Posted Thursday, April 20, 2017 – 6:30 PM
By Matt Lopez
Mohamed Hadid could be nearing a guilty plea in the criminal trial over the 901 Strada Vecchia megamansion he developed in Bel Air.
Thursday morning in Van Nuys Superior Court, attorneys for both Hadid and the L.A. City Attorney’s office met in private for close to an hour. After emerging from the meeting, Hadid’s attorneys indicated that their client was nearing a guilty plea, with a few more conditions to still be worked out.
It is believed that Hadid would seek conditions saying that in exchange for a guilty plea, sentencing would be delayed for a yet-to-be-decided period of time, within which he can bring the property into compliance with Los Angeles building code.
In that scenario, if Hadid does bring it into compliance within that time frame, the criminal conviction would be erased. If not, he would then face sentencing.
Hadid’s attorney Robert Shapiro argued Thursday in open court that sentencing would need to be delayed because of concerns that, with a criminal conviction on his record, Hadid would be unable to secure a construction loan to bring the property into compliance.
Don Cocek of the L.A. City Attorney’s office said Thursday that there were no federal regulations prohibiting anyone with a criminal conviction from receiving a loan.
It is unknown what Hadid’s punishment would be if convicted. L.A. City Attorney Deputy Chief Tina Hess said Thursday that Hadid would not be facing jail time. It’s possible that Hadid could be looking at a mix of a fine and public service, along with a possible ban on building in Los Angeles for a period of time.
The nearly 30,000-square-foot property ran afoul of residents and L.A. city officials back when it was under development in 2014.
In 2015, LADBS inspectors cracked down on the property, ruling all unapproved construction, which they said included features like retaining walls, concrete decks and an underground theater, were to be removed.
Since then, the case has been toiling in the court system.
Victor De la Cruz, attorney for Joe Horacek, a resident who lives directly below the massive home, fired off a letter this week to L.A. building officials, noting that any future work done on the project “will require the issuance of discretionary entitlements and California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review prior to proceeding.”
De la Cruz also called for the project to be declared a public nuisance and that a remediation plan be required, “in order to rectify the various illegalities that have plagued this project’s development from day one.”
A follow-up hearing has been scheduled for May 9. The City Attorney did not return a request for comment before Thursday’s deadline.