After years of courtroom battles between real estate developer Mohamed Hadid, his neighbors in Bel-Air, and city attorneys, a judge has declared that his unfinished behemoth McMansion at 901 Strada Vecchia Road must be demolished to its foundations, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Two weeks ago, Los Angeles County Superior Court judge Craig D. Karlan called the mammoth hilltop eyesore a “danger to the public” and ordered it torn down, but that order was put on hold when site owner, 901 Strada LLC, suddenly declared bankruptcy. That filing got tossed in bankruptcy court on Tuesday, where it was deemed a stalling tactic and, on Friday, Karlan declared that his ruling remains in full effect.
Hadid pleaded no contest to criminal charges in 2017 on accusations that the house was much bigger than anything he had city permits for. Neighbors even feared that his gargantuan manse would crumble the hill on them, and the city said his construction included bedrooms, decks, and an IMAX theater that were never approved, or even featured in his original proposals. He was hit with fines, community service, and ordered to present plans to stabilize the hillside.
— Spotile (@spotile) December 21, 2019
It’s unclear what, if anything, Hadid has done to that end. In a November filing, city attorneys stated that the vertical piles that anchor the building to the ground were “not drilled to the full depths specified” in construction drawings and “do not comply with the minimum reinforcing requirements of the building code.”
Russell Linch, a former construction manager on the project, has also said that the piles should have been driven deeper, adding that they have “less rebar than the minimum required” under Los Angeles building codes.
Hadid’s Bel-Air neighbors believe the city “fell down on the job” after he was sentenced, and “has refused to set and enforce any deadlines” for Hadid to do any of the work ordered.
Officials have also investigated whether a city inspector accepted items of value from Hadid—father of models Gigi and Bella—including a set of walnut cabinets. Hadid has said he would “never, ever pay an inspector” and has dismissed the proceedings as a “witch hunt,” saying he only pleaded no contest to his charges in order to “move on.”
In 2017, Hadid laughed at the idea that his mound-straddling Franken-palace would ever be undone, telling Town and Country, “Bel-Air will fall before this will.”
Estimates for the destruction of Hadid’s sky-high Xanadu run to $5 million, but it’s still not clear who will pay for it. A lawyer for Hadid says L.A. should foot bill, citing a city code about removing “a public nuisance.” Judge Karlan has said he will sign a lien that will leave Hadid and his creditors to fight it out among themselves.
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