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The Real Deal Los Angeles

Despite guilty plea, South Park skyscraper tied to Ben Neman advances

The developer has passed ownership to another Neman, records show
By Natalie Hoberman | October 05, 2018 11:30AM

Renderings of the Olympic Tower (Credit: Nardi Associates)

Convicted fraudster Morad “Ben” Neman appears to have passed ownership for a 58-story skyscraper being built on the site of a South Park car wash to another Neman.

Business registration records and a draft environmental impact report, published Thursday, reveal that Shahin “Simon” Neman, a Beverly Hills-based attorney, became the sole manager for Olymfig26, the project applicant, on Sept. 24.

Ben Neman first proposed plans to redevelop the car wash on the corner of Olympic Boulevard and Figueroa Street into a mixed-use project in late 2015, about a year after he paid $25 million to acquire the property.

His plans got derailed late last year when he and his brother, Hersel Neman, plead guilty to charges of tax fraud and money laundering, respectively, for using their textile company to launder $370,000 from an undercover agent posing as a cash courier.

Despite the ownership change, plans for the site have remained largely unchanged.

The high-rise would include 65,000 square feet, or three floors, of retail space, 33,500 square feet of office space, 373 hotel rooms and 374 condos, according to the environmental report. There would also be a six-story, underground parking structure, a conference room and landscaped atrium.

Renderings by architecture firm Nardi Associates portray a flashy structure with large LED panels on the building’s exterior.

Curbed first reported the news.

The relationship between the Nemans remains unclear. A source familiar with the project said Ben Neman, despite facing years in prison, is still involved. The Nemans could not be reached for comment.

In late June, Ben and Hersel Neman resurfaced when they filed a complaint against a former investment partner who they said stole money from them. They are seeking $40 million in losses and damages from Saeed Farkhondehpour, according to the lawsuit.