Soldier Returns to Find Squatters Who Won't Leave His House
by Lisa Fogarty
Michael Sharkey has spent the last two years dutifully serving his country as a soldier in Afghanistan. He deserves to return home as a celebrated hero or, at the very least, be able to go back to the house he and his wife built together before he was deployed.
Instead, Sharkey is being forced to fight for property that belongs to him. While he was serving overseas, two squatters moved their stuff into his Florida home, changed the locks, and took over. Despite living without simple luxuries like running water, the stubborn squatters say they aren't going to abandon his home until they're good and ready. And police say there's not a darn thing they can do to help him.
Before he left, Sharkey asked his friend Lisa Pettus to keep an eye on his home while he was deployed. Meanwhile, his wife Danielle had relocated to Hawaii, where he is currently stationed. Pettus reportedly agreed to let Julio Ortiz help renovate the home, but she never expected to visit after the improvements were completed and find the man and his girlfriend Fatima Cardoso had moved right in and were treating the house as their very own!
The squatters, both of whom have spent time in jail for robbery and drug charges, told police they had a verbal agreement with Pettus that they could live in Sharkey's house rent-free in exchange for helping to fix up the place. Both Pettus and Sharkey deny this promise was ever made, but if you believe it, the freeloaders' claims hold more weight than you can imagine.
Police have told Sharkey there's nothing they can do to help him because squatters have rights. If the soldier and his wife want their home back, they'll have to shell out lots of money to fight the couple in court.
How disgraceful. I understand this situation is out of local cops' hands, but someone should be able to help Sharkey get back what rightfully belongs to him. I can't believe Ortiz and Cardoso wouldn't willingly give in and leave the house after hearing it belongs to someone who has dedicated his life to protecting their freedom. It's truly heinous and disrespectful. Let's hope Sharkey and his wife can reclaim their home -- without being forced to spend thousands of dollars in legal fees.
This video clip contains footage of Sharkey's house, as well as comments by Sharkey, Ortiz, and Cardoso:
Do you think the squatters have the right to take over this man's house?