With every passing day since actor Randy Quaid and his wife, Evi, were arrested Saturday for squatting in a Montecito home, the story gets weirder and more complex.
While authorities allege that Randy and Evi were illegally living on the property at 1355 East Mountain Drive over the weekend, the couple claim they still own the residence and therefore made themselves at home in the guest house.
Sheriff’s Department spokesperson Drew Sugars said there is a claim that the couple broke a $7,000 mirror in the guest home and deputies noted pictures of Evi, 47, and Randy, 59, had been hung on the walls. Security cameras on the property were pointed upward. It also appears that furniture had been removed and was placed in a carport outside. On the property’s metal mailbox, an “RQ” had been etched on the side.
All of this was discovered after a representative of the home, alerted by a tripped alarm, responded to find the Quaids on the property Saturday afternoon. The owners, R. Scott and Lannette Turicchi, were not there, and Sugars didn’t know if the home was their primary residence.
While the Quaids’ attorney Bob Sanger couldn’t be reached for comment by The Independent, the celebrity news Web site TMZ managed on Tuesday to track down the odd pair and posted a video on its site. Evi, wearing a sheriff’s badge, said, “The Santa Barbara police are not a team of real estate attorneys, and we’re not squatters. They are.” Her husband added, “If you don’t stick up for what’s yours and defend what’s yours, then what are you?”
The Quaids, according to documents from the County Assessor’s office, acquired the property in question in October 1989. A deed from 1992 showed the Quaids granted the property to well-known film producer and then-senior VP at Warner Bros. Bruce Berman and his wife, Nancy. The Bermans, in turn, sold the property to the Turicchis—R. Scott Turicchi is the president of an L.A.-based communications company—in August 2007 for $5.3 million. According to Sugars, a representative of the current owner provided paperwork that essentially said as much, and signed a complaint for a citizen’s arrest.
But the Quaids are claiming they still own the property. In April, the Quaids filed suit in Los Angeles against Lloyd Braun, their attorney and manager, and a limited liability company, BermanBraun, LLC, headed by Braun. Among the allegations the Quaids made were that Braun represented the couple “in their alleged ‘sale’ of their Montecito, Santa Barbara County home” to Berman.
In August, according to Courthouse News Service, Randy Quaid filed suit against a whole bunch of people, blaming Braun—who is not a defendant in that suit—for concocting a fake living trust in their name and stealing money from them. They claim a banking official told them they were still the rightful owners of the home because it was never sold. Among the long laundry list of bizarre statements and allegations contained in that 220-page lawsuit, is that Randy Quaid believes there are “striking similarities” between his situation and that of Michael Jackson before his death, related to life insurance policy trusts. Quaid also believes Braun is behind his and Evi’s September 2009 arrest.
It was almost exactly a year ago that the couple was arrested in Texas on charges of bilking the San Ysidro Ranch out of a $10,000 hotel bill. The couple missed multiple court dates and, when they did show up in court, they acted bizarrely, bringing Quaid’s 1988 Golden Globe award with them one day, and holding up various other objects during other appearances.
While charges were dropped against Randy in that case, Evi pleaded no contest to a downgraded misdemeanor charge of defrauding an innkeeper and was sentenced to three years’ probation and 240 hours of community service. Her latest actions could be in violation of her probation.
Evi and Randy, whose most popular acting role was arguably playing Cousin Eddie in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, were arrested for misdemeanor entering a noncommercial building without consent, and felony burglary. Evi was also arrested for misdemeanor resisting arrest, which she said she did because they had a dog in the car.
They were released on bail within two hours early Sunday morning and have a court date of October 18 lined up. The two have yet to be charged with a crime, however. District Attorney Joyce Dudley said her office had not yet received reports and information from the Sheriff’s Department, and thus had not made a decision on whether or not to file charges.