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Former construction manager at stalled Bel Air megamansion says ‘entire house must be demolished’

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In a new court filing, contractor raises concerns about Mohamed Hadid’s friendships with city inspectors and the overall safety of the house

An aerial photo of a half-finished mansion jutting out of a hillside.
The hillside mansion at 901 Strada Vecchia that Hadid developed.
Courtesy of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips

Concerns raised by neighbors about a hillside mansion built by spec home developer Mohamed Hadid are now being affirmed by a one-time construction manager on the site.

In a declaration submitted Monday to Los Angeles County Superior Court, Russell Linch claims that Hadid had “personal relationships” with a number of Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety inspectors assigned to the property at 901 Strada Vecchia in Bel Air.

Linch also says he has concerns about the stability of the home and lays out why he believes it should be completely demolished. The mansion is only partially complete because of stop-work orders issued by the city.

The declaration was recorded as part of an ongoing civil suit brought by neighbors over the Bel Air estate. It was shared with Curbed by the attorney representing the plaintiffs, and it echoes concerns those neighbors have raised for years.

Linch says that at one point Hadid directed one of his carpenters to build a set of walnut cabinets at the home of a city inspector tasked with checking on 901 Strada Vecchia. Linch claims that Hadid’s company paid the carpenter for the cabinets, and when Linch was asked to go through the project’s financial records, “there were no checks or other records reflecting” that the inspector paid for the cabinets.

According to Linch, Hadid was constantly changing the plans for the house: “I have never encountered another developer who made significant changes to the exterior envelope or the structure on the fly.”

Linch also claims the house might be structurally unsound because none of the piles— columns that go deep in the hillside to help stabilize the house—have the required amount of rebar in them. “The house is unsafe and that the entire house must be demolished,” Linch says.

The declaration contrasts with a deposition Linch gave in 2018, where he gave answers that were favorable for Hadid. At the time, Linch said he “minimized [Hadid’s] role in the construction of 901 Strada Vecchia even though [Hadid] was very hands on.”

Hadid has already been through a criminal case involving the house. In 2017, he pleaded no contest to criminal charges stemming from his work on the property. The charges were brought by the city attorney, who accused Hadid of violating building codes by not getting permits for parts of the house, including a full-story basement. Hadid was ordered to pay a fine and perform community service.

The house is also reportedly the focus of an FBI probe into possible wrongdoing by an inspector working on the site.

Hadid is the father of models Gigi and Bella Hadid, and a veteran developer of spec homes similar to 901 Strada Vecchia, including one called La Belvedere that sold for $56 million last year.