For two years, developer Michael Hakim and the city of Los Angeles were on the same side. Activists had sued to reverse city approval on his 27-story development project in Koreatown, and Hakim’s Colony Holdings agreed to mount a legal defense alongside city lawyers. Now the city is suing Hakim.
L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer sued Hakim last week claiming he owes the city more than $220,000 for its ultimately failed defense of Hakim’s project in court last year, according to the L.A. Times. Hakim said he hasn’t yet seen the city’s suit.
The City Council approved Hakim’s 269-unit residential project in 2016 and soon after a group called “Fix The City” sued the city to reverse the approval.
The city defended the approval and required Hakim and his company Colony Holdings to reimburse it for any costs incurred. Last year a judge sided with Fix The City, reversed the approval and ordered the city to conduct a comprehensive environmental impact study of the project.
The judge also ordered the city to pay Fix The City around $211,000 in legal fees and costs, which it did. Now the city wants that reimbursement — plus other fees — from Hakim.
The suit comes just a few weeks after the L.A. Times reported that the son of Councilmember Herb Wesson — who represents the district where Hakim wants to build his tower — got a break on rent for a unit at an apartment building Hakim owns while the Koreatown project was under consideration at City Hall. L.A. County District Attorney Jackie Lacey said her office would look into the situation.
Fix the City frequently sues the city and developers over projects and programs that could lead to denser development. Last year it sued over a city plan to allow more development near Metro Expo Line stations and this year it took on the city’s Transit-Oriented Communities program. [LAT] — Dennis Lynch