Posted: Tuesday, October 31, 2017 – 3:33 PM
By Matt Lopez
While Los Angeles Department of Building & Safety (LADBS) employees were apparently busy preparing their Halloween costumes, developer Mohamed Hadid has allegedly been adding more unpermitted work to his 901 Strada Vecchia megamansion in Bel-Air.
Residents who live nearby the nearly 30,000-square-foot home received quite a scare this week when they noticed lighting had been installed inside the home, along with furniture and paintings hanging on the wall.
Only one problem: the project had all its permits revoked in 2015 due to illegal, unpermitted construction that had occurred at the site. At that time, no lighting, art or furniture had been installed in the home. That means that since the city of Los Angeles pulled permits, construction inside the home has continued.
Short of claiming that the work was done by a team of ghosts, it’s hard to figure out what excuse Hadid – who pled no contest in July to misdemeanor charges of illegal, unpermitted construction at the megamansion – could possibly come up with for adding more unpermitted work inside the home.
When confronted with photographic evidence of the lighting inside the home, LADBS Assistant Bureau Chief Eric Jakeman appeared to be in the dark on the matter. In an e-mail obtained by the Courier, Jakeman claimed Monday that the lighting was “corded lights used for construction… being moved around and set up in different areas for illumination and do not require a permit.”
The photographs, however, tell a different story. Detailed wood working can be seen, where special inset track lighting is hung from the ceiling. There is at least one piece of art on the wall.
LADBS finally admitted as much Tuesday, when General Manager Frank Bush, in an e-mail to residents, said that inspectors visited the property Monday and “Mr. Hadid was ordered to disconnect the electrical from the sub panel by today and to move out any/all furniture from the area by Friday 11/3.”
Bush said LADBS Inspectors and managers “have been and will continue to make regular inspections” at the megamansion.
That, of course, begs the question – if inspectors “have been” making inspections previously, how could such acts have been missed in plain sight?
Bush wrote in the e-mail to residents that a pair of LADBS “executive managers” – Jakeman and Shahen Akelyan – have been assigned to “monitor” the project.
For more details and further updates on this, read Friday’s edition of the Courier.