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CBRE files bombshell suit against former employee, Koreatown developer threatens to use assault weapon over project dispute, and more…

Los Angeles briefs
By TRD L.A. staff | April 01, 2018 01:00PM

Architect Frank Gehry and the iconic Walt Disney Concert Hall (Credit: Getty Images)

Frank Gehry chosen to design Downtown performing arts center

Frank Gehry has been tapped to design the campus extension for the performing arts Colburn School. Once completed, it will mark the third Gehry-designed building in three blocks in Downtown L.A.

The project, located along Grand Avenue between Olive and Hill streets, will feature a 1,100-seat concert hall and a 700-seat studio theater for dance and vocal performances. There will also be a 100-seat theater for smaller shows, along with classrooms, dance studios and housing for students, the Los Angeles Times reported. Details about the project’s costs and timeline were not available.

Gehry, 89, is also designing Related Companies’ the Grand, a $1 billion mixed-use project set to include residential units, a 20-story hotel and 200,000 square feet of retail. The project will rise across the street from one of Gehry’s most recognizable works, the Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Local developer threatened to use assault weapon over project dispute

Jamison Services’ founder, Dr. David Lee, one of Koreatown’s biggest landlords, allegedly threatened to use an AR-15 assault weapon to keep protesters off the site of his latest project, according to a new report in CityWatch.

The LAPD is now investigating the incident, which took place on Feb. 23, when Lee, along with Jamison president Garrett Lee and attorney Allen Park, met with City Council President Herb Wesson and key aides at Wesson’s district office. Also in attendance were Anne Kim and Annette Van Duren from Save Liberty Park, a community advocacy group that has campaigned against the project, and Marcello Vavala from the Los Angeles Conservancy.

The group discussed Jamison’s site at 3700 Wilshire Boulevard, where the developer wants to build a 36-story mixed-use tower with more than 500 rental units. Save Liberty Park has been pushing the city to designate Liberty Park a historic-cultural monument. If it receives that status, Jamison would be prevented from demolishing the park pending a review by the Cultural Heritage Commission.

During the meeting, Lee allegedly told the Save Liberty Park members that if the group didn’t let him build, he would use his AR-15 rifle to shoot people who step on his land. Lee’s alleged comments came just days after the school massacre in Parkland, Florida, where a 19-year-old male allegedly killed 17 people, the majority of them students, with an AR-15 style semiautomatic rifle.

In a statement to The Real Deal last month, Lee said the following: “For 30 years in the Korean community in Los Angeles, I have prided myself on my ability to enjoy a congenial relationship with everyone. Unfortunately … comments by me were misunderstood by valued friends and to those individuals I sincerely apologize.”

CBRE files bombshell suit against former employees

CBRE filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging that Richard Rizika, a former vice chairman, stole proprietary information and trade secrets from the brokerage before leaving to launch his own competing firm.

After three decades at CBRE, Rizika, a top producer, left the firm on Feb. 23. His core group at the South Bay Retail Services team, Mitchell Hernandez and Alexander Saks, exited on the same day.

Hernandez and Saks then joined Rizika in his new brokerage, Beta Retail. As of March 1, 11 other CBRE brokers and employees had resigned to join Rizika’s firm.

According to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court, CBRE claims Rizika and Hernandez had been plotting their departure for months. The two led a team to illegally download half a million documents from the company’s password-protected online database, starting as early as June, the suit alleges. Those documents include rent rolls, stacking plans, contracts, marketing plans and financial information.

Rizika and Hernandez did not return requests for comment.

In addition to Rizika, Hernandez, Beta Retail and Placer Labs, CBRE also listed 10 unnamed defendants, presumably the former company employees and brokers who joined the new firm.