Nanny Imprisoned in Mansion Closet Six Years

From the files of, Now here’s a headline you don’t see every day: “Mansion servant enslaved by uber-rich New York family for nearly six years

YahooNews:

A wealthy New York woman is facing criminal charges after being accused of keeping an illegal immigrant as an indentured servant and forcing her to live in a closet for nearly six years.

Documents posted on the Smoking Gun allege that Annie George, 39, and her now-deceased husband, Mathai Kolath George, hired an illegal immigrant from the Indian state of Kerala. The immigrant, identified only as “V.M.,” was promised about $1,000 a month in wages to live in the family’s 34-room, 30,000-square-foot home, known as Llenroc mansion, which houses a helicopter pad, 15 fireplaces, marble flooring, 24-karat gold gilded ceilings and a glass elevator. V.M. was tasked with taking care of the Georges’ four young children, along with performing household duties in the mansion located about 20 miles north of Albany.

New York’s minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. Even if V.M. had been allowed to leave the residence at the end of a regular 40-hour workweek, she would have been entitled to a minimum, pretax income of $290 per week, or $1,160 per month.

Instead, the “forced labor situation” (as described in the court papers) was even worse than the already-below minimum wage offer of $1,000 month. V.M. received 85 cents an hour, working 17-hour days, seven days a week, over the 67 months she was kept inside the George residence.
All told, V.M. received only about $29,000 over the five and a half years she was forced to work for the George family.

Somehow, I’m thinking failure to pay minimum wage is not the main story here. Although, judging from the photo, I’m not sure where the hell V.M. would have gone during her off time. I’m guessing she didn’t have a car.

FILED UNDER: General
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. There was another case similar to this several years ago, also in New York. It resulted in a husband and wife being the first Americans to be criminally charger for violating the 13th Amendment and its enforcement statutes in more than a century.

  2. mkm says:

    I say her crime ought to be paid back with comparable service. Give the mansion to the victim and let Mrs. George live in the closet and work for the victim. Nothing less will make an impression.

  3. Franklin says:

    Somehow, I’m thinking failure to pay minimum wage is not the main story here.

    Heh, yeah. If only we’d get rid of that job-killing minimum wage crap, this incident would have never happened. Amirite?

  4. michael reynolds says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    “So, what are you in for? Grand theft? Assault and Battery? Murder?”

    “Slavery.”

    That’s going to go over so well in the pen.

  5. @michael reynolds:

    Well at least the child molesters will get a break for awhile

  6. Are you scared? says:

    Not too much different than what happens to small business owners in obama’s nanny state

  7. JohnMcC says:

    @Are you scared?: Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha!!! (That was humor, no?)

  8. Are you scared? says:

    @JohnMcC: it’s gallows humor

    Don’t get me wrong, I condem ms. George who is no doubt an Obama democrat

  9. Dave Schuler says:

    Don’t construe this as my condoning the actions of the couple in any way. I think they’re heinous. But the nanny could own the mansion when the dust has settled.

    Do the math. 5.5 years = 12 months X 5.5 = 66 months. 66 X $1,160 = $76,560. That’s the bare minimum. Now add pain and suffering and punitive damages. The settlement will be way up in the six figures, possibly in the millions. Ms. George will pay court costs, legal fees, presumably a high bail.

    The moral of the story is pay the damned minimum wage and don’t lock the nanny in the closet. It’s not worth it.

  10. Dave Schuler says:

    BTW, a quick check on the business these folks were in (they apparently owned and operated a half dozen hotels—extremely cool web site) makes me wonder if this is just the tip of the iceberg.

  11. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Dave Schuler:

    As I understand it, the hotel industry is one of the top causes of nonsexual human trafficking. I wouldn’t be surprised if you are correct.

  12. Tamara says:

    I would like to see Mrs. George in Jail and all the money to be paid to the servant. Mrs. George is a very cheap example of Immigrants who come here and though they became citizens and enjoyed the benefits and the freedom , they are filthy, dark and evil.
    Tamara A

  13. michael reynolds says:

    @Dave Schuler:

    The moral of the story is pay the damned minimum wage and don’t lock the nanny in the closet.

    That’s a very controversial stand, Dave.

  14. Dave Schuler says:

    @michael reynolds:

    You know me. Edgy.

  15. Liberty60 says:

    @Dave Schuler:

    Don’t construe this as my condoning the actions of the couple in any way. I think they’re heinous. But the nanny could own the mansion when the dust has settled

    BUT the nanny could own the mansion?
    BUT???

    The way you wrote this makes it sound as if that would be an unjust verdict.

  16. Liberty60 says:

    @Are you scared?:

    And don’t forget about the maid, who is no doubt a conservative Republican.

  17. John Burgess says:

    I don’t think the Republican Party exists–other than in the form of Republicans Abroad–in India. In Kerala. The Communist parties and the Indian National Congress take turns looting. As she’s going back to India, she can be assured that whatever her court award, most of it will be taken from her, unless she can buy a politician quickly.

  18. An Interested Party says:

    it’s gallows humor

    Really? It looks more like stupid, illogical “humor”…

  19. anjin-san says:

    I’m wondering how long it will take for Rush to get on the air and say she deserved it.

  20. Scott O. says:

    Nice place.

    There’s a history of the house there. Previous owner died in prison. Must be cursed.

  21. Gollum says:

    The estate is just a few miles from my house. The name “Llenroc” is “Cornell” spelled backwards, the latter being the alma mater of the fallen insurance magnate who built it. The estate sold to the Georges in late 2009 though, so if the nanny’s allegations of 5+ years of servitude are correct she must also have been living in a closet in some other place besides Llenroc.