Lawyer for Squatter holed up in Long Island couple’s dream home says HE’S the victim and deserves to stay after caring for late gay bachelor owner ’round the clock’ in a ‘private arrangement’: ‘There is more to this story!’

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Written By Maya Cantina

A lawyer for the man accused of squatting in a $2 million New York mansion has claimed he is the true victim, and they are ready to ‘flip the story on its head.’

Dennis O’Connell claimed his client Brett Flores, a 32-year-old nurse embroiled in a months-long eviction struggle, has been ‘misrepresented’ in reports that he has refused to leave the home purchased by an elderly couple and their disabled son. 

Flores says he acted as live-in carer for Bernard Fernandez, an elderly gay bachelor who died last year aged 80, and insists he’s entitled to the house.  

‘There’s a hidden story,’ the attorney told DailyMail.com on Friday. ‘There’s definitely more to it… the buyers are not the victims they claim to be.’ 

The buyers, Joseph and Susana Landa, both 68, say they bought the home in October, before making the ‘nightmare’ realization that Flores was squatting in the home and claimed he had the legal right to live there. 

Brett Flores, 32, has been seen in eerie surveillance footage looming around the multi-million dollar Long Island mansion that he refuses to vacate 

Flores' attorney says there is 'more to the story' of the squatter refusing to leave the home where he previously worked as a 'round the clock' caregiver

Flores’ attorney says there is ‘more to the story’ of the squatter refusing to leave the home where he previously worked as a ’round the clock’ caregiver 

Flores says he acted as live-in carer for Bernard Fernandez (pictured), an elderly gay bachelor who died last year aged 80, and insists he's entitled to the house

Flores says he acted as live-in carer for Bernard Fernandez (pictured), an elderly gay bachelor who died last year aged 80, and insists he’s entitled to the house

He has been lurking at this $2 million 'dream home' bought by an elderly New York City couple, which has been left derelict and abandoned after it was taken over by the shameless squatter

He has been lurking at this $2 million ‘dream home’ bought by an elderly New York City couple, which has been left derelict and abandoned after it was taken over by the shameless squatter 

Susana and Joseph Landa (pictured), both 68, purchased the mansion in October

Susana (pictured) and Joseph planned to enjoy retirement in their dream home

Susana (right) and Joseph Landa (left), both 68, purchased the mansion in Little Neck, Long Island in October, where they planned to enjoy retirement before their hopes were dashed 

A couple living in the neighborhood told DailyMail.com on Friday that Fernandez was a wealthy gay bachelor who had an on-off boyfriend called James. 

The Landas say they bought the home in Long Island as their family knew the neighborhood well, and had relatives that lived in the area that could help their disabled son Alex if something happened to them. 

But they have been unable to move into the mansion for over four months, with Flores filing for bankruptcy to delay trial while he claims the former owner, Bernie Fernandez, bequeathed it to him when he died. 

However, O’Connell told DailyMail.com claims their pleas for help are intended to ‘misrepresent’ the case, and they ‘know the reality.’

‘(Flores) is victimized by the current owner, and the information and the Internet is fundamentally false and misleading. The real word is incomplete.’ 

Flores worked for Fernandez as a housekeeper before the elderly man’s death last year, and was paid $3,000 a week for his services. 

His attorney confirmed that he was a live-in caretaker for Fernandez who worked ‘around the clock’, but didn’t work for an agency and found the role himself. 

Amid the ongoing delays, the Landa home has fallen into disrepair, as exclusive DailyMail.com images this week showed it has fallen into disrepair. 

Months after the property was snapped up for millions, it has fallen into disrepair

Months after the property was snapped up for millions, it has fallen into disrepair 

Random splatters of white paint have been left around the property

Scattered garbage and random splatters of white paint have been left around the multi-million dollar home 

Despite a winter gale blowing through New York this week, many windows and doors of the empty property were left wide open, while the owners are forced to foot the bill for utilities

Despite a winter gale blowing through New York this week, many windows and doors of the empty property were left wide open, while the owners are forced to foot the bill for utilities 

Flores has filed for bankruptcy and claims the former homeowner bequeathed the mansion to him - which the family's attorney claims is false as it was actually left to a nephew

Flores has filed for bankruptcy and claims the former homeowner bequeathed the mansion to him – which the family’s attorney claims is false as it was actually left to a nephew 

The sprawling home is in Little Neck, around 18 miles from Manhattan

The sprawling home is in Little Neck, around 18 miles from Manhattan

Scattered white paint has been left on several doors, windows and even security cameras, with dozens of surveillance cameras seen across the estate including on trees. 

The Landas say they have been forced to foot the bill for thousands of dollars in utilities and bills while Flores lives rent-free, and windows were left wide open despite a cold breeze gripping New York this week. 

