Decision day on Mohamed Hadid’s Bel Air spec mansion is closing in after a judge killed two attempts by Hadid’s lawyers this week to delay the trial on his 30,000-square foot, 901 Strada Vecchia abode, which already faces a demolition order.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Craig Karlan on Tuesday ordered that a civil court trial — pitting Hadid against Strada Vecchia neighbors including attorney Joe Horacek — would begin March 17 in Santa Monica, with Bel Air neighbors seeking an unspecified amount of money from Hadid.
Karlan dismissed a motion by James Zelloe, Hadid’s longtime lawyer but not his primary representation in this case, to delay the trial because Zelloe stated he is ill.
The judge also nixed a motion to delay the case until an appellate court decides upon Hadid’s challenge of Karlan’s initial demolition order. The order, issued in November, started the process of Hadid turning the property over to court-appointed receiver, Douglas Wilson.
In a court filing earlier this month, Wilson stated his intention to begin tearing down the mansion on May 4th.
Horacek and three co-plaintiffs filed a lawsuit against Hadid in 2018 arguing that the hilltop estate was structurally unsafe to the point it could slide down the hill.
The plaintiffs called for the property’s demolition, and also sought monetary damages, claiming that Hadid’s creation diminished the value and livability of their own Bel Air residences. Hadid’s counterclaim — that Horacek asked for $3 million in exchange for leaving the developer alone — is not set to be heard at next month’s trial.
The trial may provide answers to the relationship between Hadid and the city of Los Angeles, who are listed as co-defendants in the case. Multiple current and former city employees are scheduled to testify regarding their relationship with Hadid. Already one former city employee, Anthony Anderson, has been investigated by the FBI over allegedly taking gifts valued at more than $25,000 from Hadid.
Hadid himself did not appear in court Tuesday, and said in an interview that he has been focused on other development projects of late including a massive residential complex in Cairo that will, “provide housing for ordinary people,” with prices listed at $70,000 to $180,000.
“We are busy around the world, and not everything is for millionaires and billionaires. We do a lot of things for the average Freds and Sammys,” Hadid said.
The developer added he has grown tired of the Horacek dispute, and suggested both sides direct their energy to helping the 59,000 homeless people living in Los Angeles County. “I wish Horacek and I could just sit down and figure out something to help the homeless,” Hadid said.