NEW YORK CITY — Two ex-caretakers of former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s brother, Walter Kissinger, recently filed an unpaid overtime lawsuit, alleging they worked for almost a decade without compensation while tending the Kissinger family estate in Huntington Bay, Long Island.
The multi-million dollar unpaid wage lawsuit hopes to recover compensation for their work as caretakers for the estate and family members staying on the property.
The plaintiffs claim Kissinger owes them a combined $3 million in unpaid wages and overtime for duties like groundskeeping, making repairs, hanging Christmas decorations, tending to the family dogs, performing personal assistance duties, and driving around members of the Kissinger family.
The couple took the job in 2007 in exchange for living rent-free in a guest house on the 4-acre estate, according to Kissinger’s attorney.
The defendant maintains the two plaintiffs were hired as contractors to tend to the estate and given accommodations accordingly. However, the plaintiffs maintain they were not paid for the vast majority of this work and only received some wages in December 2012 and June 2014 when they acted as home care assistants to a member of the Kissinger family.
In response, Kissinger filed a counterclaim. Alleging the couple actually caused significant damage to the guest home they stayed in, making it difficult to sell the estate. Kissinger claims the couple refused access to the guest house while realtors showed the property to prospective buyers.
The plaintiffs, on the other hand, maintain the home they stayed in was in a dilapidated condition to begin with. Their suit alleges the building’s plumbing was prone to malfunction and the structure was prone to mold infestations.
The claim alleges the two plaintiffs were improperly classified as independent contractors since they exercised little, if any, control over their own work as the duties expected of them were “unpredictable” and afforded them little personal time. The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of New York
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