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East County Thursday, Apr. 23, 2009 8 years ago

Squatters take over Greenbrook house

by: Pam McTeer

LAKEWOOD RANCH — Normally, you’d keep your furniture inside your house, but on April 9, a home in Greenbrook Terrace had its entire contents stacked neatly in the driveway.

It proved an unusual sight — especially considering that many neighbors didn’t know anyone had been living in the home at 15118 Searobbin Drive.

The belongings were those of Mark and Melanie Fiscina and Mark Fiscina’s cousin, Christopher Gallagher, who, according to Manatee County Sheriff’s Office reports, had moved into the home as squatters. The three were arrested April 5, and their belongings were evicted from the home by property manager West Coast Homes Realty four days later.

“We didn’t know what was going on,” neighbor Robert Hufstedler said. “We had seen the police out there and the neighbor that was there we knew had moved out. We hadn’t seen much action at the house and then all of the sudden we saw all these sheriff’s cars (there).”

Rebekah Boos, broker/owner of West Coast Homes Realty, had reported to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office that people were living in one of her vacant homes and did not have permission to be there. No contract or verbal agreement had been made to allow occupancy, she told sheriff’s office deputies.

The Fiscinas and Gallagher were charged with trespass in structure, a misdemeanor, and taken to the Manatee County Jail. A $250 bond was posted for each on April 6.

“(A man from the property management company) told me that he had talked to these people about renting the house, and they didn’t have a deposit or a signed lease or anything and somehow they got in the house,” Hufstedler said. “I don’t know the details. He was kind of shocked to see that somebody had moved in.”

The sheriff’s office report states the Fiscinas and Gallagher entered the home April 2 and proceeded to establish residence without the homeowner’s permission.

In a sworn affidavit, Boos said the Fiscinas filled out an application to rent the home and were asked to pay $75 for a background check. Boos stated she was contacted by Melanie Fiscina and told she could not get the money for the house but would try. Boos received no money exchange and never gave permission for the Fiscinas to move into the home, the report states.

Boos also stated all house showings and contracts are handled by her ex-husband, Jared Boos, who said he never received any money from the Fiscinas and never gave them keys to the Greenbrook house.

According to the report, Jared Boos said he talked to Rebekah Boos about how they would get the money and that Melanie Fiscina told him she had not yet received a check but was in the process of getting it to him. Jared Boos stated he did not give permission for anyone to move into the home.

The Fiscinas said they began moving their belongings into the house April 2. Neither could provide any proof of contract or money receipt of any type, the report states.

The Fiscinas also stated Gallagher has lived with them since April 2, but Gallagher said he was just helping his cousins move in, the report states.

Neither Mark Fiscina nor Gallagher are currently employed.

Rebekah Boos declined comment.

Contact Pam McTeer at [email protected].

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