An investigation by the Broward County Property Appraiser’s office concluded the pair has been living in the home illegally for 15 years
A South Florida home known for its over-the-top Christmas lights was revealed to have been illegally occupied for almost two decades, an investigation found.
Kathy Hyatt, a realtor, and her ex-husband Mark, who died in 2020, allegedly “squatted” in the Plantation, Florida, home for 15 years, according to legal documents obtained by PEOPLE from the Broward County Property Appraiser’s investigation. Per the report, there was never a title on the property and it had a “forged deed.”
The Appraiser’s office dubbed the investigation “The Nightmare Before Christmas” as the Hyatts were known for going all out with their holiday decorations, covering the house in thousands of colored string lights, festive figures and large glowing lawn ornaments, earning it the nickname the “Hyatt Extreme Christmas” house. Even that caused some conflicts with neighbors and the city of Plantation over the years.
"There were some legal issues and complaints between the city of plantation and the Hyatts that stemmed from the Christmas lights situation,” Vivian Gallinal, Crimes Against Property Investigator at the appraiser’s office, tells PEOPLE.
Marty Kiar, the Broward County Property Appraiser, said his office is seeking justice for county taxpayers.
“I am proud of our Crimes Against Property Team for shining the light on the fraud that took place as I am hopeful it will bring the innocent victims a little comfort,” he said in a statement to PEOPLE. “Further, our office is rightfully back taxing the property in the amount of thousands of dollars as our Broward County taxpayers are also the victims of fraud and deserve to be made whole.”
The Homestead Exemption back taxes against the property are $34,724.68, per the appraiser’s office.
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While the statute of limitations are up for any criminal charges, according to Gallinal, there is now the issue of who rightfully owns the home to resolve.
“That part is being sorted out and we're attempting to determine that. But that takes some time,” she added.
PEOPLE reached out to Kathy Hyatt, but she declined to comment on the matter.
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Read the original article on People.