Posted: Friday, February 16, 2018 – 10:42 AM
A group of Bel-Air residents are taking celebrity megamansion developer Mohamed Hadid back to court over the illegal construction at his 901 Strada Vecchia project.
In a filing on behalf of Bel-Air Residents Joe and Beatriz Horacek and John and Judith Bedrosian, the group’s attorney Victor de la Cruz states that the residents are appealing an Erosion Control Plan approved by the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety (LADBS) in 2017 “that is nothing more than an illegal scheme aimed at disguising significant amounts of grading that require discretionary entitlements and California Environmental Quality Act review for the entire project.”
The residents are appealing an Erosion Control Plan approved by LADBS allowed 2,283 cubic yards of grading, which the filing says brings the total amount of grading at the site to date to 14,199.69 cubic yards – all without a single valid grading permit having ever been issued to the project.
“Approximately 17,000 cubic yards of grading has now taken place at the Site without the issuance of a single valid grading permit or required discretionary approval.” De la Cruz writes.
A maximum of 6,000 cubic yards of grading are allowed without discretionary entitlements, which makes it puzzling that Hadid was ever allowed additional grading at the site.
“Simply put,” writes De la Cruz in the lawsuit. “LADBS erred in allowing Mr. Hadid to subsume grading under an erosion control plan to somehow evade discretionary review.”
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.
In the time since, as the case toiled in the court system for nearly two years, Hadid eventually pled no contest to misdemeanor charges stemming from the illegal construction at the site.
All the while, as Hadid has allegedly tried to bring the project into compliance, residents say work has apparently been continuing at the site.
Last October, LADBS officials confirmed to the Courier they ordered the removal of new elements inside the home – including ceiling lights, detailed woodworking, furniture and paintings.
These incidents appeared to fly under the LADBS’ radar until it was brought to their attention by a group of determined residents who took street-level pictures of the work inside the house.
De la Cruz and the group of Bel-Air residents believe that the Erosion Control Plan is simply a way for Hadid to continue work under the nose of inspectors.
“They’re essentially trying to hide the ball on all the grading quantities,” De la Cruz told the Courier by phone Thursday. “What we’re saying is that Hadid needs to request all these entitlements from the city, and I think he’s concerned about it because he doesn’t want a public process.”
De la Cruz said the project simply cannot go forward without discretionary review and that short of doing that, the project should be completely torn down.
“The subject erosion control plan is more of the same, and the notion that this project may somehow be retroactively brought into compliance through by-right permits – without a single discretionary entitlement or discretionary review – is a charade that needs to end now once and for all.”
The appeal is the latest in a string of bad press for Hadid, whom The Hollywood Reporter revealed Wednesday was the subject, along with Guess co-founder Paul Marciano, of a police report filed Tuesday evening by 23-year-old aspiring model Miranda Vee, alleging sexual harassment and assault.
According to TMZ, Vee first made the allegations in a since-deleted social media post. After the initial accusation went public, The Hollywood Reporter said: “Hadid admitted that he had met with Vee, who claimed to be a fan, but that ‘it was not a date and not once did I touch her.’”