Is Gigi Hadid’s dad a land-grabbing neighbor?

Published July 22nd, 2015 - 07:30 GMT

Supermodel Gigi Hadid's father has been accused of stealing land from his neighbor - an 89-year-old wheelchair-bound widow.

The allegation is the latest revelation in a 'millionaires' row' battle over his giant Bel Air mansion.

Mohamed Hadid allegedly called one-time big band singer Carole Cramer a 'bitch' who didn't need the strip of her yard because 'she would die soon.'

'He's a terrible man,' stroke victim Cramer told Daily Mail Online in an exclusive interview in her home in the tony Bel Air area of Los Angeles. 'He came into my garden and told my gardener I have so much land and that I don't use and said I was a bitch,' she added. 'He told me, "Why do you need the land? You can't use it, but I need it," Cramer said as she caught some sun in the 2.6 acre garden of the $7 million home where she's lived for half a century. 'I just told him "Leave and never come back up here again." He's a liar.'

Hadid did not respond to Daily Mail Online's requests for comment.

Cramer, who once sang with the Tommy Dorsey Big Band, lives on Bel Air's Strada Vecchia Road right next to where Hadid, 66, has built a huge 30,000 sq. ft. mansion. Despite being built speculatively, it does not even have a buyer.

In the teeth of her protests, he built a retaining wall on a strip of property that Cramer says is hers, right beneath the bedroom where she spends most of her time.

'The noise has been terrible,' Cramer told Daily Mail Online. And she fears it will only get worse if the property is ever inhabited. Despite the property having only six parking spaces, Hadid has built a 70-seat IMAX theater and the house has enough room for parties for hundreds of guests.

Another neighbor, Walmart heiress Nancy Walton Laurie, also claims Hadid built a retaining wall on her property. She is suing for $90,000 saying the work 'cut the roots to the family's cherished eucalyptus tree causing it severe damage and putting it at risk of falling over.'

Twice-married Hadid likes to paint a picture of himself as an international playboy. He has three children, including Gigi, 20, with former Real Housewife of Beverly Hills Yolanda Foster. After their divorce, he introduced his ex to her current husband, music producer David Foster.

Mohamed Hadid with his children (with Yolanda Foster) Gigi, Bella and Anwar. (The Odyssey Online)

He is now engaged to Iranian-born model Shiva Safai.

Palestine-born Hadid has now been ordered to stop work on it as almost-unprecedented criminal charges have been filed by the city alleging construction of the mansion at 901 Strada Vecchia Road blatantly flouted building rules.

The LA Board of Building and Safety Commissioners has voted unanimously to order Hadid to rip out whole floors of the seven-story home, including the theater as well as concrete decks and retaining walls.

The city claims he has ignored 10 stop-work orders, although he has finally complied with the most recent.

Whether Hadid will himself face criminal prosecution is up in the air. Daily Mail Online has obtained the city's lawsuit which only names his limited liability company 901 Strada and long-time Hadid associate, Virginia attorney James Zelloe. They are both charged with three misdemeanors. The case is due to go to court on August 5.

Zelloe has not responded to Daily Mail Online's requests for comment.

However Larry Galstian, chief of the city's building and safety department told the Los Angeles Times that Hadid had introduced himself as owner as recently as April.

The fight between Hadid and his neighbors has gripped the super-wealthy community where huge megamansions have sprung up on hillsides in recent years. They are regularly built as speculative properties in the hope that a super-rich Russian or Arab will snap them up later.

Leading the fight is veteran entertainment lawyer Joe Horacek whose home sits directly beneath the hillside where Hadid is building.

Horacek said light rain has already precipitated two landslides that blocked his access road and heavier downpours and earthquakes could cause the whole hill to crash down on his property — bringing Hadid's home with it.

The freak summer rains in LA this week caused by the remnants of Tropical Storm Dolores caused further erosion of the hillside said Horacek. 'I have no idea how they are going to stabilize the north end of the hill legally,' he added.

Many meteorologists believe the storm could be the forerunner of an El Nino weather pattern that will bring more rain to the area and end the drought in Southern California — good news for the area as a whole, but frightening for those who live in Bel Air under Hadid's mega-mansion.

'I know this has been characterized as a fight between millionaires and billionaires and the millionaires are jealous of the billionaires' money - but it bears no resemblance to that,' Horacek told Daily Mail Online.

'This is just in the wrong place. There are plenty of places you could build a 30,000 sq. ft. house. This is just not one of them.

'I have this peaceful little place that is so private and then all of a sudden this guy comes along for no purpose other than total greed and builds this massive structure.

'I tell you, he did it to the wrong person. He is finally getting someone standing up to him.'

Horacek has taken dozens of pictures that he says show how Hadid sealed up windows to five illegally-built bedrooms, shrouded the building in green tarp to hide the scaffolding beneath and continued work when he should have stopped.

His files on the case contain thousands of pages of documents. He has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in lawyer's fees and estimates that the time he has put in himself would have cost some $3 million in billable hours.

'The guy just feels he can do what he wants with no regard for the rules,' Horacek, 74, said. 'He's had the title transferred five times. Building and Safety told me they had never seen so many transfers. They said that is indicative of someone trying to hide activity.

Hadid calls his house The Modern House of Hadid. Horacek refers to it as Starship Enterprise. He and his wife Bibi say they even fear for their lives, They claim they have been threatened by site workers.

He showed Daily Mail Online text messages that Hadid had sent him after the most recent order from the city. 'We are shutting down the job permanently,' Hadid wrote.

'You won joe. You are the greatest warrior for belair (sic). You won the battle and the war. You should be proud of your self (sic).' he added. 'I am going to just let the building rot.'

A text sent last year was even more threatening. 'I am sure you are happy that you got over 200 people jobless,' Hadid wrote. 'Karma has no expiration.'

Hadid has a checkered history that has included him filing for bankruptcy eight times since 1996, Daily Mail Online has discovered.

Nearly 100 lawsuits have been filed against him alleging issues as varied as fraud, substandard construction and trademark infringement and at least 15 liens have been put on his property for unpaid debts.

He was born in Nazareth but his family moved around the Middle East when he was young. While Hadid was in his teens they relocated to Washington, D.C. where his father worked for Voice of America.

He later dropped out of college and started his business career with a nightclub on the Greek vacation island of Rhodes before moving back to Washington and starting a business importing classic Rolls-Royces and Bentleys. He later founded the company that made him his first fortune exporting heavy equipment to oil-rich Middle Eastern states.

Previous battles have seen him fighting with Sylvester Stallone, who called him 'an unscrupulous, unlicensed predator,' after working on the Rocky actor's home, and with Donald Trump, who he outflanked in a multi-million dollar land deal in Aspen, Colorado.

He has built many Ritz Carlton hotels and several megamansions. He built the Holmby Hills home where Michael Jackson died and sold a Beverly Hills home to Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva, the glamorous daughter of Uzbekistan's dictator, for $32.75 million, according to LA.Curbed, which described his current Bel Air project as 'relatively pared back' when it saw the original plans in 2013.

At that time the house was due to be 20,000 sq. ft. with an asking price of $45 million, but as building went on, Hadid added more and more, increasing the size by 50 percent, building it more than 25 ft. higher than planned and adding floors going down the hillside.

Now Horacek says he wants the whole house demolished and the hillside restored to its original state. He said that as Hadid has had his permits revoked he now has to apply for new ones — and he is unlikely to get them as building codes in LA have become much stricter since his were originally granted.

By Martin Gould


© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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