- Probation set for illegal take-out
After five years of lawsuits, appeals and continuances, the Larchmont Bungalow pleaded “no contest” last month to three criminal counts, including operating without a permit.
After all this time and money, Bungalow owner Albert Mizrahi is right back to where he started, said deputy city attorney Serena Christion.
He either needs to remove tables and chairs at the site at 107 N. Larchmont and get a certificate of occupancy or close, she added.
The “no contest” plea means “he’s not contesting the compliance, and the judge (Commissioner Elizabeth Harris) finds him guilty. It’s saying ‘I’m not really… but kind of guilty,’” Christion explained.
“He opened with a certificate of occupancy for a take-out; he signed a covenant that he would not have tables and chairs… He’s guilty,” said Todd Maland, investigator with the city Building and Safety Dept.
Mizrahi and the Larchmont Bungalow LLC were also charged with violating an order to comply with city codes and providing false information on required documents.
In the deal reached with the city, Mizrahi agreed to the plea in exchange for being placed on probation and having his sentencing suspended for 18 months. Besides bringing the restaurant into compliance with city zoning codes, Mizrahi agreed to pay costs incurred to investigate and prosecute the case.
A court hearing was set for Aug. 3 to review Mizrahi’s progress and the costs. Final sentencing was set for Aug. 7, 2017.
The deal reached in Los Angeles Superior Court was “thanks to Rocky,” said Christion. Defense attorney Rocky Delgadillo is the former City Attorney, who “talked to (current City Attorney Mike) Feuer and discovered there was no way I was ever going to dismiss the case,” said Christion—who was the fifth deputy city attorney on the case, and, the “most stubborn,” according to her.
Delgadillo did not respond to calls or emails.
Part of the deal in the criminal case guarantees that Mizrahi cannot appeal.
“If they don’t have a certificate of occupancy, they must shut down. We made sure everybody understood that… so we have a chance of ending this,” Christion said.
The criminal case was on hold several years pending resolution of a civil case that Mizrahi filed against the city, claiming discrimination.
Although the city won that case, several continuances were granted in the criminal case, and Mizrahi’s attorneys also sought exemption from the Boulevard’s Q Condition zoning. City Planning, however, found no cause for the exemption, allowing the criminal case to move forward.