Oregon couple ‘squats’ in million-dollar Central Park pad after tenant dies: lawsuit


That’s one technique to get an residence steps from Central Park.

A pair of alleged squatters from Oregon have commandeered a two-bedroom, rent-controlled co-op value practically $1 million on Manhattan’s ritzy Higher West Facet after the longtime tenant died, based on courtroom papers.

Sheila Upjohn, 72, of Salem, has been dwelling within the roughly 1,100-square-foot pad on the ninth ground of 46 West ninety fifth Avenue since 98-year-old resident Mary Etta Tanuma died in April 2022.

The owner stated Upjohn and Tanuma aren’t associated, and Upjohn has no proper to the house — however a relative stated the 2 ladies have been as shut as household will get.

“Sheila cared for [Tanuma] for 2 years at house,” stated Upjohn’s sister, Michelle Cassidy. “She introduced her out of a nursing house throughout COVID. . . . she took care of [Tanuma] like she was her mom.”

Cassidy, a former resident of the constructing, lived subsequent door to Tanuma since 1995 and launched the older lady and Upjohn, a nurse who moved east for varsity and work and lived on and off with Tanuma since 1997.

“That is legit, an actual factor. This isn’t my sister shifting in together with her within the final 12 months of her life to attempt to grift her,” Cassidy insisted.

Tanuma, a loomer who made textile samples, had no different household and adjusted her will in 2017 to depart every part to Upjohn, Cassidy stated.

Tanuma described Upjohn as “my pal” in her will, which bequeathed her furnishings, work, jewellery, furnishings and family items, Manhattan Surrogate Court docket papers present.


The unique tenant lived in her ninth ground residence for the reason that Nineteen Sixties.
Helayne Seidman

Weeks after Tanuma’s demise, Upjohn despatched the owner, 46 West ninety fifth Avenue Equities, a letter claiming she was “entitled to succeed” Tanuma’s residency within the residence, the owner stated in a Manhattan Supreme Court docket lawsuit in search of her ouster.

Upjohn later moved her husband, disbarred Oregon legal professional Donald Upjohn, 81, in together with her, based on the litigation.

The couple reside there “with none proper to take action,” the owner alleged.

Except for a stint in a nursing house, Tanuma, who had no partner or children, lived within the residence for the reason that Nineteen Sixties, and was paying simply $1,800 a month — lower than half the market price.

Judith McGrath, 83, a neighbor listed as executor of Tanuma’s property, stated she didn’t know Tanuma or the Upjohns.

“What is going to?” stated McGrath when requested about Tanuma’s property, including, “I don’t know anyone by that title.”

The owner known as the Upjohns’ scheme a “daring try to sport the system and make the most of the Hire Management Regulation for their very own private profit.”

The owner has demanded the Upjohns fork over $3,500 for each month they’ve lived there and needs a decide to power the couple out of the residence and to pay for “unlawfully” occupying the place.

“New York Metropolis property house owners face a continuing problem from tenants who unlawfully occupy residences and refuse to vacate,” stated the owner’s lawyer, Michael A. Pensabene. “This can be a clear try to violate the property house owners’ rights and we’re assured that we’ll prevail in courtroom.”

A lawyer for Upjohn declined to remark.



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