April 20, 2024 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Fairmont Miramar Volleys Back In Budding Legal Battle With The Huntley:

If “Mean Girls 3” were ever produced, the bickering back and forth between Santa Monica’s two largest hotels would be the ideal cast members. Less than one week after the Huntley Hotel’s lawyers issued a demand letter to the Fairmont Miramar, the legal team behind  Ocean Avenue LLC (the group who owns the Miramar) responded with a five-page response.

What started with a flyer circulating around town alleging the Huntley spreading “misinformation” about the Miramar’s proposed revitalization project has turned into a budding legal battle.

On one side, lawyers for the Huntley accuse the Fairmont of restricting the former’s “legitimate free speech.” On the other side, lawyers for the Fairmont respond the hotel’s owners have the right to “set the record straight with respect to allegations contained in Huntley-disseminated materials.”

Penned by attorney Philip Recht of the law firm Mayer Brown, the July 22 letter says while the Huntley has every right to engage in the public process, it did so in a manner that was “critical of the Miramar project, false or misleading in numerous regards, and designed to inflame the Santa Monica community against the project.”

Recht also made a “you started it first” case against the Huntley, stating the hotel fired the first shot in the flyer campaign just before the City Council’s float up of the Miramar revitalization project in April 2012.

Specifically, Recht said the Huntley falsely accused the Miramar of being owned by a New York-based developer, proposing a Hollywood-style nightclub in its new iteration, endangering the health of the Moreton Bay Fig Tree, and failing to comply with Santa Monica’s Land Use and Circulation Element (LUCE), among other things.

The letter also points out a second Huntley flyer was “equally false and inflammatory” in “alleging that ‘Michael Dell does not follow the rules.’”

Dell has an ownership stake in the Miramar.

Another issue raised in Recht’s letter was affordable housing. The Miramar’s revitalization plans include affordable housing units. Four points are made in Recht’s letter alleging the Huntley to be opposed to affordable housing units.

Recht questioned the Huntley’s role in the November 2012 election, as well.

“Public records indicate that the Huntley appeared to play a major role in soliciting campaign contributions to the independent expenditure committee Santa Monicans for Responsible Growth (‘SMRG’), while seeking to hide its own participation,” Recht wrote. “Overall, SMRG received and spent almost $100,000 for two candidates for Santa Monica City Council.”

City public records documents, the letter further alleged the Huntley directly donated $20,000 into the election one day prior to the polls opening.

Addressing the allegation that the Miramar’s used a “‘doctored-grainy photo’ of Mr. Sassounian” in the June 13 flyer distributed around Santa Monica, Recht stated it “was the best available photograph available on the Internet, and it comes directly from the ‘Images’ section on Google’s website.”

“There is nothing defamatory or improper about Ocean Avenue’s responses to the Huntley’s public criticism,” Recht stated. “The Huntley and its representatives have made themselves limited purpose public figures by engaging in the public debate and, as such, Ocean Avenue’s statements directed at their public participation are protected by the First Amendment.”

Recht continued neither Ocean Avenue nor the Miramar “are not subject to ordinary defamation standards absent a showing of ‘actual malice.’”

Responding to the suggestion by Huntley attorney Rick Zbur in his July 16 demand letter of legal proceedings against the Miramar, Recht seemed unfazed.

“Should the Huntley choose to initiate litigation over this matter, Ocean Avenue would welcome the opportunity to take document discovery and depositions in order to fully shed light on all of the matters discussed [in the response letter],” Recht stated.

Recht concluded his letter by stating he looks forward to engaging in “constructive dialogue” with the Huntley and pointed out Ocean Avenue has made significant changes to its revitalization plan based upon City Council feedback and input from community leaders and residents.

“Ocean Avenue is immensely proud of the current plan, which it believes responds in a compelling way to the goals and objectives of the LUCE and will contribute significant public benefits,” Recht stated. “Moreover, the final design of the project will be iconic and contribute in a meaningful way to the quality of architecture in the City.”

Last week, Zbur penned a demand letter to Ocean Avenue LLC on behalf of the Huntley, asking both parties to “cease the defamatory smear campaign against the Huntley … (and its) president and general manager, Mr. Sohrab Sassounian.”

