UES socialite reneged on $10M penthouse gift for health aid

Sri Lankan Buddhist nurse took the news in stride
December 14, 2015 10:41AM

Ignorance may sometimes be bliss, but for Lalitangi Balasuriya, a Buddhist immigrant from Sri Lanka who was set to receive an Upper East Side penthouse, knowledge isn’t so bad either.

Balasuriya worked as a home health aid for Upper East Side socialite Amber Lightfoot Walker for 20 years, taking care of Walker’s son.

In 2012, Walker composed a will that left the nurse Walker’s East 93rd Street co-op penthouse apartment. But Walker amended the will several times before her death in 2014, first reducing Balasuriya’s gift to $25,000 cash, then finally removing the health aid from the will entirely.

The terraced two-bedroom duplex penthouse at 784 Park Avenue is currently in contract for $9.95 million, according to brokerage Douglas Elliman.

Balasuriya had been unaware of the original will, and therefore knew nothing of the changes. When informed by DNAinfo, she accepted the news calmly.

“We get everything we need from our parents. So what more?” she told the site. “I’m not upset. I’m not greedy. I’m quite happy.”

Walker’s lawyer Glen Opell blamed the changes on a “contentious relationship over the years” between the two, though Balasuriya told DNAinfo that wasn’t her perception. [DNAinfo]Ariel Stulberg