crying, freaking out. This is all after the fact,” said Steve Stoich, a brother-in-law of the accused.

Sulastri likened her situation to the Sabhnanis, who are now in the slammer for enslaving a pair of Indonesian women inside their Muttontown home.

The Halsey family, however, called the comparison outrageous.

Sulastri said she finally broke away when she realized promises of citizenship and a fair salary would never come to her.

Rose Halsey is in Indonesia. Larry Halsey was told by an attorney not to comment on the allegations at this time.

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