New Hyde Park squatters demand heirship, file “retaliatory” police report

New Hyde Park squatters demand heirship, file “retaliatory” police report
The formerly abandoned house on Brussel Drive in New Hyde Park that neighbors say is occupied by squatters. (Photo courtesy of Jerry Jacobs)

The Porsche-driving squatters accused of occupying 39 Brussel Drive in New Hyde Park since August without a valid lease filed an affidavit demanding they be made heirs to the property April 1, according to legal documents.

The move comes a month after Nassau County District Judge Christopher Coschignano ordered the squatters to be evicted.

Prior to demanding heirship, one of the squatters, Margaret Grover, filed a police report March 2 claiming she saw neighbor Jerry Jacob, one of the many nearby residents frustrated by the squatters, with a gun while he was exiting his vehicle, according to legal documents.

“We’re all extremely frustrated and we cannot believe the shenanigans that they’re playing and they’re not even law-abiding, tax-paying citizens,” Jacob told Blank Slate Media.

Jacob said he filed a complaint with the district attorney about the fake police report, which he believes is retaliation, and sent videos to the district attorney and Nassau County Police Department showing he was in his home at the time Grover pulled up to the property and claimed he was outside with a gun.

Grover was arrested the same day she filed the report for a long-expired driver’s license, according to police records.

The squatters, Grover, 19, and Denton Gayle, 29, filed the affidavit for heirship in an attempt to stop the bank, which owns the property at 39 Brussel Drive, from foreclosing on the property, according to legal documents.

“We believe all loans/mortgages are satisfied as attached & we have a rent to own since June 1st, 2023,” Grover and Gayle wrote in the affidavit papers.

Neighbors said they presume the affidavit is an attempt to prolong the eviction process, since the eviction requires a bank title, which is secured through foreclosure.

The couple also wrote that they have been “maintaining and improving the property” since June.

Grover and Gayle first moved in to the home at 39 Brussel Drive, which was foreclosed in 2013, in August. The couple brought along their baby, dog and Porsche Cayenne.

Since the bank owning the property changed in recent years, the foreclosure is technically still in progress, Jacob said.

Police were alerted to the inadequate living conditions at the foreclosed home and investigated the property in October, Jacob said, when officers discovered the home had no electricity, hot water or plumbing.

Both squatters were charged with endangering the welfare of a child and pleaded not guilty. Gayle was also charged with second-degree obstructing governmental administration and resisting arrest.

The Town of North Hempstead Building Department determined the home had failed its inspection and was unlivable without working bathrooms.

After the couple was arrested and removed from the home in October, they presented a two-year lease beginning June 1 for the home in court, claiming they had been illegally locked out of the home by the landlord, Edward Iacono. But Iacono had died in 2016.

In December, Coschignano granted the couple occupancy of the home.

For months, neighbors have faced a legal gridlock over the illegal occupancy.

They won a small victory when Coschignano reversed his initial decision March 6 and ordered the squatters to be evicted.

However, since the warrant of eviction had not yet been provided to police as of March 25, cops have been unable to evict the squatters, neighbor Al Moline said. The sheriff’s department received the warrant sometime after March 25, Jacob said.

The squatters have been issued a 14-day eviction notice, Jacob said.

The town said it is giving the bank 90 days to finish the foreclosure. If not done, they said they will take over the property using the state’s Zombie law, which permits municipalities to inspect, secure and maintain vacant and abandoned properties.

The town said it would pay for the commercial movers and 30 days of storage required for the eviction. This is a necessary requirement before police can move forward with an eviction.

The residents of Brussel Drive say the squatters have created an unsafe environment, one the residents’ have endured for months.

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