The wife of a Cantor Fitzgerald executive accused of squatting at a $5million Hamptons home broke down in tears this week as she explained that the couple and their two children have nowhere else to go.
‘I’m not squatting, I’m just trying to keep my kids with a roof over their heads,’ Stephanie Pion told DailyMail.com outside the gated four-bed, three-bath property Thursday.
Stephanie and her husband Paul Pion, the chief administrative officer of the Manhattan finance firm, have remained at their $10,000-a-month Water Mill rental despite their two-year lease expiring on May 31.
In a lawsuit filed against the Pions last Friday, the owner of the Long Island property claimed the wealthy couple were exploiting New York’s Covid-19 moratorium barring eviction and refusing to vacate the house.
The filing claims the Pions have another home in Manhattan and have been using ‘shifty’ means to stay at the rental – which has also allegedly been in a state of disarray.
But Stephanie, 39, has insisted ‘there’s no truth’ to the allegations, claiming she’s just trying to care for her two children, ages six and 11, while they search for a new place to live.
Stephanie Pion broke down in tears on Thursday as she addressed claims that she and her husband Paul Pion, the chief administrative officer of Cantor Fitzgerald, were squatting at a $5million Hamptons house
The mother-of-two, 39, tearfully explained she and her family have nowhere else to go, before dropping to her knees on the driveway and pleading for ‘more time’
Stephanie and Paul have been renting out a property in Water Mill for the past two years for $10,000 a month, but a court document claims their lease ended on May 31. They are pictured in an Instagram post
‘I have two kids,’ she said tearfully before dropping to her knees on the driveway and pleaded for mercy. ‘I’m just trying to take care of them. I’ve been trying to leave. I just need more time.’
In his filing, the owner of the home revealed he found a buyer for the house and expressed concerns that the Pions could jeopardize the $4,970,000 sale, which was scheduled to close on Tuesday.
But a person close to the family told DailyMail.com that the Pions’ tenancy had been open-ended, and that the landlord failed to give them appropriate notice that their lease was being terminated which would allow for an orderly transition to leave the house.
‘Realizing now that they didn’t give proper notice, the owner is scrambling to blame someone and the purchaser is using bully tactics to force their hand,’ the Pion family associate said.
The homeowner further claimed the couple had refused to allow potential buyers to tour the home and even once removed a lawn sign saying the property was ‘IN CONTRACT.’
Earlier this week a source told the New York Post that the house looked like an episode of Hoarders, referring to the TV series that documents people who fill their homes from floor to ceiling with trash and belongings.
An appraiser who was eventually let into the house also allegedly described the place as a ‘mess’ and said ‘the occupant was crazy.’
In photos obtained by DailyMail.com, however, the house did not appear to show such signs of damage or clutter.
The lawsuit against the couple claimed they had caused damage to the property and that the house was a ‘mess’. However, photos obtained by DailyMail.com did not show such conditions
Stephanie claimed the house ‘is a very clean house’ and blamed the owners for failing to provide proper maintenance
The Pions say the house was built in the 90s and has not received proper upgrades or maintenance since
A source close to the Pions claimed the couple has spent tens of thousands of dollars of their own to maintain the properties systems ‘which are old and in need of constant repair’
The property is valued at nearly $5million, and the homeowner has found a new buyer for it
In regards to the lawsuit, Stephanie said: ‘I’m not allowed to comment because of the litigation,’ but went on to deny the claims.
‘There’s no truth to what they say,’ she added. ‘I don’t have a city apartment. I’m not a billionaire, or whatever they make me out to be.
‘The house is a very clean house. But I’m a normal person. It’s not a showhouse. It’s a teardown.
‘The house was built in the 90s and it hasn’t been touched,’ she continued. ‘The landlord never did anything.’
The filing painted the Pions as an ‘intolerable nuisance’, hosting large parties, and causing damage to the home through ‘unauthorized alterations, misuse and overuse of the household systems and lack of routine maintenance.’
But the family source told DailyMail.com: ‘The house has been a money pit for the Pions as they have spent tens of thousands of dollars to maintain the property’s systems which are old and in need of constant repair.’
The insider claimed the owner pocketed the years rent all upfront and therefore ‘had all the leverage to tell the family to make the repairs themselves.’
Stephanie also confirmed reports that she and her husband were at one point considering buying the house in 2019, but explained, cryptically, that the deal never happened.
‘He (the landlord) wanted to do it, an exchange, and I said, being a nice person, ‘okay, no problem.’ And then he didn’t put a penny into it,’ she said.
Homeowner Damian Krause has accused the couple of refusing to leave Water Mill house, but a source close to the Pions say they were not given adequate notice to vacate the property. Krause is pictured above with his wife Sharon in Water Mill, New York in 2012
The homeowner claims the Pions have become an ‘intolerable nuisance’, regularly hosting large parties and could potentially jeopardize the sale of the home
An ice cream truck was seen arriving at the home of Paul and Stephanie Pion on Thursday
The house, located on Flying Point Road, is surrounded by pine trees and not visible from the road.
It’s located about a half mile from the beach and considered modest given the luxurious estates located just down the street.
One neighbor said he’d never met the Pion family but noted he has heard music blaring from their rental, particularly on weekends when he’s seen as many as 10 to 15 cars parked in the driveway.
Aaron Appel, the buyer, told DailyMail.com that his purchase of the property is contingent on the home being vacated.
‘I have a contract with the owner,’ said Appel, who works in real estate. ‘The owner has to deliver vacant possession of the house. That’s for them to work out.’
‘This is not my fight,’ he added. ‘This is their (the Pions) fight with the existing owner.’
The property owner, Damian Krause, did not respond to DailyMail.com’s calls for comment.
The Pions, pictured in an Instagram photo, have denied claims that they have another residence in Manhattan
Last month, the New York State Legislature approved an extension of the moratorium for tenants who ‘declare a financial or medical hardship’ from the pandemic until August 31.
But the lawsuit argues that the ban on evictions ‘has no bearing here since defendants have suffered no financial hardship from it.’
‘I don’t understand, they have money,’ the insider told the New York Post. ‘The owner filed a lawsuit but can’t evict them because of COVID. That makes sense if you don’t have money.’
Stephanie on Thursday denied that the couple owned another residence and were living at the rental like hoarders, claiming it’s all part of the owners’ scheme to force them out.
‘I’m the total opposite of what they say,’ she said. ‘Honestly, I would give the shirt off my back to anyone. That’s probably why I’m in this position.
‘All I’m asking for is a little more time,’ she cried. ‘Because I need to find a place.’