Castro & Associates Construction Trial Lawyers

Battle continues between city, developer over Bel-Air mansion

A mansion in the Bel-Air section of Los Angeles continues to be the subject of both criminal and civil legal action as the city and neighbors spar with the developer.

The developer, a prominent LA resident, began building the 30,000-square-foot residence more than five years ago. Since then, the city has made demands that he tear down parts of the still-unfinished property, contending it violates some city codes and isn't safe.

Neighbors also are worried that allegedly deficient construction could put their homes in jeopardy. They feared that the hillside could collapse and impact their homes.

Now, prosecutors want the home to be razed down to the foundation, leaving only the part of the foundation that engineers contend were properly driven into the ground. The city attorney, in a statement, said "building and safety rules have to matter -- not just for some, but for everyone."

"We're continuing to fight to…assure this structure meets every requirement -- and if that means taking the building down to its foundation, so be it," he said.

Two years ago, the developer pleaded no contest to charges connected to the home, which prosecutors said didn't conform to approved plans. It included decks, bedrooms and an IMAX theater that weren't approved. As a result, the man was fined and ordered to perform community service and submit a plan of how he would stabilize the hillside.

This situation will continue to play out in conference rooms in city hall and courtrooms in the city.

Developers need to make sure their construction projects meet all city codes, and the rights that neighbors have when it comes to new construction in their area. When they don't, they could be subject to litigation.

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