A note purportedly left by Flores on the door of the home told the new owners they ‘don’t have my consent to enter’, and said their attempts to contact him would be ‘interpreted as harassment.’ 

When asked about their inability to live in the home they spent millions on, O’Connell insisted that the Landas are ‘not allowed.’ 

‘I would anticipate if they did (enter), they would be arrested. He has full legal possession, and the Landas are evicting him, and they have a false narrative about the history,’ he said. 

While the home has fallen into disrepair as the Landas still can’t move in, the Landas also claim Flores was advertising rooms in their home-to-be on rental sites. 

In the online listings, which appear to have been deleted, Flores advertised ‘The Prince Room’ for $50 a night to males, female, couples, families or students looking for a place to stay.

His rental services had even garnered three reviews, suggesting that Flores could have hosted paying renters at the Landa’s home.

The couple have three sons, one of whom has Down Syndrome. They wanted to live with him in the home to remain close to his brothers

The couple have three sons, one of whom has Down Syndrome. They wanted to live with him in the home to remain close to his brothers 

The Landa family have already had five hearings in civil court and are complaining that the process keeps getting delayed

The Landa family have already had five hearings in civil court and are complaining that the process keeps getting delayed

The family hoped the home would be the ideal spot to settle down with their disabled son Alex, and some of their other family also live in the neighborhood

The family hoped the home would be the ideal spot to settle down with their disabled son Alex, and some of their other family also live in the neighborhood 

When quizzed about the potential renting, Flores’ attorney said he wasn’t aware of it, but claimed the squatter had a right to do so if he chose. 

‘I’m not a landlord tenant attorney, but there’s roommate laws. I don’t know if they apply exactly under this fact pattern, but this New York state has a roommate law. If I live somewhere legally, I’m allowed to bring in a partner or a roommate,’ he said. 

While the Landas say the situation has become a ‘nightmare’, he stressed that there is ‘more to the story’ than has been seen already. 

‘This is the whole Internet stuff, and the spin and the misconceptions that are being spread is a whole new dimension. This wasn’t around five to six days ago,’ he said. 

‘There’s definitely more to it. And when we’re ready to reveal that, I think it flips the story on the head. The buyers are not the victims they claim to be.’ 

Before O’Connell’s claims, the Landa’s family attorney, Anthony Mordente, countered Flores’ claims on the house, and claimed the home was actually left to Fernandez’ nephew. 

He insisted the frustrated family may finally get their day in court and will finally move in once Flores has been booted out. 

‘We’re in the process of having the automatic bankruptcy stay lifted so that we can go back to court and proceed with a trial,’ Mordente told Fox News.

‘I think we’ll be successful. I don’t have any reason why the bankruptcy judge would have any reason to keep the stay in effect.’

Mordente first represented Fernandez’ nephew and said he had similar struggles with Flores, launching legal action against the squatter as he has never shown evidence to support his right to remain in the mansion.

He said the nephew fought Flores’ squatting for months, before deciding to rid himself of the hassle around the property and sold it in October to the Landas.

‘[The house] is not part of his bankruptcy estate because he doesn’t have a ten-year lease that would give him time to stay here,’ he said.

‘So, without a lease and without an agreement to stay, the bankruptcy judge is going to say: What is this all about?’

Joseph Landa said his struggles to evict the squatter have become 'a nightmare, a total nightmare'

Joseph Landa said his struggles to evict the squatter have become ‘a nightmare, a total nightmare’ 

While no one in the area had anything to say about Flores, an elderly couple on Friday told DailyMail.com the former owner ‘Bernie’ Fernandez was the ‘sweetest man and most beautiful person.’

They said he was known to have lived with a boyfriend in the mansion, named only as James, but they were ‘on and off for years.’

‘Bernie had a lot of money,’ they said, noting that he made his millions in Florida, and was known to sell high-end watches such as Rolexes.

‘He was the nicest most beautiful person you would ever meet,’ they said. ‘Bernie had a good heart as sweet as could be.’

They said they had only met Flores once when he was working on the estate, and felt he is ‘probably taking advantage of the situation.’

(Bernie) would feel terrible if he knew about this,’ they said. ‘Just terrible.’

Carmen, who has lived in the area for 21 years, and lives a few blocks away, was astounded that this is ‘the house’ that has been making headlines right in her neighborhood.

‘Wow! This is the famous house. I can’t believe it,’ she told DailyMail.com as she stood in front of the house looking at it during her Friday morning walk.. ‘I recognize the house.’

‘I walk very frequently. I know he sold, but must of the time when I walk past the house it is always very quiet.’ 

ᴀʀᴛɪᴄʟᴇ ꜱᴏᴜʀᴄᴇ

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