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Veterans Aid Organization In Eviction Fight With Landlord Over Bedbugs

Bedbugs (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Bedbugs (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Creepy, crawly critters have wreaked havoc on the Manhattan offices of a non-profit group that aims to help veterans with employment.

If you walk into 152 Madison Avenue, the offices for “Veterans Across America” are listed on the 20th floor.

Well, not exactly. The floor is empty.

VAA has been forced to the 21st floor. Tina Belvedere, who works for the non-profit, said she and others were driven out by bedbugs.

1010 WINS’ Al Jones Reports

“I never thought about them earlier and now, it’s like almost an everyday,” Belvedere told 1010 WINS’ Al Jones.

VAA board member Kenneth Roldan said the bedbugs have driven away volunteers and vets.

“[It] has resulted in us to be constructively evicted from us being help the vets,” Roldan said.

The landlord has tried to get rid of the bedbugs, but Belvedere said the critters are still present.

“Get off of work, go home tired. I have to take off my clothes outside, I’ve got to put it in the dryer and it’s an every day, every night procedure and it takes a lot out of me,” Toyann McPhoy said.

Complicating matters, landlords are not responsible for bedbugs in commercial buildings. VAA, however, hopes to change that in court.

The group claims that back in September, the landlord was informed of the problem. An assistant superintendent told the group he would remedy the situation by buying and spraying chemicals on furniture on the 20th floor.

However, the group said a bedbug expert who visited the area, found bedbug larvae had “literally encrusted the bottom of our chairs,” according to a news release from the organization, which also said the spraying did not work.

The group has stopped paying rent due to the bedbugs.

The landlord, meanwhile, has moved to evict the them.

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