Neighbors who forced the demolition of famed real estate mogul Mohamed Hadid’s notorious Los Angeles mega-mansion have been awarded $2.6 million toward the cost of legal fees they paid during nearly five years of bitter court battles with the maverick developer.
“I feel vindicated,” neighborhood leader Joe Horacek, 81, told DailyMail.com. Now I just want Hadid to pay up and go.
But Hadid, 74, angrily denounced Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Craig Karlan’s decision to force him to pay his opponents’ lawyers’ fees, telling DailyMail.com: “This is a joke. , it’s crazy,” and threatened to sue the neighbors “for two or three hundred million dollars.
Mohamed Hadid vows to fight the $2.6 million legal fees awarded to him. “This is a joke, it’s crazy,” he told DailyMail.com.
“I feel vindicated,” neighbor Joe Horacek (pictured at his front door before the mega-mansion was demolished) told DailyMail.com. “Now I just want Hadid to pay and leave”
An artist’s rendering shows what the mega-mansion would have looked like had it been completed.
The saga about the giant house in luxurious Bel Air, which Hadid hoped to sell for $100 million, began in 2015 when he was criminally indicted by the City of Los Angeles for refusing to comply with ‘stop work’ orders issued because the structure doubled. she originally allowed 15,000 square feet, earning her the nickname ‘Starship Enterprise’.
The city ordered Hadid, father of supermodels Bella and Gigi Hadid and star of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, to downsize the home to meet planning standards or tear it down. But by 2018, none of those orders had been obeyed.
Hadid has promised to file a lawsuit against Horacek (pictured) for millions
So, the residents directly below the massive hilltop mansion, accusing the city of delaying compliance with their orders, filed a civil lawsuit, alleging that the huge, illegally built “eyesore” teetering on top of them, with their own 70-seat IMAX theater, could come crashing down the hill and destroy their homes.
In November 2019, after hearing from engineers and architects, Judge Karlan agreed with the suing neighbors, Horacek and his wife Bibi, as well as John and Judith Bedrosian, declaring Hadid’s mansion a “danger.” clear and present” to the local community, and ordered it to stop. be shot down
The neighbors’ battle with the Palestinian-American businessman reached its climax two years later, in September 2021, at the end of a six-week trial when the jury in Judge Karlan’s Santa Monica courtroom awarded the Horaceks and Bedrosian a total of $2.9 million. in damage.
Hadid claimed victory because that award was only a fraction of the $26 million the neighbors were seeking in damages.
Also, the $2.6 million in legal fees Judge Karlan awarded this week, the judge’s last decision before retiring from the court at 56, was nowhere near the $9 million neighbors estimated they spent on lawyers.
Still, Horacek, a retired entertainment lawyer whose clients have included movie star Michael Douglas and television’s Dr. Phil, told DailyMail.com he feels “vindicated” by the judge’s ruling to grant the motion. from neighbors for legal fees, even though they won It won’t cover the amount he and his fellow residents paid.
Hadid, 74, angrily denounced the decision to pay her opponents’ legal fees, telling DailyMail.com: “This is a joke”, threatening to sue “for two or three hundred million dollars”.
The mega-mansion nicknamed ‘Starship Enterprise’ is seen being demolished in February 2022
All that now remains of the dream mansion Mohamed Hadid envisioned would rise above Bel Air
“In awarding legal fees, the judge saw clearly that we were not only suing Hadid for our own benefit, but also for the safety of our entire neighborhood, which was endangered by Hadid’s project.” he said.
Asked if he and the other neighbors who sued had received any of the $2.9 million in damages the jury awarded them, Horacek laughed, saying, “We haven’t seen a dime from Hadid.” We’ll have to hire people to go after their assets if we want to get paid.
‘Hadid claims to be broke. But I bet he’s coming to the Cannes Film Festival this year… on a private jet!
Hadid scoffed at the judge’s award of $2.6 million in legal fees to her former enemies.
“This is a joke,” he told DailyMail.com. ‘This is a judge who ordered my house to be demolished before there was a trial. How can that happen?
‘And then after I win at trial, do I have to pay his legal fees? It’s crazy.’
Hadid has a pending appeal against the $2.9 damages against her. He said he, too, would be appealing this week’s $2.6 million legal fees he was ordered to pay.
And after the appeals are decided, he added: ‘I will file a lawsuit against Horacek and the others. I’m going after them for two or three hundred million dollars.
The neighbors fought for years over the demolition of the property due to all the unapproved construction. The development of the house has also been an eyesore for nearby residents.
Meanwhile, the demolition of their dream home that once dominated the skyline began last year and is now complete…much to the Horaceks’ relief.
“We’re very happy that we can look out and not see that monstrosity, and not have to worry about it coming down on us,” Joe said.
During the trial in 2021, the neighbors’ legal team painted a picture of the Horaceks and elderly Bedrosians who were unable to enjoy their golden years in the quiet and peace of quiet Bel Air due to the daily specter of Hadid’s massive structure. about them.
They told harrowing stories of how 10 years of construction work on the Strada Vecchia mansion brought ‘stress, anxiety, constant fear and sleepless nights’ into their daily lives.
And they told the jury that they feared it could slide down a hill and crash into their homes directly below because its foundation did not meet safety standards and it was built on top of a hill where illegal grading (moving tons of earth) made that the steep slopes on which it sits are unstable and prone to landslides.
The 74-year-old Palestinian-American real estate mogul now says he wants to sue his neighbors for $2-300 million after losing his dream home.
Hadid is the father of supermodel Bella Hadid, 26, and her sister Gigi, 27.
Hadid took up a defense of denial during the trial. He denied violating building regulations. He denied bribing city building inspectors to turn a blind eye to construction work being done without permits.
And he denied that the mansion’s weak foundations and the unstable hillside on which it is built pose a risk to other homes in the community.
Hadid tried various legal moves to try to stop or delay the demolition. He first filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, claiming he “couldn’t afford” the $5 million demo cost. That was ruled out.
He then filed an appeal against Judge Karlan’s order to tear down the giant house. That too was denied.
He went to the California Supreme Court to try to save his project. But the state supreme court torpedoed his efforts, refusing to even hear the case.
Still undeterred, Hadid’s lawyers filed a second appeal, this time against Judge Karlan’s decision to appoint a trustee to oversee the house’s destruction. She also lost that appeal.
In January 2022, Hadid’s legal team filed a third appeal, this one against the $2.9 million judgment awarded to the neighbors by the jury in the civil trial. That is still pending.