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What’s Mohamed Hadid Doing in Franklin Canyon?

  • February 27, 2021

What happens in Franklin Canyon won’t change any of that, but in a time when respites mean so much — standing on a beloved trail, in a strand of old growth, around a duck pond with loved ones — what happens here is of consequence, not just to the very rich.

“The community is up in arms,” said Shawn Bayliss, an ex-city employee now at the Bel-Air Association. “If neighbors aren’t there with torches, you can moan all you want.”

As Covid hit and construction sputtered, neighbors flocked to Nextdoor, the community message board. Steven Weinberg, a lawyer who started a group called Hillsides Against Hadid, put up signs on trails and used drones to document violations, which he shared with the courts. “I have nothing against building a reasonable dwelling but he’s interfering with the environment, wildlife, public trail access,” he said. “You can’t put into words what he’s done to that hillside until you see it.”

Today, the plateau is a pockmarked foundation; Mr. Richards said Mr. Hadid owes millions in state and federal tax liens. He’s seeking an April summary judgment, but the last few weeks have been delay after delay, he said. “Hadid’s daughter had a baby, he was traveling, always some excuse,” Mr. Richards said. “He wrote me letters to delay foreclosure, and I asked for evidence of a lender. If they have a lender, it’ll be easy. If not, it just delays the inevitable. He’s never presented anything that makes sense.”

In court documents, Mr. Hadid said at least one lender offered to cover his debts, declining after finding Mr. Weinberg’s signs, which “deterred and undermined the debtors’ attempts to refinance the loan.”

What’s next? Aram Ordubegian, Mr. Hadid’s bankruptcy lawyer, said in an interview that it was impossible to say. “We’re not at the end of the story yet.”

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