NEW YORK (JTA) — Comedian Elayne Boosler said a Brooklyn nursing home did not notify relatives of her 83-year-old cousin’s death and buried the remains in a Catholic cemetery rather than her Jewish family plot.
Boosler said that a relative had attempted to get in touch last month with Dorothea Buschell, who was staying at the Hamilton Park Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in the Bay Ridge neighborhood of Brooklyn.
After weeks of failed calls, the relative was allegedly told by the nursing home that Buschell had died, The City reported. Boosler said that she then found out where her cousin had been buried and that the nursing home was asking for $15,000 to cover the cost of the burial.
Boosler, a veteran stand-up, also has appeared on such TV comedies as “The Cosby Show” and “Crazy Ex Girlfriend,” and helped inspire the character of Elaine Benes on “Seinfeld.”
“That’s right folks, they buried my Jewish cousin … IN A CATHOLIC CEMETERY HOLDING A ROSARY,” Boosler wrote in a public Facebook post.
UPDATE on my cousin Signorina Dorothea Mezza Porzione. Peeps, are you sitting down? After 3 weeks of calling, assisted…
The confusion may have stemmed from the fact that in 2017, Buschell bought a funeral plan, which was signed by someone working for New York Guardianship Services, according to The City. But Boosler said that she had let the nursing home know of a family plot in a Jewish cemetery the following year.
A case manager at New York Guardianship Services told Boosler’s cousin Harriet Saltzman that the nursing home had “wrongfully informed us that Ms. Buschell had no family and neglected to inform us of her Jewish faith on the date of her death,” The City reported.
An attorney representing the company that owns the nursing home told The City that he could not comment on any resident due to “privacy reasons.”
Boosler said that she would hire an attorney if the funeral home did not cancel the bill and move her cousin to her family plot.