An elderly woman who was evicted from her Watergate West apartment Tuesday morning spent the night and most of yesterday in the building's lobby.
Edith Berman, who said she is more than 80 years old, sat in the elegantly decorated lobby, still dressed in the pink pajamas, slippers and red bathrobe that she wore when U.S. marshals evicted her and placed her furniture and other belongings on the sidewalk in front of the co-op's entrance.
"We frankly don't know at this point what to do about it, but until we know, we're not doing anything," said Frederic Schwartz, attorney for the Watergate West and a resident there.
Schwartz said the co-op "will let her stay there [in the lobby] until we know what to do about it," and does not wish to ask the police to remove her.
Berman, a small woman, uses a cane and said she has an injured ankle.
She said she did not know where she would spend last night, but that she had paid a moving firm $500 to pick up and store her belongings, which she valued at about $15,000.
One neighbor said she had invited Berman to spend Tuesday night in her apartment, but that she declined.
The Watergate West claims that Berman owes about $2,000 in payments dating as far back as 1979, including $1,500 for air conditioning charges. Schwartz said that Berman owns the apartment and that it is worth about $100,000.
"I don't owe them anything because they don't have the walls fixed up like they do in other apartments," said Berman, who also said there have been problems with the functioning of the co-op's air conditioning.
Elizabeth Langer, an attorney representing Berman, said she had not determined what kind of legal action to take on Berman's behalf because she has not seen the documents related to the eviction.
Berman, who said she worked for the Department of Commerce during the 1940s and the American Red Cross during the Korean War, said that she has not called any relatives or friends for help. "What can they do for me?" she asked.
Schwartz said that as a result of news reports about Berman's eviction and the co-op's plan to sell Berman's apartment at auction, giving her most of the proceeds, "people have been calling to put themselves on the bidders' list."