Melissa Berkelhammer was evicted this week, the latest setback for the New York socialite who had been squatting in the home of actress Julianne Michelle for the last year.
The 38-year-old Berkelhammer and her elderly mother had lived in Michelle’s apartment for the last year, moving in while their home was supposedly being renovated and continued to live there until recently. This week they were finally thrown out after New York officials closed in on them.
“It took hours to get them out,” a source told the New York Post‘s Page Six. “Julianne hired movers and a large storage space on East 62nd Street so that their belongings would not be thrown out or lost.”
The eviction shed light on the difficult laws regarding unwanted occupants. In New York, squatters have an enormous amount of power once they’ve established residence for 30 days, which Julianne Michelle found out the hard way.
“Julianne is determined that the 30-day squatter law needs to be changed,” a source said.
In the end it took the help of Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, who wrote a letter directly to the city marshall.
“Ms. Engle and Ms. Michelle are understandably concerned about having to live with unwanted tenants who have caused such a disturbance in the building that the co-op board has issued a notice to cure,” the congresswoman wrote in a letter obtained by the New York Daily News. “Anything you can do to expedite the eviction of the Berkelhammers, consistent with all rules and regulations, would be greatly appreciated.”
After Melissa Berkelhammer was evicted, she and her mother moved into a hotel and Melissa is getting a job as a hostess at a steakhouse in New York.
But the trouble isn’t over. The socialite still has a court date for allegedly stealing $4,000 worth of bags and clothing from Bergdorf Goodman.
As her lawyer explained, Berkelhammer plans to offer a defense claiming she was in a “very dark place” after her friends turned their back on her. Melissa had posted on Facebook essentially asking her friends for $65,000, then grew angry when no one responded.
In response to the snub, she wrote:
“Omg I can’t believe I just completely humiliated myself for no responses whatsoever. Thank you all. Thanks a lot. . . I tried to be nice and humble about this but now I’m just damn angry. At ALL of you.”
Though Michelle Berkelhammer was evicted and faces court for her shoplifting charges, things may be changing. Her lawyer claims that she is dedicated to “turning her life around” and will soon have both a legitimate job and a legal living situation.
[Picture by Jemal Countess/Getty Images]