Santa Monica City Council sat burning the midnight oil Tuesday, with several pertinent items discussed well past the 1 a.m.-mark as part of a Regular Council meeting at City Hall.
A late entry on the agenda was item 13.C; a request by Councilmembers Kevin McKeown and Sue Himmelrich to direct City staff to investigate all City dealings with developer NMS, following recent findings that saw NMS CEO Neil Shekhter singled out for tampering with documents, switching computer hard-drives, and other related activities pertaining to a recent lawsuit.
The City Council action has seen some in Santa Monica breathe a momentary sigh of relief, as NMS, who, along with associated entities, is fast buying and developing large tracks of land in the city.
The review, according to the agenda item is to “ direct staff to review all existing and pending agreements with Neil Shekhter, NMS, and associated entities, verifying information provided as part of such agreements, and attempting to ensure that the municipal corporation, residents/taxpayers, and occupants of NMS buildings are fully protected from possible misstatements and their consequences.”
Local community organizations such as 45-year-old The Clayhouse, on Santa Monica Blvd., have been given a brief reprieve from the possibility that their landlord, NMS, may want to develop the old block of retail shops where they are located.
The Clayhouse is one of the oldest pottery studios in Southern California “offering studio space for clay throwing, hand-building and sculpture.” The community workspace offers weekend and weekday classes in hand building, wheel throwing, sculpture and creative surface decoration with glaze chemistry, and is celebrating their annual showcase and fundraiser today and tomorrow, Dec. 8 and 9.
Members and managers alike, explained that when they learned NMS had bought their property, they feared for the worst, taking some solace in the fact that a neighboring tenant has a long lease. With the recent direction of City Council to review NMS’ dealings, The Clayhouse may just have been given the space they need to breath easy.
To support the Santa Monica stalwart, head to their studio-turned-gallery this evening, Friday Dec. 8 from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., or stock up on holiday gifts Saturday Dec. 9, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Clayhouse is located at 2909 Santa Monica Blvd. theclayhousesantamonica.com.