Upland couple Marcella and Ralph Bracamonte were caught in what they described Thursday as a “nightmare.”
The Bracamontes fired their live-in nanny three weeks ago, but said the woman was refusing to leave and even threatened the couple with legal action.
“She said, ‘if you want me to go, you’ll need to evict me. I have rights,’” Marcella Bracamonte said.
In March, Marcella Bracamonte placed an ad on Craigslist looking for a retiree to watch her three children — two boys, ages 11 and 4, and a 16-month-old girl — and help around the house in exchange for room and board.
Diane Stretton, 64, accepted the job after the Bracamontes conducted a background check and checked her references. The couple said Stretton was amazing, at least at first.
“She completely reverted after a couple weeks into someone who didn’t want to do anything and that only came out when it was time to eat,” Ralph Bracamente said, adding that Stretton claimed she suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a breathing condition.
After asking Stretton repeatedly to help out around the house, Marcella Bracamonte said she gave her a last-chance letter, asking her to either live up to her part of the agreement or leave.
Stretton allegedly responded again by threatening legal action.
“If we’re to lock her out of our house she could sue us, if we’re to grab her stuff and throw it out of our house she can sue us,” Ralph Bracamente said.
The Bracamontes said they tried everything to get the unwanted nanny to leave, even turning off the cable and internet and locking the refrigerator at night.
But that only made things worse, the couple said.
Instead of leaving, the couple said Stretton is threatening to sue them for breach of contract, wrongful termination and false imprisonment.
When the Bracamontes contacted police, according to the couple, authorities said that law-enforcement officials could not get involved because Stretton had established residency in the home and the dispute was a civil matter.
“We own this house. We own it. Our names are on the title, not hers, and we can’t make her leave,” said Marcella Bracamonte. “I want everybody to know that you have no rights in your home. How is this legal? How is this America? How is this the land of the free?”
The couple claimed they recently discovered that the former employee had been involved in 37 lawsuits and had even sued several of her own family members.
Stretton has declined to comment on the matter. She approached the Upland home in a vehicle on Thursday evening but drove away after seeing members of the media in front of the house.
KTLA’s John A. Moreno contributed to this report.
Correction: A previous version of this story misspelled Diane Stretton’s name. It’s been updated to reflect the correct spelling.