Mohamed Hadid just wants a little gratitude
For Mohamed Hadid, hikers crossing his Franklin Canyon property are not necessarily a problem in and of themselves. But in the midst of a very public campaign against the millionaire developer, called Hills vs. Hadid– Hadid says he can’t help but think of them as a little ungrateful.
“I’m happy to see them take advantage of my property, but don’t say I can’t develop it. I have my rights like any other right in the United States, ”said Hadid. “It was never a public servitude.
Sitting in a conference room in his attorney’s Century City skyscraper, the international development mogul and father of famous models Gigi and Bella Hadid describes his dismay at the continued outcry against him. He grows nostalgic for a time when people appreciated his contributions and made sure to thank him, such as when he donated land to the Aspen Institute in the late 1980s and the think tank on research honored him with a plaque which remains on the site today.
Here in LA, Hadid is a far cry from Aspen and the kind of public sentiment that brings praise instead of acrimony. His senior lawyer, Jeff Reeves, describes the situation in terms that seem to capture what his ultra-rich client is feeling: “He should be thanked profusely,” Reeves says. Instead, “almost perversely he is vilified.”
Reeves continues, “You can see a very similar situation to this where people then display a notice board: ‘Thank you Mohamed Hadid for 20 years of allowing us to wander and enjoy your beautiful private property. “
For years, Hadid tried to develop a series of mega-sticks on land on the east ridge of Franklin Canyon at the top of the Hastain Hiking Trail, a pursuit that drew an unflattering barrage of cover. For Hadid and Reeves, the problem is with private property rights coupled with a misguided public perception that they say is intentionally fueled by people who may have secret plans for the land.
Hadid doesn’t understand why the neighbors are focusing on her development of the local hills. It points to a map of the area and identifies 40-50 homes on 30 acres, then 72 homes in North Beverly Park. Hills all over Los Angeles are being developed and celebrities like Magic Johnson “all live on the hillside.”
“Isn’t it okay for me to own hills?” But is it good that other people are building on the hillside? Hadid wonders. “This is my mountain. Their views are towards my mountain, so they don’t want to build anything there.
He focuses on a particular house: “Alex’s house is right there,” Hadid says.
Alex is Prince Alexander von Fürstenberg, an entrepreneurial investor and the son of famous fashion designers.
Her alleged role in Hadid’s Franklin Canyon saga has become public in recent months as Hadid attempts to prevent her stake in the 72-acre property from being auctioned for multi-million dollar debt that turned into into a complex legal battle.
Reeves sued von Fürstenberg on Hadid’s behalf last month, describing in court records a broken friendship between two elite Angelenos whose plans for a historic partnership imploded in a contentious fight with seemingly high stakes for hikers who love Franklin Canyon.
The lawsuit also names Give Back LLC as a defendant, whose director, Beverly Hills attorney Ronald Richards, became a so-called white knight to save the besieged hiking oasis of Franklin Canyon from predatory development.
Hadid owns the property through two debt-covered and bankrupt LLCs. But Richards bought the debt through Give Back LLC, and he’s been trying to foreclose on the property for weeks. Hadid believes that von Fürstenberg is behind Richards’ efforts, and it is alleged in the lawsuit to be a scheme that involves von Fürstenberg using his knowledge of Hadid’s debt problems to try to take full ownership.
“The last thing Give Back wants is a commercially reasonable sale,” the lawsuit says. “Rather, he wants a quiet sale where he is the only bidder so that he can get the property cheaply through a credit offer.” Neither Von Fürstenberg nor his lawyer responded to a request for comment.
So far, court rulings have been in favor of Hadid. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Elaine Mandel threatened to halt a previous auction scheduled for last month, but Richards instead called off the sale on his own. Hadid then accepted a $ 26.3 million judgment that officially recognizes the money he owes Richards’s LLC, so Richards rescheduled the sale.
But Hadid considers that this judgment is irrelevant to the question submitted to Judge Mandel. He just doesn’t believe Give Back will give him back the land even if he pays for it because the LLC hasn’t committed to a clear appraisal price.
Mandel sided with his side on Wednesday, June 9, stopping an auction that Give Back had scheduled for Thursday after Reeves argued that it was still too hastily organized and poorly advertised to attract serious buyers and that he rather, it would be a fictitious sale to Give Back. The sale is now slated for July 26, with lawyers due to return before Mandel on July 23.
In the meantime, the judge has ordered Reeves and Richards to negotiate a marketing plan for the auction, which she says can only take place after a bankruptcy judge considers a separate legal offer. to sell the rights to the debt currently held by Hadid’s two bankrupt LLCs. . This would essentially give the buyer ownership of the land and prevent Richards from making his own sale.
In court last Wednesday, Richards said he didn’t expect the sale to attract much attention
“If there were buyers there, then they had already bought it. It’s not like there’s a line of competing buyers. These are all delay tactics to hang on, ”Richards told Mandel.
Reeves said Judge Hadid heard from potential buyers for the property, but says one of them was already scared after Beverly Hills residents threatened to ostracize him from the community.
“We are very concerned that any buyer who might come to Mr. Hadid’s rescue will be scared,” Reeves said in court on Wednesday. “Mr. Richards has a platform on Twitter that he’s not afraid to use to disparage my client. He uses it all the time for this purpose.
For what it’s worth, Hadid has more followers – 77,200 versus 14,500 for Richards – but Hadid uses the platform sparingly, supporting Palestine and retweeting her daughters.
During a telephone conversation on Monday with Los AngelesRichards said he is filing “two huge petitions,” including one in the Hadid bankruptcy case that calls for an emergency hearing to identify the alleged potential buyer of Hadid.
He says the property has value only for a philanthropist who wants to preserve it “and not try to run into [through] an abusive development that aggravates all the neighbors.
In response to Richards’ request, a bankruptcy judge ordered Hadid on Tuesday to release additional information about the potential buyer.
During this time, the fire road which also serves as an extension of the Hastain trail remains open. Hadid tried to shut it down a few weeks ago, but people have demolished the signs on several occasions, and Reeves said in court that “people are hiking on the property to this day.”
Just in time for summer.
Meghann M. Cuniff is a freelance legal journalist. It‘on Twitter @meghannuniff.
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