Posted: Friday, December 1, 2017 – 12:10 PM
A project owned by a familiar last name in West L.A. construction problems was apparently behind a major internet and phone outage in Bel-Air this week.
Workers at 301 Copa De Oro Road were drilling through the ground during construction of a retaining wall along the property line, when they inadvertently drilled right through a Frontier Communications cable.
The mishap left many in Bel-Air without phone and internet service for almost a week.
Making matters worse was that after drilling through the cable, workers covered it with cement.
The eight-bedroom, 11,500-square-foot home was purchased last year by Yvonne Niami, according to real estate website The Real Deal. Yvonne is the estranged wife of megamansion developer Nile Niami – the pair filed for divorce in early 2017. Nile has run afoul of residents in the area more than once with his numerous construction projects.
Nile is the developer behind the infamous 944 Airole Way project and also developed 755 Sarbonne Road, which had to be essentially taken down to the studs to be re-designed after water drained from the property so badly that it caused a landslide on an adjacent property.
According to a 2015 New York Times article, a shell company tied to Nile sold the Sarbonne property to a shell company tied to Nigerian businessman Kola Aluko, who later sued Nile after the water drainage occurred. The case was settled out of court.
After digging up the cement that was placed over the damaged cables, Jason Raine from Frontier Communications worked tirelessly to get service back up and running for the dozens of residents who were affected by the outage.
Raine’s work came just in the nick of time for Bel-Air residents, who had a frustrating time contacting Frontier’s customer service main line and receiving little help from calltakers who exhibited no real sense of urgency.
“The lack of phone and internet service was frustrating… which angered many residents,” said Courier publisher Marcia Wilson Hobbs, who was affected by the outage. “By chance I had met Jason last Wednesday night on my way home from the Courier’s office when I ran into the construction crew on Copa De Oro.”
Hobbs added: “Jason gave me his contact information and he and I were in contact multiple times daily as neighbors came by my house and asked for help or information. Jason became our lifeline for information and tech visits.”