A tale of squatting usually calls to mind an abandoned warehouse in the industrial section of a dusty and diminished American city: That's not how the story goes in southern Palm Beach County. National and British media this week have glommed onto the exploits of Andre Barbosa -- aka "Loki Boy" -- who has occupied a Boca Raton mansion since "at least Dec. 26" 2012.
Sun Sentinel first broke the story of Barbosa, 23, of Brazil, who was handed eviction papers last week and told to exit the property. According to Sentinel reporter Anne Geggis, Bank of America owns the $2.5 million, five-bedroom house and they (and the neighbors) want Barbosa out. There has been speculation as to whether his occupation of the property is intended as a political message, but no definitive comments from Barbosa himself on the matter.
The Broward-Palm Beach New Times' news blog The Pulp, contacted the young squatter via Facebook: "he said he'd think about whether he wanted to speak, declining to answer whether his takeover of the Boca mansion was politically motivated." New Times' Terrence McCoy reports the publication has since been blocked by Barbosa on Facebook. The paper also has been blocked by Rebecca Marie Knox, a friend of Barbosa's who had communicated with the New Times via Facebook chat on behalf of Barbosa.
Sun Sentinel columnist Michael Mayo visited the Boca mansion in a "disappointing" hunt for a waterfront pool party that didn't exist:
No bikini-clad women partying. Nobody chugging caipirinhas and beer bongs. Nobody grilling steaks on the stainless-steel barbeque, living the good life and laughing all the way to the Bank of America. Just a nasty-looking pool, with brackish-greenish water I wouldn't want to frolic in.
Mayo writes; "Barbosa has flipped the bird to convention and America's financial giants with his actions" in reference not only to the act of squatting, but Barbosa's "filing notice that he wanted to claim the deed through an archaic Florida law." The law in question is Florida's Chapter 95 adverse possession statute which requires "actual continued occupation of real property for 7 years" as well as payment of taxes. (Read the full adverse possession statute.)
According to Mayo, the 2012 tax bill for the mansion was $39,000, making it unlikely that Barbosa will be able to hold down fort.