How squatters seized this Beverly Hills home

GOSSIP & RUMORS: How squatters seized this Beverly Hills home



Beverly Grove Place, a quaint enclave adjacent to Beverly Hills, has long been a coveted address for the rich and famous.

With basketball icon LeBron James recently erecting a lavish abode, and power couple Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck dropping a cool $61 million on a compound last year, it seemed the epitome of exclusivity.

However, shock waves rippled through the neighborhood when reports surfaced of squatters taking up residence just down the block from James’s forthcoming mansion at 1316 Beverly Grove Place from October 2023 to February 2024, according to Curbed.

Contrary to the image of struggling locals unable to afford Los Angeles’s exorbitant rents, these weren’t downtrodden individuals seeking shelter.

The home occupies 5,900 square feet. MLS

Rather, they were opportunistic grifters, exploiting a neglected mansion to masquerade as affluent socialites and host extravagant soirees.

Morgan Gargiulo, an aspiring actor, spearheaded the operation, fabricating a fake lease to establish his claim over the mansion without facing legal repercussions, according to the outlet.

The 5,900-square-foot property, which had been on sale since last August for $4.6 million, was seemingly fair game.

Gargiulo infiltrated what’s often dubbed the “most exclusive ZIP code in America,” that being 90210.

The living area. MLS

It all highlights a troubling trend of squatting incidents in even the most affluent neighborhoods.

His nights were a blur of relentless revelry, with parties raging five evenings a week, each demanding hefty admission fees ranging from $500 to $1,500.

The ambiance was carefully curated, complete with rave lights, Warhol-esque prints and a disco ball, creating an illusion of opulence.

Morgan Gargiulo. Twitter

Gargiulo’s makeshift empire accommodated not only him but also his fiancée and a rotating cast of friends.

He even turned a profit by renting out bedrooms at rates ranging from $150 to $300 per night, albeit without actually providing lodging.

Some guests were offered accommodation in exchange for cleaning services.

The kitchen boasts an expansive island and a dining area with skylights. MLS

Despite neighbors’ outcry over the disruptive festivities, Gargiulo asserted his tenancy rights whenever challenged, citing his purported lease.

Law enforcement intervention proved futile.

Legal recourse finally materialized in January this year when eviction proceedings were initiated against the squatters.

One of six bedrooms. MLS

Sensing the tide turning against them, they struck a deal with the property’s current owner to vacate last month.

The prolonged ordeal underscores the perils of absentee ownership, compounded by a convoluted legal battle over the mansion’s ownership amid a fraud scandal involving its former proprietor.

How Gargiulo managed to seize the property remains unclear.

Efforts to seek redress were stymied at every turn, with law enforcement citing civil matters and legal complexities.

The frustration felt by residents was palpable, with one lamenting, “Welcome to California, thanks liberals.”

Despite California law deeming squatting illegal, “adverse possession” statutes allow squatters to stake a claim over a property after five years of uninterrupted occupancy.

While Gargiulo hadn’t met this threshold, his gambit highlighted the flaws in California’s legal framework.

With the mansion reverting to its rightful owner, Adel Yamout, in December, legal proceedings are underway to ensure such incidents are not repeated.



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