LOS ANGELES — On February 5, 2013, Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell (JMBM) filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court (Case # BS141623) against the City of Los Angeles on behalf of Tower Lane Properties LLP whose beneficial owner is Saudi prince Abdul-Aziz ibn Abdul-Aziz al Saud, the current Deputy Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia. The lawsuit seeks a writ of mandate to compel the city to issue the building permits and damages in the amount of $25 million caused by the city’s allegedly illegal and discriminatory conduct.
According to the complaint, the city has engaged in continuous efforts to block the project. In 2012, the city refused to apply its grading permit rules to the Tower Lane project in the same manner it had been applied to other projects for the past 40 years. In so doing, the city attempted to force Tower Lane to undergo a long and extensive process never before applied to other similarly situated projects. Tower Lane sued and prevailed in Tower Lane Properties, Inc. v. City of Los Angeles, Los Angeles Superior Court Case No.BS137339. According to JMBM lawyer Benjamin M. Reznik, the city has now manufactured new illegal obstacles to the issuance of the building permits thereby necessitating the filing of this lawsuit.
“Our client had hoped that following last year’s victory in court the city would treat his application fairly and process it without further delay. Needless to say, he is greatly disappointed and disheartened by the overt discriminatory treatment he has received,” said Reznik. “We are compelled to file this lawsuit because without judicial intervention this illegal conduct will continue unchecked,” he said.
In 2009 the prince purchased three separate but adjoining legal parcels on Tower Lane in the Benedict Canyon neighborhood. Since the mid-1920’s, these properties housed the estate of famous Hollywood film director and producer King W. Vidor. The current plans call for a single family residence on each of the three parcels and are designed in strict conformance with the city building and zoning codes.
Benedict Canyon residents Bruce Karsh and Martha Karsh have funded opposition to the prince’s proposed residence, and have personally sued the Los Angeles City Fire Department and Fire Chief Brian Cummings (Case #BS140952) for approving the prince’s plans. Bruce Karsh is the founder and President of Oaktree Capital Management, and recently became the new Chairman of The Tribune Company.
Benjamin M. Reznik