The Mansion Was Vacant, So Who Was Throwing the Parties?

'Curbed' unpacks the movie-like controversy that took place on a ritzy, Beverly Hills cul de sac
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 17, 2024 6:00 AM CDT
The Beverly Hills Mansion Was Vacant, So He Moved In
Stock image.   (Getty / annault)

The realtor first knew something was hinky about the vacant mansion he had listed for $5 million near Beverly Hills when the pool guy called. It seems someone had pulled up in a U-Haul and moved in, and the pool guy wondered if he'd be kept on. Which was weird, writes Bridget Read at Curbed, because the realtor knew nobody had bought the place. When he went to investigate and found that he was locked out, the realtor called police. Officers spoke to the 30-something native of Italy inside, who had a bogus-looking lease. It was a civil matter now, said the officers. Nothing they could do. The epic parties started soon after, "heavy bass thumping from the backyard pool area every night," writes Read. The ritzy cul de sac was soon crowded with seemingly drug-addled partiers day and night, many of whom paid to attend the bashes. (How ritzy? LeBron James is a neighbor.)

Can somebody simply move into a vacant mansion and start hosting pricey raves and renting out rooms? In this case, apparently so. Part of the problem was the convoluted ownership history of the residence, previously occupied by a "fugitive surgeon"—a complicated tale in its own right. As Read puts it, "The latest accused fraudsters to take up residence were louder, more obvious, and more desperate than their predecessors, but the mansion had long been in the possession of people who got it by lying and stealing." The story details the hard-to-fathom chain of events at play, including that iffy lease, the debate over "squatters' rights" that had uber-rich neighbors seething, and the eventual success at getting the occupants ousted. It's well worth a read here. (Or check out other longform recaps.)

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