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The Real Deal Los Angeles

Burbank landlord missing in Saudi Arabia, sued for overcharging tenant $4.2 million in rent

Landlord charged LA firm for 8,000 square feet “that simply does not exist,” suit alleges
By Dennis Lynch | May 10, 2018 03:59PM

2950 N. Hollywood Way and Prince Abdul Aziz bin Fahd

In a case rife with Middle Eastern intrigue, a Burbank tenant is suing its landlord in a Los Angeles court for allegedly overcharging it $4.2 million in rent and holding another $4.6 million “hostage.”

Entertainment Partners, a human resources firm, filed suit in Los Angeles Superior Court on May 4 alleging its landlord at 2950 N. Hollywood Way falsified the square footage on its lease and was charging the firm for 8,000 square feet of space that “simply does not exist,” according to the complaint.

Entertainment Partners, based in Burbank, will have a tough time pursuing the case.

Property records list Chicago-based Falcon Real Estate Investment Management and Saudi Prince Abdul Aziz bin Fahd as the owners of the property. Records show they purchased the property in 2005. Falcon’s president, Jack D. Miller, said his firm was an advisor and asset manager for the Saudi prince, but was “pushed out” by  a company led by Teresa Tsai in 2010.

Tsai’s current company, Treeview Real Estate Advisors, appears to be linked to the property. That company has ties a London firm that purchased the property on behalf of the prince, who’s been incognito following Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s November purges in Saudi Arabia. There were rumors that he was killed resisting arrest, but the state quickly denied them.

Tsai is listed as an officer of 38 active companies and was listed as an officer in another 113 that are currently inactive. She could not be reached for comment.

Far from the political infighting in Saudi Arabia, Entertainment Partners is looking to get some of its money back over the allegedly willful misrepresentation of square footage. The firm said that the parties agreed to a lease in August for 132,727 square feet of space, or most of the building, but measurements by two outside contractors conducted after the lease was executed found the actual square footage added up to about 8,000 square feet less, the complaint said.

The suit claims that Tsai tried to dissuade Entertainment Partners from re-measuring the square footage of the property and that Garg refused to “renegotiate” with the firm following the independent measurement.

One contractor determined that the landlord tweaked the math used to calculate use of a common area to arrive at its inflated square-footage measurement, according to the suit.

Entertainment Partners is also suing for $5 million it claims the landlord agreed to reimburse it for “a multimillion-dollar tenant improvement program” it undertook in 2016 before moving into the space in March 2017. That included adding 80 new offices and 49 conference rooms, along with upgrading sprinkler and HVAC systems.

The complaint alleges Falcon withheld that payment “to ensure it would continue to receive its fraudulently induced, above-market rent.”

The three-story building on North Hollywood Way was formerly known as Starz Plaza for its anchor tenant, Starz Entertainment. It was built in 2001.