‘I’m not a squatter,’ woman in half-million-dollar home claims as city responds to complaints

profile photo
By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

Court records indicate shortly after the homeowner died in January 2023, a woman moved in.

LAKEWOOD, Colo. — More than a year after a homeowner died without a will, his home is now occupied by a woman who claims she has permission to live inside rent-free as neighbors complain about criminal activity and squatters. 

For about a year, Mecca Busey has been living in the 102-year-old home on 10th Avenue just west of Sheridan Boulevard. According to Zillow, the home is worth approximately $482,000 and is surrounded by new half-million-dollar condos.

Court records indicate shortly after the homeowner died in January 2023, Busey moved in. 

9NEWS Investigates found Busey is a convicted felon for identity theft. 

Busey is not listed as the owner on the deed, nor could she provide 9NEWS Investigates with a written lease. 

Busey told 9NEWS Investigates that her husband used to work for the homeowner. Busey claimed she has a standing “verbal lease” with the homeowner’s granddaughter to live in the home rent-free. 

“I’m not a squatter,” Busey said during a 9NEWS interview about allegations made by neighbors and others who have called her a squatter in police reports over the past year. 

Police reports, dispatch records and court documents obtained by 9NEWS Investigates reveal Lakewood police officers and code enforcement officials have responded to the home 19 times over the past year for complaints about trespassing, harassment, code violations and “unwanted party.” 

Busey claimed to 9NEWS the “verbal lease” allows her to live in the home rent-free on the condition she would make home improvements and eventually buy the property. 

However, police and court records describe the granddaughter as a “vulnerable adult” and suggest she may not have the mental capacity to make decisions. 

Records show the granddaughter moved out of the home shortly before her grandfather died to live in a facility for people with developmental disabilities. 

A review of probate court records filed in April shows the court system in Jefferson County appointed a special administrator to sort out who should inherit the property. 

“Code enforcement has requested that the Public Administrator address the issues that have arisen with the Real Property since the Decedent’s death, which involves illegal activity, squatters living at the property, and probably drug use,” wrote Virginia A. Frazer-Abel, who is the assigned Public Administrator in Jefferson County. 

“They’re saying things that are completely untrue. There has been no criminal activity here,” Busey said. 

Busey claimed she has made $200,000 worth of home improvements over the last year and provided 9NEWS Investigates with several before-and-after photos of the kitchen and yard. 

“You’re not taking advantage of someone?” 9NEWS asked Busey.

“Absolutely not. I offered to buy the house,” she said. 

Busey claims the granddaughter wants her out of the house now because of the home improvements. 

“I get here and I make it look nice and all of the sudden they want me out without even coming to talk to me,” Busey said.

The ‘verbal lease’ and Busey’s criminal history 

“It’s a mess,” 9NEWS Legal Expert Whitney Traylor said after reviewing documents in the case. “It’s like a law school exam.” 

Traylor said verbal leases can legally exist in Colorado, but typically they’re only valid for less than a year. If there is a dispute, it comes down to the credibility of the parties, Traylor said. 

“There’s so much to unravel. The primary issue is that the decedent who owned the property died without a will,” Traylor said. 

9NEWS Investigates found Busey has a criminal record in Colorado which includes at least two felony convictions for identity theft. 

Her most recent conviction stemmed from an arrest in 2020 in which Busey was found in a vehicle with tax forms, bank account paperwork and IDs belonging “up to 40 different identities,” according to court records.  

When she was arrested in 2020, Busey was on parole for a prior felony conviction. 

Busey acknowledged her criminal history when questioned about it during an interview. 

“I’m not pretending not to be Mecca though,” she said. “That’s the whole thing. This has nothing to do with that.”

“I have done my time, so I have no problem speaking on it,” she said. 

Busey said she will move if legally forced out, but plans to fight for the home until then. 

“If things change and I can have the house then absolutely, I want the house. That’s the whole thing,” Busey said. 

> If you have any information about this story or would like to send a news tip, you can contact jeremy@9news.com.

[embedded content]
author photo
About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.

(source)