I just want to thank you all for your kind words. The lady in question left the day before I wrote the original post. I've been dealing with her for about a month and half I guess. I'm guessing you all know by now I was totally freaking out
I have to say the entire situation was very traumatic. The day after this post I could not deal with one more thing, not a tenant, not an owner, nothing.
The advice to wait was very good, because although I was freaking out and mad at the owner of the building, his comment was just the straw that broke the camels back. Yes his comment was not nice but lets face it we were all under a tremendous amount of stress.
I knew she was some kind of crazy (in absence of a formal diagnosis) but I had no idea how crazy. I'm sure with the fantastic clarity of 20/20 hindsight I could have done things differently in the hopes of ending up with a better outcome for myself but for some reason she had focused most of her hostility towards me. (Maybe because I'm so charming)
Actually now that I look back from the day I had the meeting with the owners I was actually terrified, because all the information and pieces of the puzzle came together that she was really deranged. From that point onwards I was completely shut down emotionally and dealing with what I considered a serious crisis. Kind of like waking up to find a rattlesnake in the middle of your business meeting. You don't really know what is going to happen.
All things considered we got off really lightly. I have a lawyer to deal with my legal troubles but I'm fairly certain that nothing will come of it. I do have a clause in my contract and all property managers do that the owner is responsible for my legal bills in regards to situations like this. I have been sued by tenants before.
I have to confess that since I have been managing properties, I had this idea that a building would be the perfect setting for an insane sitcom. Most of the people who work in buildings develop this bizarre gallows humour because we are constantly dealing with strange people. Like we have one lady in this building who goes on the second floor and unscrews all the lightbulbs. Every day we have to go back and screw them back in.
This would make a hell of an episode.
So after she left (taking the new super's air conditioner) with her, I was able to finally feel everything, like how fundamentally horrible it was. From the beginning I was doing damage control, making sure the building was locked down, then getting staff members in, then making sure they were ok, making sure they were always in pairs as much as possible, then taking care of my husband and son. They were both there and had to wait for 2 hours at the station. My son was completely messed up for about a week.
I was not really taking good care of myself. If you had asked me before I got all mad how I was coping, I would have said just fine. Unfortunately that just wasn't true, I wasn't sleeping properly for almost a month.
I'm not really sure what kind of advice I would give someone in a similar situation, except plan that after all the crap is over you're going to need a few days to be completely out of your tree, without any demands on you to kind of decipher it all, let the stress off and then kind of put yourself back together again. It was particularly hard for me because I was the locus of her anger. I kept hearing all these stories come back to me about how I'd done this or that horrible thing. I can kind of imagine how a celebrity feels after reading the National Enquirer.
As for dealing with this kind of crazy, the advice I would give is just stay as far away as possible, and if you can't stay away, then really protect yourself better than I did. It's kind of hard to do because these people are so unpredictable. I would not have guessed what happened to me as an outcome of any dealings I had with her. I can't even blame anyone for believing her, she's really great at deception. She got past all my defenses and it took me quite a long time with daily contact to figure it out. I'd say my biggest mistake was underestimating her. I kept saying to people, you don't know how dangerous this type of person can be. In real life, she's grandmotherly. Nothing at all scary. I'm not really sure there is an effective way to deal with people like this.
Anyways thank you all so much, I know the entire story sounds unbelievable. I'm just grateful that everyone involved is ok and I'm relatively unscathed.
What doesn't kill you makes you stronger comes to mind here.
You have learned a lesson that of course you shouldn't have to learn, but you did and now you have even more experience which is a good thing. Just think about this as well that when you retire you can help people you know through all that you experienced making you an always important person which is rare for older people.
The outcome of the police issue still has to be dealt with. Yesterday I got my promise to appear varied so I could attend the premises to go back to work. To do this you have to deal with the crown attorney. So that got done. From now on though I am in the "process" I don't even have a copy of disclosure so I have no idea what I supposedly had done. I can't even say what time "it" happened.
I was in the building and I was doing some things that were timestamped such as interac payments. We have cameras in our lobby so you can see me come in and go to the office. I had several long appointments. It's still incredibly difficult to prove you did not do something especially when you were in the same location where the supposed incident occurred and the place is not videotaped. After all how long does it take to push someone? 30 seconds or so.
One thing really in my favour is that on that particular day I was handing out Notices of Hearing for the Application to Vary a Rent Reduction. I was handing these out to all the residents in the building so I know who was home on that day. Even people who had moved in after and did not need a copy got one. That's because someone who shall remain nameless told everyone that they were getting a rent increase above the guideline. So I was doing damage control.
Upon reflection though we got off relatively unscathed. Had she had longer access to the keys of all the apartments and office and key room it might not have went so well.