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Live-in Nanny Won't Work or Leave
UPLAND, Calif. -- A family is stumped about what to do with a live-in nanny they say refuses to work, refuses to be fired and refuses to leave.
In fact, Marcella Bracamonte claims that the nanny, Diane Stretton, has threatened to sue the family for wrongful firing and elder abuse.
Marcella and Ralph Bracamonte of Upland, California, say they hired Stretton, 64, as a live-in nanny on March 4 to help with their three children, ages 11, 4, and 1. According to the couple, the terms of Stretton's employment were that Stretton was to nanny for the family and help around the house in exchange for room and board.
"We've done it before and have never had a problem," Marcella Bracamonte told ABC News. "I was a stay-at-home mom and thought it would be good to have someone around to help out."
"The first few weeks she was awesome," Bracamonte said. "She would come places with us, help out the kids. She was really great."
Then things changed. "All of a sudden she stopped working, she would stay in her room all day and only come out when food was ready," said Bracamonte.
Stretton then told the couple she had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which prevented her from helping around the house. After what Bracamonte said was weeks of failed attempts to encourage Stretton to perform some of her agreed upon duties, the couple approached her on June 6 with a "last chance letter" reiterating the conditions of her job and stating the consequences if she continued to ignore her responsibilities.
Stretton, Bracamonte said, refused to sign the letter, saying that the job was too much for her and she would be leaving in 30 days. The Bracamontes approached her with a second letter putting her 30-day notice in writing, which, they said, she also refused to sign.
"When I asked her why she wouldn't sign the letter she said 'It's not legal,' and slammed the door in my face," Bracamonte recalled. "Once she said the word legal, I knew it wasn't going to be fun."
Bracamonte called the police, but the cops declined to do anything, saying it was a civil matter.
Lt. John Moore of the Upland Police Department confirmed to ABC News that there is no immediate action that can be taken against Stretton, saying "generally, once somebody has established residency, you have to go through a formal eviction process."
Bracamonte soon realized that this was not Stretton's first time with legal matters. Stretton reportedly has been involved in 36 lawsuits, landing herself on California's Vexatious Litigant Lists for repeatedly abusing the legal system.
"Anyone who looks at her crooked, she sues," said Bracamonte. She claims that Stretton is now threatening to sue for wrongful firing and elder abuse. Stretton is still living in the family's home, eating the family's food and Bracamonte said Stretton told her she wanted the family out of the house from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
"I'm not going to bend for her," said Bracamonte. "I'm in charge, this is my house. She's not going to scare me out of my own house." But Bracamonte fears for her three children staying in the house with Stretton, saying "I worry there's obviously something not right in her mind, and the police won't protect us until someone gets hurt."
"You don't know what you're opening yourself up to when you open your house to someone," said Bracamonte.
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