She may often be the voice of reason on The View, but according to a former tenant Whoopi Goldberg is a nightmare to rent from, Star magazine is exclusively reporting.
A former tenant of the talk show host has described her as a landlord from hell after she was evicted from the home she lived in for 40 years because she fell behind on property taxes.
Suzanne Lindsay, 64, had been living in her West Orange, New Jersey, carriage house for four decades when Whoopi bought the property in 2009.
"I found myself a single mom after having three children," Suzanne, who had lost both her daughters and taken over custody of her grandson, exclusively told Star. "I was working, but I couldn't keep up because of all the tragedy."
Suzanne desperately reached out to her famous landlord. "I told her I had lost my children, and she sat there in front of the fire with me, holding my hand, and listened," she revealed.
Despite the emotional connection, the troubled tenant was forced to begin the legal process to declare bankruptcy in 2010.
Whoopi, who the court papers say was owed just $13,455 in back taxes, contested the financial plan Suzanne presented to bankruptcy court and sought to have her evicted. "It wasn't the bank [who forced me out]," she says. "They did nothing."
Suzanne claims that The View host was the driving force behind the eviction. "She is a merciless, cruel woman," she told Star.
Unable to agree on a plan, and with eviction looming, she gave in when Whoopi's lawyers offered to pay $10,000 toward her moving costs if she forfeited the 33 years left on the 99-year lease on the home.
Broke and knowing she would be kicked out regardless, Suzanne signed the papers on Oct. 11, only to find she had to be out by the end of the week.
"You have to be a very wealthy person to go up against her, and I didn't have any money."
Whoopi's former tenant went on to tell Star how much the incident has affected her and grandchild, Ty.
"I was devastated," Suzanne remembered. "I was crying, my grandson was crying. We had to pack up so fast; he had to leave his jungle gym, which he got for his birthday.
"He was very, very upset. It was awful."
While Suzanne said she didn't expect Whoopi to pay the taxes for her, "She could have bought my house when I suggested that as a plan. Three times I had conversations with her about my house, and she never made an offer."
When asked for comment from Star, Whoopi told a very different story though, which Star reprinted in full:
"After I bought my house, which came with a separate lease property, the tenant tried to sell her lease to me. I made her an offer based on the advice of the real estate broker who sold me my house.
"The tenant refused — she wanted more and we left it at that. About a year later, she filed for bankruptcy in Wyoming, where apparently she had been living. My former tenant owed the bank that held the mortgage on the leased property over $350,000 and was in default on her mortgage as well as her rent. I learned of the bankruptcy when I received a notice from the court and participated in the proceeding to protect my interest in the leased house.
"I believe that in her bankruptcy she told the court that since Whoopi Goldberg owned the house and could afford it she, the tenant, should be able to stay there. The bankruptcy court disagreed and gave her time to prove she could sell her lease or fix the problem she put HER SELF in by coming up with a realistic plan, and she didn't.
"After almost a year after she filed for bankruptcy it seems that she did not receive any offers, much less an offer for anything like the $500,000 she claims it was worth. It appears that she was completely unrealistic about the value of the property. In the meantime, instead of paying the rent, or what she owed the bank she allowed other people to stay in the house — perhaps she may have been subletting while she was in Wyoming.
"In short, she turned down my offers to buy her lease and basically tried what she could to stay in the house for as long as possible without paying what she owed. I work hard every day for a living and don't mind helping my family or others but I do mind being taken advantage of. She lost the house because she did not keep her end of her lease or her loan from the bank, not because of me.
"After the court rejected her plan and told her, me, and the bank that we could sue her she told me through her sister that she was ready to move and asked me to give her a little time and $5,000 to help her move.
"Even after all was said and done, and I could have sued to have her evicted and recover the back rent, I gave her time and $10,000 to help her move the rest of her belongings and forgave the back rent she owed me. She, in turn, signed a lease termination agreement. Instead of accepting responsibility for her actions she seems to want me to take responsibility for the situation she got herself into."
The full story is in the new issue of Star magazine, on newsstands Wednesday.
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