QUEENS, N.Y. - It was a quiet afternoon this week at the All Faiths Cemetery in Middle Village, Queens. The maintenance staff was hard at work, caring for its 225 acres, the final resting place for about half a million people, including members of President Donald Trump's family.
Trump's grandparents, parents, and brother Fred are buried there, their graves marked by a simple headstone.
But State Attorney General Leticia James has filed a lawsuit against the cemetery, alleging members of its board of directors embezzled money, paid themselves exorbitant salaries, and made personal loans using money from a trust meant to maintain the grounds.
"We shouldn't have to suffer for other people's greed," All Faiths Cemetery maintenance worker Raymond Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez has worked at the cemetery for 34 years. He's one of nine maintenance workers who recently lost their medical and dental insurance.
Rodriguez says the cemetery's assets have been frozen because of the allegations, and as a result the board stopped making payments to the union welfare fund that benefits cemetery workers.
So, as of January 1, he's had no medical or dental coverage.
"I have a family, I need my medical benefits like everyone else, and we are entitled to it by law," Rodriguez said.
The workers said the cemetery once employed a staff of about 60 gravediggers and masons; now they're down to just nine, making it almost impossible to maintain the massive burial ground. They called the loss of benefits yet another indignity.
"We have nobody to help us," All Faiths Cemetery maintenance worker Joseph Engresser said. "We're out in nowhere land and we need help."
Democratic Queens Assemblyman Brian Barnwell says he's been in touch with the attorney general's office and Gov. Andrew Cuomo in hopes of finding a resolution to help get the benefits reinstated soon.
"The individual workers should not be held accountable for the actions they had nothing to do with," Barnwell said.
The attorney general's office declined to comment on the elimination of the workers' benefits but says its ultimate goal is to restore the cemetery to a position of long-term financial stability.
All Faiths Cemetery refused to comment. Calls to the union, Local 74 of the United Service Workers, were not immediately returned.