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Michael Ovitz vs. Saudi Royal in BHPO Mega-Compound Fight

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Houses often need to be 10 or 20 or 30,000 square feet to fit all your stuff, but 85,000 square feet is really just gauche if you ask the homeowners in Benedict Canyon. A quasi-unknown person is trying to build a mega-compound that size on 5.2 acres at the top of Tower Lane, and he (or she) has brought down the fury of the neighbors, reports the LA Times. In 2009, according to Redfin, this mysterious entity paid $12 million for three plots, once site of an 8,000 square foot Wallace Neff house and now home to an unpermitted horse barn and a 14 car underground garage. The person plans to build a compound totaling 85,000 square feet, including a 42,681 square foot main house. The evidence for ownership seems to point London-based Mansour Fustok, a former brother-in-law to Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and uncle to one of the King's sons *Prince Abdulaziz ibn Abdullah ibn Abdulaziz al Saud.

The compound plans have really upset the neighbors--one, Martha Karsh, says it's "like building a Wal-Mart in the heart of a quiet residential neighborhood"--and more than 150 have teamed up to fight them. The critics say there were problems with the application and that the owner is trying to skirt the California Environmental Quality Act. They're asking for an environmental review.

*Prince Abdulaziz's uncle, Mansour Fustok, tells the LAT that he believes Karsh and CAA co-founder, art collector, and Michael Maltzan client Michael Ovitz are the ringleaders: "Mrs. Karsh and Mr. Ovitz are the ones causing this mayhem and delaying things and so on."

The paper notes that Ovitz's 28,000 square foot Maltzan project, which "sits a stone's throw from the proposed Tower Lane development," was only built "after a battle that lasted several years."

The Planning Commission will consider the neighbors' appeals to the mega-compound on April 14.
· Benedict Canyon neighbors unite against mystery landowner's planned 'megamansion' [LAT]