“Christmas miracle” for Indian-origin man, as NY squatters who told him to “go back to Pakistan” finally vacate house

The famous Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center, New York City; Photo courtesy: Instagram/ rockefellercenter

Bobby Chawla, an Indian-origin man who had purchased a house in Long Island, New York, at a bank auction, finally saw a “Christmas miracle” this year. The Long Island squatters who were hanging on to his house — they had also told Chawla and his family to “go back to Pakistan” — finally moved out just before this Christmas weekend.

“It feels like a Christmas Miracle; I can’t believe it,” said Chawla to New York Post. “I did feel a sense of relief… but I won’t be satisfied until I have possession of my home. This guy is not to be trusted.”

The Indian-origin New Yorker and his family had bought the house nearly two years at the bank auction. The auction was held because the original purchasers of the house, Barry and Barbara Pollack, had not made their mortgage payment for almost two decades.

Even after the house was bought by the Chawla family, the Pollacks refused to move out. They were even caught on camera telling the Indian-origin family, when they tried to take possession of their legally purchased house, to “go back to Pakistan” — a wrong and racist assumption based on skin colour.

Two decades of gaming the system

The two squatters had stopped making their mortgage payments sometime in 2006. They had bought the house in September 1990 for about USD 255,000, but then faced some financial difficulties later.

In order to continue living in the house without paying for it, the Pollacks found a number of legal loopholes, including filing for bankruptcy in different courts. Therefore, their eviction from the house was stalled by the legal process for nearly 17 years.

Putting the house up for auction also took the bank more than 11 years because of these lawsuits and counter suits. The bank had started foreclosure proceedings in 2008, but was only able to auction off the house in 2021.

Finally, in a recent verdict, a federal judge prevented the Pollacks from filing any more bankruptcy cases. Despite the court order, the squatter couple refused to move out and let the Chawlas move in. It was a story in New York Post that made the “Christmas miracle” happen for the Indian-origin buyers. Once their exploitation of the US legal system was exposed, the Pollacks moved out. The Chawlas still need court approval to move in.