NEW YORK -- Just days after her son was locked up in a maximum-security prison, the mother of preppie killer Robert Chambers learned Thursday she will be put through an eviction trial for failing to pay more than $20,000 in rent.
'They (the landlords) waited for the worst moment in her life,' said her lawyer, David Rosenholc. 'It's harassment.'
A possible settlement of the rent battle fell through and a trial date of May 11 was set Thursday in Manhattan Housing Court.
The lawyer said Chambers' mother, Phyllis Chambers, a private nurse who occupies the entire fifth floor of a building next door to the Carnegie Mansion on Fifth Avenue, may testify.
Her landlord claims she owes $21,410 in rent since last August and wants to throw her out.
But Phyllis Chambers, who has been separated from her accountant husband since 1984, said in court papers she has been withholding rent because the landlord has refused to make repairs to the townhouse for nearly two years.
She claims $40,000 worth of furniture has been ruined by water leaks. She did not appear at Thursday's hearing.
Her lawyer said there are 10 hazardous violations in the $2,376 a month apartment, but the landlord insists they've been cleared up.
The landlord's lawyer, Cindy Schenker, said that 'as of last August, the problem didn't exist.'
She said she was informed at 6 p.m. Wednesday that her settlement offer was nixed.
'It was unacceptable,' Rosenholc said, adding that the landlord refused to make a commitment to repair the apartment and offered Mrs. Chambers an abatement of only one month's rent for her trouble.
'She wanted to settle. This is the last thing she needs to go through. It's not fair. I'm not going to let them take advantage of her,' he said.
Rosenholc accused the landlord, 11 E. 90th St. Associates, of trying to throw the nurse out as part of a larger co-op conversion plan.
He said Chambers was not too poor to pay the rent, despite hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal bills for her son's case.
Robert Chambers, 21, a former altar boy who attended exclusive Manhattan prep schools, is serving a five- to 15-year prison sentence for strangling another prep school graduate in Central Park on Aug. 26, 1986.
He claimed he choked Jennifer Levin, 18, during rough sex, killing her.
Chambers interrupted jury deliberations in his murder trial on March 25 and pleaded guilty a reduced charge of first-degree manslaughter.
He was sentenced last Friday and was moved from Rikers Island to the maximum-security Downstate Correctional Facility in Fishkill, N.Y., Tuesday.
His mother learned about her own trial two days later.