The formal letter was issued in response to the creation of a website and issuance of two flyers by Ocean Avenue LLC alleging the Huntley Hotel engaged in “questionable political practices” and a smear campaign to prevent the Miramar’s planned renovation and expansion.

in News
Related Posts

Make Science Your Destination This Summer

April 19, 2024

April 19, 2024

Destination Science is the fun science day camp for curious kids with over 15 STEM activities weekly, three science stations...

Prime Time Sports Camps Coming Soon

April 19, 2024

April 19, 2024

Prime Time Sports Camp has remained a constant in the everchanging camp landscape for over 30 years by following this...

Groundlings Summer Improv Classes Open April 2

April 19, 2024

April 19, 2024

A summer of improvisation is around the corner at The Groundlings. Three months of summer class offerings for teens will...

Coming to Venice for 4/20? Visit your original cannabis locals! Specials! Live entertainment @4:20pm  Doors open at 10am!!

April 19, 2024

April 19, 2024

Coming to Venice for 4/20? Visit your original cannabis locals! Specials! Live entertainment @4:20pm Doors open at 10am!! Free goodies!!...

Report: Video Game Mogul Lists Palisades Home for $9.2M

April 19, 2024

April 19, 2024

Built in 2018, the Wood-Shingled Home Spans 7,000 Square Feet across Multiple Levels Dan Houser, the English video game magnate,...

Venice Kush Hosts “The Real Deal” Cannabis Celebration at the Beach

April 19, 2024

April 19, 2024

A Day of Education, Innovation, and Community at Venice Beach Venice Kush is gearing up to host its much-anticipated “The...

Get Jokerfied with The People’s Joker Director Vera Drew Interview; Now Playing at the Nuart Theatre

April 19, 2024

April 19, 2024

Vera Drew on Crafting a Trans Supervillain and Creating Comedy Chaos By Dolores Quintana The People’s Joker is an explosive...

Join Jerry Rubin for the Earth Day Tree Hugging Gathering in Santa Monica

April 19, 2024

April 19, 2024

Celebrate Mother Earth’s Splendor at the Iconic Moreton Bay Fig Tree Tree lovers, environmental enthusiasts, and advocates for Mother Earth...

Nicolas Cage Stars in Arcadian: A Bewitching Apocalypse

April 18, 2024

April 18, 2024

New Horror Film Delivers Solid Monster Movie Experience Arcadian is a new horror film starring Nicolas Cage (Dream Scenario, Mandy),...

SMC to Host Applied Music Showcase in May

April 18, 2024

April 18, 2024

Highlighted Students Set to Perform a Variety of Songs, Instrumental Solos, Ensemble Pieces, and Original Compositions Santa Monica College’s Music...

(Video) Award-Winning Pianist to Premiere “Rocket Man: A Live Orchestral Experience” in Santa Monica

April 18, 2024

April 18, 2024

Classic Songs Will Include “Crocodile Rock” and “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” @smmirrornews “Rocket Man” is coming soon to Santa Monica...

Agreement Between SMMUSD and Malibu Moves District Separation Efforts Forward

April 17, 2024

April 17, 2024

The Agreement Awaits Approval by Both the Malibu City Council and the Smmusd Board of Education The City of Malibu...

Michael’s Santa Monica Celebrates 45 Years with Culinary Extravaganza With Famous Chefs

April 17, 2024

April 17, 2024

Iconic Restaurant Hosts “Great Party!!” Benefitting No Kid Hungry Campaign  Michael’s Santa Monica is set to commemorate its 45th anniversary...

Los Angeles Times Presents Star-Studded Lineup for 29th Festival of Books This Weekend

April 17, 2024

April 17, 2024

Over 550 Writers and Celebrities to Grace USC Campus for Weekend Extravaganza The Los Angeles Times has a stellar lineup...

Girls Learn Self Defense at Empowerment Summer Camp for Girls

April 17, 2024

April 17, 2024

This summer, girls are invited to explore practical self defense training at SHIELD Women’s Self Defense’s 2024 Empowerment Summer Camp...