New York landlord becomes legal guardian of 93-year-old Holocaust survivor: ‘She had no one else’
After saving her life the previous year, Brock Cvijanovich, the owner of a property management firm in New York, took on the unusual role of guardian for a 93-year-old Holocaust survivor.
Nobody, not even Cvijanovich, had anticipated this turn of events.
Cvijanovich, the CEO of KOmanage and KORgroup, agreed to purchase one of his first apartment complexes in Binghamton, upstate New York, in September 2021.
But, the agreement had a peculiar stipulation. He had Alice Schuman, a 93-year-old resident of the building, to care for.
In an interview with Fox News Digital, Cvijanovich said that a competitor had outbid him by offering $100,000 more for the property.
The previous owner, however, assured Cvijanovich that he would knock $50,000 off the asking price, provided that Cvijanovich complied with a certain condition.
“He took a $50,000 haircut to make sure this woman is being taken care of,” he said.
Cvijanovich feigned ignorance of what this entailed but gladly concurred.
He eventually discovered that Schuman had been escorted once a month to the bank, her doctor, and the grocery store by the former property owner who was looking to retire.
Also, he was significantly undercharging her for rent.
While the same apartments in the same building were renting for roughly $2,000, he was only charging her about $200 per month.
According to Cvijanovich, Schuman had lived there for more than 60 years and the previous owner never had the heart to raise her rent.
So he did not either.
Every month, on the first, Cvijanovich drove Schuman to all of her errands for the same $200 monthly fee.
He remembered that it proceeded as planned. Around nine in the morning on the first of the month, Schuman would knock on his door carrying her rent check, and he would transport her wherever she wanted to go.
“She literally had nobody else,” he said. “That was a lot of the reason that it went the way that it did.”
And as their friendship deepened, Cvijanovich eventually learned that Schuman had survived the Holocaust and had fled Germany after the death camps had been liberated in order to seek asylum in the United States.
Cvijanovich never learned more about her past, but he did learn that her sister and parents died in the camps.
After a few months of their agreement, Cvijanovich awoke on the first of the month to find no one at his door.
A day later, he heard faint cries for help coming from inside her apartment as he was passing by the door. He kicked down the door and dialled 911.
Medical staff at the hospital determined Schuman was unable to care for herself.
He added that she will be placed in the care of the state because she had no living family members or acquaintances.
Nurse by profession, Cvijanovich’s mother warned him that Schuman wouldn’t be treated well if that occurred. To be able to make medical decisions for her, he hired a lawyer and was named as her legal guardian alongside his mother.
At first, it was hard for Schuman “to believe that we genuinely didn’t want anything from her,” Cvijanovich said.
She started to trust them, he recalled, when Cvijanovich and his family resumed visiting her at the hospital and later at the nursing home where she was moved.
In the hopes that she would be able to go home, he even left her flat unoccupied for nine months while she was in the hospital.
The simplest way to sum up his connection with Schuman, according to Cvijanovich, was “goofy.”
Schuman, though, passed away from pneumonia in January.
He claimed that his mother and Cvijanovich were standing on her side, holding her hands.