What is Moorish American National heritage? Are they a protected group, like Native Americans?
It's our mansion now! Family of squatters invade lavish $3MILLION Memphis home, padlock the gates closed and refuse to leave
A family of squatters has broken into a $3 million mansion in Memphis, Tennessee, and are refusing to leave.
The decadent four acre residence, complete with a home theater and swimming pool, was foreclosed in August 2011 and had been sitting empty for 18 months.
But earlier this week, the squatters, claiming to be Moorish American Nationals, broke into the home, chaining the gate, and have ignored a bank-imposed deadline to vacate.
The new residents were discovered on Monday by Daniel Brown who comes every week to clean the pool at the property, located on Shady Grove Road, in a high-end neighborhood.
He said he arrived to find the gate padlocked with no trespassing signs posted to it.
The squatters, who were captured laughing in the window in local TV footage, even wrote a note on the gate claiming that the bank cannot own property and that the home, which was valued last year at $3.2 million, was theirs.
'The signage said the bank cannot own property, and that they had the original deed to the house and that they were taking them to court and there were eight other properties,' Brown told WMCTV.com.
The inhabitants, who were contacted by email, said their indigenous ancestry granted them ownership of the mansion. They added that they believe in 'love, truth, peace, freedom and justice.'
Neighbors are outraged that the squatters are bedding in on their street.
'We'll, I'm stunned really,' David Peck told WMCTV.com.
'I know the two former owners. And I knew the house was on the market, but I've never heard of anything like this.'
Another neighbor, Vallie Jo Bell, said: 'We were just really surprised. I hope they'll get out and maybe find another place to live.'
The home and property, totaling almost four acres, were valued together in 2012 at $3.2 million.
In 2006, Richard and April Rice bought the residence for $3.9 million but Renasant Bank assumed ownership in August 2011.
The mansion still has working utilities but neighbors said it doesn't have any furniture.
The bank had ordered the Moors to leave by 2:30 p.m. Wednesday but they ignored the order and remain inside the home as police and other officials try to work out how to evict them.