Mohamed Hadid—a controversial luxury developer and proud (very proud) father of Bella Hadid, Gigi Hadid, Anwar Hadid, Alana Hadid, and Mariella Hadid—has been making occasional headlines over the past two years for a monstrous and illegally-built mansion that looms precariously above its furious neighbors, who worry that it might literally fall on their houses.
The Los Angeles Times reports that after pleading no contest in May to misdemeanor charges, Hadid was sentenced to three years of probation requiring $3,000 in fines, 200 hours of community service and over $14,000 in payments to the city. He will also be required to hire an engineer to develop plans to stabilize the hillside.
Hadid built the 30,000 square foot structure (which includes an IMAX theater) with sections that the city says weren’t approved, and continued to build after stop work orders were issued and permits were revoked. Lately, the property has just been sitting there unfinished, both taller and larger than is legally permitted. Hadid’s neighbor and main rival, Joseph Horacek, has dubbed it “starship enterprise.”
Hadid, who is a former Palestinian refugee, lives in another eccentric property that boasts, according to Hadid, the “presence” of the late Michael Jackson, who visited before his death. He has made a number of appearances on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills as a close friend of Lisa Vanderpump and as Yolanda Hadid’s ex. He’s also known—by his Instagram followers, at least—for eating at exactly one restaurant.
The tale of Mohamed Hadid and the Starship Enterprise has come to represent a general lack of accountability afforded both to developers in Los Angeles, and to the billionaire class in general. In a 2015 report on the property, the New York Times noted that the case was complicated by the fact that Hadid no longer owned the mansion himself, exactly; a shell company named 901 Strada L.L.C. did. It’s possible, in the end, that the mansion itself will be allowed to stay put—the LA Times reports that the judge hasn’t decided yet whether to require Hadid to obtain a bond that would cover the cost of demolition if he’s unable to finish building it within legal limits.
Hadid’s team is pushing for approval on revised plans for the house.
“We’re interested in one thing and one thing only … bringing this building into compliance,” Hadid’s attorney Robert Shapiro (who represented O.J. Simpson in his murder trial and now represents the Kardashians) told reporters. “I can assure you that when this building is complete, it will be one of the most beautiful homes in Bel-Air, if not the country.”
Hadid doesn’t appear to expect a demolition either. (According to a Daily Mail article last year, amid heated battles between the neighbors Hadid allegedly sent a text to Horacek threatening to “just let the building rot.”)
“Demolish this house? Never!” Hadid told Town & Country in February. “That would really cause problems: the trucks, the dirt, the dust, the noise, the hauling. It could take years. That would be insane.”
He added, with dramatic flair: “This house will last forever. Bel Air will fall before this will.”
I mean, technically, in the case of a severe earthquake, the house would probably fall on top of Bel Air.