Melissa Berkelhammer, NYC Socialite with Harvard Law Degree: Squatter

Sometimes people think that squatters are all poor people who are trying to exploit the system because they can’t afford their own apartment. But even well-educated, well-off people can be squatters, since this malicious behavior is more about a lack of conscience or ethics, and an appalling sense of entitlement, than one’s income level.

As stated in this news story

http://www.insideedition.com/investigative/10721-new-york-woman-trying-to-kick-alleged-socialite-squatter-out-of-apartment

Melissa Berkelhammer is a socialite and has a classy pedigree. She has degrees from Princeton University and Harvard Law School. A social butterfly, she was a regular fixture at charity events around New York City. But some people say this socialite is also a squatter.

A friend of Melissa’s, Julianne Michelle, allowed her to move into her apartment for 3 weeks, as Melissa claimed that her apartment was being renovated. But after moving in, not only did Melissa refuse to leave, but she brought her elderly mother in to live there with her!! Fifteen months later, the two squatters are still there, in spite of Julianne’s efforts to get her out.

Julianne Michelle is an actress who became friends with Melissa. One day Julianne says Melissa asked if she could stay at her apartment because her’s was being renovated.

“I knew her from the charity circuit,” Julianne said. “We’d say hello. She seemed pleasant enough.”

So she let Melissa move into her swanky apartment on the “Avenue of Avenues” – Fifth Avenue, with a view of Central Park. Woody Allen used to live in the building.

“I figured two or three weeks, what’s the worst that can happen?” Julianne said.

That was in March 2014. Fifteen months later, Melissa’s still there! And get this, her elderly mother moved in, too!

Julianne and her mother, Jocelyn, told INSIDE EDITION’s Les Trent they’ve been trying to evict the Berkelhammers for months.

“It’s been an absolute nightmare,” Jocelyn said. “They refuse to leave. They have to live in an Upper East Side apartment with a doorman.”

Trent asked, “How much stuff does she have at your place?”

“A lot,” Julianne explained. “I have never seen anyone with more designer shoes, hand bags or clothes. She has about 50 bags in luggage and portable wardrobes. I lock myself in my bedroom. I feel so confined to that space. I can’t even use my living room or my kitchen. She’s sort of taken over everything with her belongings and her clothes.

As if that isn’t bad enough, Julianne says the mother/daughter duo have relentless arguments over money.

“Oh my God! You told me I was going to be so… You told me I was going to be so rich!” Melissa can be heard yelling at her mother in an audio recording. I can’t take you anymore. … I want my $20 million!”

This is one of the many sad and appalling examples of the landlord or master tenant version of “no good deed goes unpunished”

 

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