Tag Archives: locked out

Trio accused of breaking into Jamaica Estates home, locking out homeowner

| ctumola@queenscourier.com


Three men who allegedly broke into a Jamaica Estates residence and locked the homeowner out until the deed to the house was transferred to them could now be locked behind bars for years.

Brandon Sestoso, 33, his brother Chas Sestoso, 31, both of Hicksville, Long Island, and Jesse Kusinow, 32, of Howell, N.J., are accused of the crime, which District Attorney Richard Brown called a “truly bizarre case.”

According to the charges, after leaving her Grand Central Parkway home on the morning of April 29, the homeowner’s wife came back that evening to find that the locks had been changed and the three men were inside. They allegedly told her that they were working with the bank that held the mortgage on the property and that she could not gain access to her house until she signed documents regarding the property.

When she told them that her husband was the property owner and was in China, they had her call him, prosecutors said. The home invaders then told the husband about the documents he needed to sign, which included a deed transfer for the property, and emailed them to him. Though the husband allegedly signed and emailed back several of these documents, he did not sign the deed transfer, and continued to receive requests to do so.

The next day, the three gave the wife 10 minutes to retrieve belongings from the first floor of the home, according to the district attorney, at which time she noticed that it had been ransacked.

On May 12, the homeowner returned to the house and removed all the locks. Once inside, he found that the house was in disorder with missing property that included jewelry, knives, cash, and the deed and documents related to the ownership of his home.

Brandon Sestoso is currently awaiting arraignment on charges of second-degree burglary, third-degree criminal mischief, unlawful eviction and second-degree criminal trespass. Kusinow was arraigned on June 10 on charges of second-degree burglary, third-degree grand larceny, third-degree criminal mischief, unlawful eviction and second-degree criminal trespass, and has been held in jail in lieu of $75,000 bail since that time. Chas Sestoso was arraigned on May 26 on charges of second-degree burglary, third-degree criminal mischief, unlawful eviction and second-degree criminal trespass. He was released on $10,000 bail.

All three face up to 15 years in prison if convicted.


As talks continue, locked out Con Ed workers worried about families, future

| aaltman@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/photo by Alexa Altman

Maurice camped outside the College Point Con Ed facility, withstanding the blistering midsummer heat not just for himself and his fellow locked-out workers, but for his four-year-old daughter.

The little girl, born with an intestinal atresia, was denied medical coverage when her parents took her to the doctor to receive treatment for her condition on July 2 – the day the lockout began and health benefits for employees and their families were cut off. According to Maurice, a pharmacy refused to hand over the girl’s medicine, which she takes daily along with IV fluids.

The girl’s insurance is suspended until a letter, supplied by Con Ed, is presented to her doctor. According to Maurice, who chose not to give his last name, Con Ed estimated it will take at least 16 days for them to hand over the document.

“We’re going through enough with the lockout,” said Maurice. “My main concern is my baby. We don’t need this.”

Sporting sunburns and looks of distaste, Maurice and 200 other Con Ed employees stationed themselves outside the northern Queens facility, protesting the utility giant’s decision to remove them from their jobs.

“It hurts,” said Joe Mussillo, who has worked for Con Ed for over 35 years. “We put in our all and we maintain the city.”

The union safety department worker, who joined the company when he was 18 years old, lamented the lockout, leaving thousands to stress over mortgages and medical bills. He feared for the security of workers’ jobs and the families who rely on them.

“All we want is a fair contract,” said Mussillo. “It’s what we’ve wanted from the beginning.”

Bill Schutt, a Vietnam War veteran who has spent 44 years working for Con Ed, believed his job was a “cradle to grave” occupation. Several years away from retirement, Schutt claims the company’s agenda is to “buy, sell and break the union.”

“This is the respect they show the people,” he bellowed. “They don’t like us. They don’t have respect for us.”

Turning to the group of picketers behind him, Schutt asked who wanted to go back to work.

Each of their hands shot up.

Con Ed officials and union representatives returned to the bargaining table at noon on Tuesday, July 10. According to Local 1-2 spokesperson John Melia, Con Ed responded with an undisclosed offer and union representatives are reviewing their proposal.

“If things progress, they’ll stay there around the clock,” said Melia. “There’s no time limit when you’re in the middle of these things. It really depends on the progress made.”

As of press time, Con Ed representatives would not say anything other than the talks had resumed.