KRONISH HOUSE UPDATE-TITLE IS CLEAR

Today’s Beverly Hills Courier vindicates the position taken by Soda Partners, LLC at the Beverly Hills City Council meeting on Tuesday, August 2, 2011 that the title was free and clear.

The Council heard from the former owner who tried to falsely represent that title was clouded.  The City actually commissioned the City Attorneys to prepare a full report on the subject.  I gave them recorded documents and they now see the Council was almost hoodwinked.  Fortunately, the documents referenced in the BH Courier article showed that the former owner falsely represented to the Council that the title was clouded and there was a restraining order against the property.

Here are the documents referenced in the article for all of my followers and bloggers:

1.  Yashouafar Eviction Judgment

2.  Expungement Order against Yashouafar and Attorney’s Fees

3.  Recorded Abstracts against Massoud Yashouafar

Here is the article:

BEVERLY HILLS COURIER, AUGUST 4, 2011, PRINT EDITION

Neutra House Safe Until Oct. 10

By Marla Schevker Cottage.

The last remaining Beverly Hills house designed by World War II architect Richard Neutra is safe, for now. After a discussion at the Beverly Hills City Council meeting Tuesday, the L.A. Conservancy and other organizations and individuals looking to save the house have until October 10.

In an agreement between the City Council, crafted by Mayor Barry Brucker, and property owner’s attorney

Mitch Dawson, the property owners have agreed to not demolish the property until October 10 to allow an opportunity for the house to be sold or otherwise saved. In the meantime, Dawson said they will continue with demolition permit process and won’t post the

(see ‘NEUTRA,’ page 11)

NEUTRA

(continued from page 4

demolition sign for its 10-dayperiod until October 1.

This direction was fully supported by Councilmember Julian Gold and Vice Mayor Willie Brien. Councilmembers John Mirisch and Lili Bosse supported an urgency ordinance.

Mitch Dawson, attorney representing the property owners, said not all of it is a Neutra home. Second, he said the owners were willing to voluntarily explore options and opportunities for the home. He also said the house was riddled with mold, asbestos, rotting wood and termites.  Dawson shared several pictures of the house, showing the various states of disrepair.

Family member of the previous owners, Massoud Aaron Yashouafar said when his family lived in the house, it was structurally in good condition and the photographs were mainly of an unfinished, and separate, guest house. Yashouafar alleged there are currently three pending lawsuits attacking the foreclosure sale.

The Courier has exclusively obtained documentation showing not only does Soda Partners, LLC own the property free and clear but Yashouafar owes the company $8,400 in attorneys fees and costs, $25,000 for rent and damages and $400 for additional costs.

Attorney for Soda Partners LLC, Ronald Richards said there were only two lawsuits related to the property and the notice of action filed by the plaintiffs was removed by the court on March 3 and May 2,

which frees the title of any cloud.

When asked for comment, Yashouafar sent The Courier case documentation he alleged was still active. Los Angeles Superior Court Records show one case is set for trial Nov. 1.

After he spoke, a member of the group in favor of demolishing the Kronish House approached Yashouafar. Although amidst all of the chaos in the room it was difficult to tell what happened, but Yashouafar later told The Courier he had been threatened by the man and filed a police report. What occurred between the two men remains unclear but witnesses say they saw the man grab and hold Yashouafar’s watch.

In addition to placing a stay on the demolition of the Kronish house until Oct. 10, the Council gave direction to the Planning Commission to begin crafting a historic preservation ordinance.

The Beverly Hills Patch just released the following:

During an emotionally-charged portion of Tuesday’s City Council meeting, owners of the Kronish House designed by famed architect Richard Neutra agreed to hold off on plans to demolish it and sell the property until Oct. 10 as preservationists try to figure out a way to prevent the home’s destruction.

The council then directed the Planning Commission to come up with an ordinance that provides guidelines for a process to determine how to preserve historic architecture in Beverly Hills.

“I don’t understand the logic of why the rush [to demolish] … this particular house,” said Councilwoman Lili Bosse, who referenced one of many letters from Beverly Hills residents she had received in opposition to the demolition. “What this woman said was … ‘honestly our 6-year-old son said it best: if they keep tearing down the old, beautiful things we won’t have anything left to get our great ideas from.’ ”

A motion put forth by Councilman John Mirisch and seconded by Bosse to enact an emergency ordinance that would have prohibited the home’s owners from razing it in advance of having a buyer for the lot was defeated by “no” votes from Mayor Barry Brucker, Vice Mayor William Brien and Councilman Julian Gold.

“This is a subversive way to try to take somebody’s property when we don’t have a historic preservation program in the city right now,” Brien said. “To start blocking people’s ability who have bought a home … and tell them that they’re not going to be able to [demolish] it, they’re not going to be able to sell it the way they want … when they haven’t violated any rules, any laws, any ordinances in the city of Beverly Hills … is an insane way to govern.”

Many Beverly Hills residents and architectural preservationists from various parts of the Los Angeles area attended the council meeting to prevent the demolition of the home, which was completed in 1955 and spans nearly 7,000 square feet on a two-acre lot at 9439 Sunset Blvd.

“As one of only three Neutra houses ever built in Beverly Hills, the Kronish House is the only one that remains,” said Linda Dishman, executive director of the Los Angeles Conservancy, a historic preservation organization. “The potential loss of a Neutra design is huge and would be a preservation issue in any community. Piece by piece Beverly Hills is losing its rich architectural heritage through what we believe is a disturbing growing trend of unnecessary demolition.”

Opponents of the demolition painted the owners’ motives as financially driven in order to attract a buyer for the property’s post-demolition empty lot.

Mitchell Dawson, a lawyer representing the property owners, Soda Partners LLC, said the home’s original design is not intact, claiming only “40 to 60 percent” of the home’s original Neutra design remains.

Dawson said asbestos was found throughout the residence, more than half the lumber was ruined by rot, termites and mold, and that the property’s sewer, electrical and heating system, as well as the roof, must be replaced.

“Homes are often historically preserved because they’re part of a community for people to understand and treasure,” Dawson said. “This is a flat lot with an approximately 30-foot entrance on Sunset Boulevard, with a 250-foot-long driveway, and the home is in the back. No one sees that, no one will see that.

Dawson claimed an emergency ordinance preventing the demolition would have “unintended consequences” and cause financial harm to the more than 30 owners of the property who’ve invested in Soda Partners.

Ken Ezra, a real estate investor and Beverly Hills resident, asked the council for time that would allow him to find potential investors to buy the property with the intent of preserving the structure.

“There are people who care about this kind of property,” Ezra said. “I for one take my daily walks in front of the property and I love it. I think it’s a very significant property.”

Design Review Commissioner Arlene Pepp urged the council to deny or delay the demolition permit, stating “unfortunately many beautiful homes in Beverly Hills have been destroyed, which has definitely negatively altered the character of our city.”

Ronald Richards, an attorney representing Soda Partners in litigation with the Kronish House’s former owners but who initially commented on the matter as a private citizen and Beverly Hills resident, called the public outcry over the proposed demolition “a kneejerk reaction.” He cited “extraordinary carrying costs” the owners have incurred since acquiring the property in January as justification for their decision to demolish the home and seek a buyer for the lot.

“It’s amazing to me how everyone has these fantastic suggestions but nobody wants to foot the bill except for the owners,” Richards said.

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