NEW YORK (AP) – A Chicago booking agent and her husband sued a Catskills resort Tuesday for $20 million, saying her body and mind were scarred after she suffered some 500 bedbug bites while staying at the hotel last summer.

Leslie Fox, 54, said she and husband Stephen Cohen never felt the bedbugs bite while sleeping at the 700-room Nevele Hotel in Ellenville, N.Y. She said she noticed the lesions when she got up after their third night there.

“I was horrified to see all of those bites all over my body,” Fox said. “I became very upset and alarmed. I was miserable. My skin felt as if it was on fire and I wanted to tear it off.”

As she discussed the allegations Tuesday, Fox sat in front of about a dozen photographs, including several pictures of her back, chest, arms and legs – all covered with bloody bites and pustules.

Joe O’Connor, a lawyer for the resort, said he and his client had not seen the lawsuit so he could not comment. But he said the hotel has ongoing treatment and inspection by pest control companies that will certify the Nevele is bug-free.

O’Connor also said he had contacted the lawyer who filed the suit and was “trying to work things out.”

Several other lawsuits have been filed in New York City and around the country because of alleged bedbugs attacks in hotels.

Fox’s lawyer, Alan J. Schnurman, said the sheets on her bed were speckled with the woman’s blood and smeared with tiny specks of bug excrement. One photo showed a dead bug, a streak of red extending from its body, that apparently had dined on Fox during the night.

That photo suggested Fox had rolled over and crushed the critter and caused Fox’s blood to spurt out of the bug’s body onto the sheet, Schnurman said.

Fox and Cohen were treated at Ellenville Hospital, Schnurman said. He said Fox’s severe reaction to the bites were apparently the result of an allergy and that she is still undergoing treatment.

When the couple reported to hotel officials that their room was infested, the officials offered two free nights but Fox and Cohen declined, Schnurman said, because they were just itching to leave.

Schnurman said Fox’s husband also was attacked by the bugs, “but nothing like her.”

Fox, who books engagements for lecturers and entertainers, says she is now afraid to sleep in any hotel without stripping the bed and examining it minutely with a flashlight and magnifying glass.

O’Connor, the resort lawyer, noted that bedbugs have become a problem in many places across the country, even in upscale hotels. He attributed the bedbug’s resurgence to international travel, immigration, and the banning of some dangerous pesticides.

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