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Indian family experience ‘Christmas miracle’ as they reclaim New York home after long legal battle

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The holiday season brought unexpected joy for an Indian-origin family in New York as they finally saw the end of a prolonged battle to reclaim their home. Bobby Chawla’s family had purchased the property at an auction 22 months ago, only to find it occupied by Barry and Barbara Pollack, accused squatters who had refused to vacate.

Manhattan skyline in New York City, U.S., July 26, 2023. REUTERS/Amr Alfiky/File Photo(REUTERS)
Manhattan skyline in New York City, U.S., July 26, 2023. REUTERS/Amr Alfiky/File Photo(REUTERS)

After a 22-month ordeal, Bobby Chawla’s family witnessed what they described as a “Christmas miracle.” The Pollacks, who had been unlawfully occupying the Chawla residence, finally left the premises, marking the end of a lengthy legal battle.

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The Pollacks had purchased the house in 1990 but stopped mortgage payments in 2006 due to financial difficulties. Their strategy involved filing baseless bankruptcies across multiple courts, delaying eviction proceedings for an astonishing 17 years. This allowed them to stay in the property without meeting mortgage obligations for almost two decades.

A foreclosure lawsuit in 2008 led to the home entering a bank auction, extending the case’s resolution for 11 years. Despite facing a federal bankruptcy judge’s prohibition on additional filings, the Pollacks continued to resist eviction until their misuse of the legal system was exposed by the New York Post.

The Pollacks finally left the property on Friday, seemingly ending the saga. Bobby Chawla expressed relief, calling it a “Christmas miracle,” but emphasized the need for a judge’s approval to officially take over the property.

Chawla shared his sentiments, stating, “It feels like a Christmas Miracle, I can’t believe it.” Despite the relief, he remains cautious, emphasising the importance of obtaining official possession through a judge’s approval, highlighting a lingering lack of trust.

Heath Berger, Chawla’s attorney, addressed the situation, expressing hope that the Pollacks had made their final appearance in bankruptcy court. This sentiment reflects a desire for closure after a protracted legal battle.

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