Neighbors accuse L.A. of abetting illegal Bel Air spec mansion

Attorney claims city knew and failed to stop illegal construction

Nov.November 09, 2018 05:49 PM
Mohamed Hadid and his mansion in Bel Air (Credit: Google Maps, Getty Images)

The drama surrounding a partially constructed mega-mansion in Bel Air continues to deepen, and now involves complaints against the City of Los Angeles.

Residents in Bel Air that live near developer Mohamed Hadid’s spec mansion – where construction has been halted since 2014 – are now alleging in their lawsuit that the city knew and failed to stop illegal construction, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The residents’ lawsuit against Hadid aims to force him to tear it down. During that court battle, City investigator Randolph Osborne gave a deposition last month in which he said that a Los Angeles building inspector received “items of value” in connection with the project on Strada Vecchia Road. Osborne shared his information with the FBI, which he said is also investigating the matter.

Jeff Costell, an attorney representing Hadid, has said the developer did not provide anything of value to a building inspector.

In the new claims, George Soneff, who represents the neighbors, argues that Osborne confirmed what “many had long suspected” — that “absent corruption at the L.A. Dept. of Building & Safety, the massively illegal Hadid development could not have been built,” and that the city was aware of wrongdoing by Hadid.

New claims against Hadid include accusations of fraud and deceit. The neighbors allege Hadid attempted to hide illegal construction, and that key documents had been destroyed or intentionally misplaced. Costell denied those allegations as well.

Soneff has said the alleged items of value could be the answer to what the neighbors have been asking: “How in the world could this massive illegal structure have been built in full view of city building inspectors?”

The city attorney’s office said it would review the complaint and had no further comment as of Friday, according to the Times. [LAT] – Gregory Cornfield

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