Gigi and Bella Hadid are successful models and celebrities about town (and by town I mean the whole globe). Their father, Mohamed Hadid is a multi-millionaire property developer who pled no contest to criminal charges when prosecutors accused him of building a house far larger than allowed. For years now, Hadid has been intent on building one of the biggest mansions in Los Angeles's Bel Air neighborhood. The entire saga has been rife with accusations of intimidation, thievery, and bribery. Hadid bought the hillside plot of land in Bel Air for just under $2 million in 2011. At the time a ranch style house occupied the land. He immediately tore that down and started construction on the house he was calling "The Modern House of Hadid." His neighbors called the house "The Starship Enterprise."
The enormous unfinished mansion on Bel Air's Strada Vecchia Road continues to be the bane of the neighborhood. Hadid has battled in court with neighbors who claimed the city of Los Angeles knew and failed to stop illegal construction. Investigators have delved into possible wrongdoing by a city building inspector assigned to look at the house.
Now, the former construction manager for Hadid's mansion, Russell Linch, has revealed new claims of alleged perks for the city inspector that oversaw the project. This information is in a declaration submitted for a civil case involving the mansion. Linch has also raised concerns about the safety of the structure and said he believes it needs to be demolished. Prior to this new declaration, Linch had steadfastly defended Hadid. Unsurprisingly, Hadid is now suing him.
In the legal declaration, Linch said Hadid directed him to send "some guys" over to build cabinets at a home he understood belonged to Anthony Anderson. Anderson was an inspector on Hadid's mansion for the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety. The cabinets were built for Anderson by a carpenter that Hadid paid through his company, according to the declaration.
In another declaration, the carpenter himself said that he and his team spent two to three weeks at Anderson's home building cabinets, closets, and a built-in dresser. They were paid by Hadid's company. He estimated that his team would normally charge between $15,000 and $30,000 for a job of this type.
Linch also said that early in the project, Anderson asked him if he could find a job for his son on the Bel Air build. Lunch said he soon after hired Anderson's son as a laborer on his crew. Hadid's company paid Anderson's son.
For what it's worth, Anthony Anderson no longer works for the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety.
Obviously, under Los Angeles laws, city officials are banned from accepting gifts when it is "reasonably foreseeable" that it could influence them in their official work.
During a deposition last year, Randolph Osborne, a city investigator, said that a probe had found evidence that a building inspector on the project had received "items of value." Osbourne turned over information to the FBI, who he said was looking into the matter. He did not name the inspector who received the items of value.
As for Linch suddenly flipping on Hadid after years of supporting his stance on the project he said in one of the declarations that during an earlier deposition that Hadid was present at he had given inaccurate answers because he felt pressured to protect Hadid. Now, however, Linch's RAL Design and Management filed suit against Hadid for breach of contract, claiming the billionaire and his associates owe his firm more than $2.5 million.
But perhaps the most explosive allegation that Linch has made is that the mansion is not safe and should be demolished. In a new declaration, Linch said that there should have been twice as many piles – the column that extends deep into the ground to support a structure – to hold up a house as big as what Hadid built. He also said that the piles should have been driven deeper and that they had less rebar that the minimum required under L.A. building codes. Linch said that Hadid "asked me not to tell anyone about the problem." Linch believes that the piles are not adequate to support the house, making it unsafe.
Linch also said that Hadid created fake inspection reports reflecting the piles going deeper than they actually did and falsified a record to the city to understate how much grading was done, as well as hid pages from the plans where an inspector had written "not approved."
Hadid was building the mansion "on spec" and was hoping to fetch $100 million or more for the house. Now it is unclear if the project will ever be completed.
The 70-year-old multi-millionaire started his career restoring old cars. He was born in Nazareth, but spent his childhood growing up throughout the Middle East. When he was a teenager, his family moved to Washington, D.C. He has a dubious history in business – nearly 100 lawsuits have been filed against him for everything ranging from fraud, trademark infringement, and substandard construction practices. He has filed for bankruptcy eight times since 1996.
He has gone to battle in the past with Sylvester Stallone, who called him an "unscrupulous, unlicensed predator" after Hadid did some work on Stallone's house. He's also been involved in a lawsuit with Donald Trump.
Hadid has built a number of Ritz Carlton hotels and several mega-mansions – the most notable of which is probably the Los Angeles home where Michael Jackson died.
Mohamed Hadid has a net worth of $400 million.