Former ABC President who was allegedly conned out of millions by squatter blasts 'crazy' California laws

'What does it take to get locked up in California?' former TV executive asked after squatter allegedly took over mansion

A former top television executive is warning others about California's squatters laws after he lost millions of dollars in rent and property damage because of a squatter, according to a new report.

"The laws in California are crazy. I tell everyone all the time, ‘Do not rent your home. In California, you have no rights whatsoever,’" Steve McPherson recently told Los Angeles Magazine. 

McPherson, who was the head of ABC Entertainment from 2004-2010, rented out his $12 million Santa Monica mansion during COVID to an Indian businessman and his family while he and his own family relocated to Napa Valley. However, after his six-month lease was up, the tenant, Gaurav Kumar Srivastava, refused to move out, LA Magazine reported

"My family was terrorized by this man. He held our home hostage for months without paying rent. He sold my furniture, broke into our wine cellar and ransacked our home," McPherson recalled.


Former TV executive on backdrop of Hollywood sign

Former President of ABC Entertainment Steve McPherson slammed California's "crazy" squatters' rights laws after he lost millions due to a squatter who took over his Los Angeles mansion.

When McPherson's housekeeper returned to the Los Angeles home as the end of the six-month lease neared, she discovered that most of the McPherson family's furniture was missing and his collection of vintage wines was missing from the cellar. After rushing back to his property, Srivastava refused to let the homeowner in and he had to call the police to enter his own property, McPherson claims.

"Here was this fat, schlubby disgruntled guy in my own house glaring at me," McPherson later described the encounter. He accused the squatter of lying to the police about his missing furniture and wine collection. He claims the property was never recovered.

McPherson has filed a civil lawsuit against Srivastava accusing him of refusing to leave his home or pay rent for an additional five months, LA Magazine's report said.

At the end of the ordeal, he reported losing $2 million from unpaid rent, as well as damage and theft to his property. He filed a criminal complaint with the LAPD but the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office declined to press charges against Srivastava, according to the report.


Pacific Palisades

Steve McPherson's mansion, located in Pacific Palisades in Los Angeles, was taken over by a squatter for months, he says. (Getty Images)

placeholderHis nightmare experience has left him frustrated by the blue state's laws on property rights.

"What does it take to get prosecuted in Los Angeles?" he asked.

The alleged squatters, Srivastava and his wife Sharon, reportedly run in prominent circles in Los Angeles and have donated large sums of money to Democrats, the report said.

Srivastava has given thousands of dollars to various Democratic campaigns, including large donations to the Biden campaign. In March, the campaign froze a nearly $290,000 donation from Srivastava after concerns were raised about its legality, according to Politico.

The businessman has been accused of conning several other influential people, according to other lawsuits filed in federal and local courts, Los Angeles Magazine reported.

"We are the least famous of his fraud victims," McPherson said to the local outlet. "The biggest question I have is why he hasn’t been arrested for all of these crimes he is now accused of. What does it take to get locked up in California?"

Fox News Digital reached out to Gaurav Kumar Srivastava and Steve McPherson and the Los Angeles County D.A.'s Office for comment.

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