Force behind campaign against Metro’s Purple Line may have a Trump card

Los Angeles /
Jul.July 09, 2018 05:00 PM
Lisa Korbatov and Donald Trump, with local officials celebrating a 2014 groundbreaking on the Metro Purple Line Extension (Credit: Neon Tommy via Flickr, Wikimedia Commons)

In Beverly Hills, an anonymous group that has been petitioning President Trump to stop a planned subway extension beneath their high school may not be so anonymous, after all.

It turns out that Lisa Korbatov, a Beverly Hills resident who is heavily involved in the city’s politics, is spearheading the campaign, and she has a direct connection to Trump, sources said. Her parents, Leonard and Selma Fisch, sold a home to him via an Egyptian pastor and alleged fraudster who appeared to be fronting for a Trump-controlled LLC, The Real Deal has learned.

And Korbatov’s own husband, Igor Korbatov, brokered the deal.

It all started in 2008, when Korbatov’s parents sold their home on Rodeo Drive to Mokless Girgis, the Egyptian pastor, for $10.3 million. Six weeks after purchasing, Girgis inexplicably transferred the 10,400-square-foot mansion to an LLC named 806 Acquisitions, property records show. The deed was transferred for no money.

That LLC, it was revealed a year later through business registration records, was created by Trump, property records show.

In another filing with the city, Girgis has claimed the deed was put in his name by mistake. An investigation by Reveal News found that Girgis has been the subject of several lawsuits alleging fraud, and has since fled the country. Girgis, as well as representatives of the Trump Organization, did not respond to requests for comment late Monday.

Less than a year after Girgis transferred the property to Trump’s LLC, Trump sold the home for $9.5 million to Tecleo Investment Corp., property records show. Michael Cohen, Trump’s former attorney and fixer who is now under investigation, also signed the deed.

Korbatov, a Trump supporter, is serving her second term as president of the Beverly Hills Unified School District Board of Education. She is also the co-owner and manager of Amalgamated Real Estate Services (ARES), a commercial real estate company that manages 20 properties in Downtown Los Angeles and on the Westside.

She did not respond to TRD’s requests for comment.

For years, Korbatov has been advocating against Metro’s plan to create a subway tunnel in the city, citing the safety of the students in the city’s sole high school as the key reason.

“Metro needs to respect our community asset, our only high school and our city’s disaster site,” she said during a re-election campaign speech late last year. “Two shallow tunnels traveling through methane gas and hydrogen sulfides and abandoned oil wells, is not safe for our students, staff nor our community.”

In the “Stop the Purple Threat” petition, the anonymous group claims a similar argument. The tunneling, they say, will “disturb pockets of deadly methane gas and hydrogen sulfide, risking the lives of and health of students and faculty.”

The group started the petition with the goal of getting 100 signatures to send to the White House. Since it went live last week, 98 people have signed the online petition.

The group has called on President Trump and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao to withhold federal funding and force the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority to re-route the Purple Line Extension away from Beverly Hills High School.


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