Clashes Continue in Ongoing Civil Dispute over Property Management 


Conflicts persist in an ongoing civil dispute over the control of operations and management at multiple Laguna Beach properties between well-known real estate investor Mohammad Honarkar and a group of investors, MOM Entities, who claim to have bailed out Honarkar from foreclosure two years ago.

As part of the bailout, Honarkar contributed all his assets to the group of investors represented by Cohen Law Group, which includes properties such as Hotel Laguna, the Art-A-Fair building, Cliff Village LLC, Terra Laguna Beach, several vacation homes and the 14West hotel. 

On May 2, an altercation among security guards at Hotel Laguna and 14West caused the city to issue a nuisance abatement order, closing the businesses until the properties were deemed safe for the public. A similar incident happened at 14West, as both groups claim ownership over the management of the properties. 

However, a new incident on July 24 between MOM Entities and Honarker employees – the same day both parties appeared at a court hearing – prompted Mahender Makhijani of MOM Entities and his attorney Marc Cohen to address the Laguna Beach City Council during its regular meeting the following day. During public comment, both Makhijani and Cohen expressed frustration with the city’s lack of involvement in the dispute.

According to Cohen, after the court indicated it might issue a preliminary injunction, Honarkar’s employees began to remove documents, files and computers belonging to the MOM group at Honarkar’s office, located at 775 Laguna Canyon Road.

“They had themselves barricaded in the building with two-by-fours. It was crazy stuff,” Cohen said. “The police were called, and Officer Schmidt arrived, who seems to be working under the direction of the city manager. The police didn’t help. They did nothing. My clients are getting upset, and they’re probably going to sue the city.”

Makhijani asked councilmembers not to interfere with property owners’ rights.

“The position certain city people and city staff have taken baffles me,” he said at the council meeting. “At one end, they’re saying they want to remain neutral and not interfere, and at the same time, Michael Kulchin, an agent for my company, is threatened with being arrested by a police officer for stopping someone from stealing documents and critical data…the city’s behavior is on a suicide trip to go bankrupt. You’re creating unnecessary liability for no reason. It doesn’t have to be this way. If you truly want to stay neutral, stay neutral.”

Honarker’s lawyers contend that while both parties were in court on July 24, representatives from the MOM group broke into Honarker’s office and stole documents, files, computers and other objects while employees were inside. 

“Not only did Defendants steal computers and other equipment without regard to these employees’ private information, Defendants broke open a hold in the wall of the building – all while Defendants’ counsel stood before the Court and represented that Defendants wanted to work together with Mr. Honarkar to find a mutually agreeable path forward,” a July 25 temporary restraining order application by Honarker’s lawyers stated. 

Attorney Aaron M. May of Halpern May Ybarra Gelberg Law Group said Mr. Honarkar was appalled by the events that took place at his offices last week. 

“He has sought redress in court to prevent Mr. Makhijani and his associates from accessing his offices and the materials that were taken,” May wrote in an email to the Indy. “We are optimistic that the court will intervene quickly to protect Mr. Honarkar’s property and his rights.”

Meanwhile, some property tenants, business owners and employees at the Hive – a row of restaurants and other businesses next to the Sawdust Festival along Laguna Canyon Road – report the dispute is negatively affecting them. An influx of new security guards patrolling the area has made them feel intimidated and harassed. 

Some tenants, business owners and employees at the Hive along Laguna Canyon Road have stated that an increase in security due to the ongoing civil dispute between Mo Honarkar and MOM Entities has made them feel intimidated and harassed. Submitted photo

“There are no uniforms, no professionalism, and if you ask them why they’re here, they respond, ‘I don’t know,'” a restaurant owner at Laguna Canyon Road said. “My property manager says he can’t do anything and to call the police. The police say they can’t help because it’s a civil matter. It used to be very peaceful here, but now it’s stressful. Security is everywhere. Our guests ask what’s going on. Two or three days ago, it looked like a war zone.”

The City of Laguna Beach has declined to comment on the matter. 

As of Aug. 2, Orange County Superior Court has denied MOM Entities’ request for a preliminary injunction after neither party could reach an agreement by July 28. However, the court has also rejected Honarker’s request for an appointment of a receiver, a neutral third party appointed by a judge to manage property and business matters while the lawsuits are in progress.

“The court encourages the parties to continue a dialogue in an attempt to take incremental steps to stabilize their relationship and preserve their joint venture during the pendency of this and the related case,” the Aug. 2 court document stated. 

The court has moved up Honarker’s request for arbitration to Sept. 25. 

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  1. The MOM group and their unethical attorney Marc Cohen continue to spread lies in order to distract from their own disgusting misconduct. Our offices and employees were attacked by MOM group representatives while we were literally in court with them. They stole attorney client privilege documents amongst many other items, terrorized our employees, and even stalked and followed our employees for hours once they left.

    Read this document to get the truth…

    Read the declarations of our employees, in particular Vivian Nguyen and Taelor Roby, via the link below. Our staff is too terrified and traumatized to return to work. MOM group has over a dozen unlicensed “guard” surrounding the HIVE and our offices, harrassing tenants and community members. None of the guards are representatives of 4G and the Honarkar Family. Declarations also include photos clearly showing the frightening occurrences of that day.

    Please also review the attached to get more information about why we requested a receiver to prevent this group from further committing any fraud, including bank fraud.

    Their corrupt organization continues to threaten to get their way and intimidate those that speak up. Our tenants are scared of them but afraid of what their thugs will do in retaliation if they share their stories. The legal system is slow, and unfortunately this group believes they are above the law and do whatever they want. Even local media is afraid to write complete stories out of fear.

  2. This Letter ran in the Indy on June 16. Its worth another read in my opinion. Mr Honarkar and his family’s desperation to deflect and deny evidence available through the Superior Court of California, County of Orange Justice center website are very Clear. Facts speak for themselves. Mr Honarkar will say anything through stories in this and other publications where he can post them, or pay for ads. Accepting reality in an rational way is not easy. In time I think the court will continue to make clear its current position. To date, If I have read every motion correctly Mr Honarkar has failed to win one!

    Hotel Laguna Investor Group To Host Town Hall Meeting
    By Guest Contributor – June 16, 20234917
    There was recently a spate of false repetitive information about Hotel Laguna, 14 West Hotel, and other Laguna Beach properties which are fully controlled by MOM Laguna. We are extremely confident that the legal process will validate MOM’s authority, control, ownership and actions. To date, the Superior Court of California, County of Orange has made intermediate rulings validating MOM’s position while preventing Mo Honarkar from coming within 200 feet of these hotels. The court stated MOM Laguna has “established they are authorized to manage and operate the subject properties. This includes the power to determine who can work at or enter the properties.” Documents are available on the court website.

    MOM Laguna was not responsible for the unfortunate events of May 2. The city of Laguna Beach and its police department have publicly confirmed that the only instance of individuals carrying arms that day were part of Honarkar’s team. We pleaded with city management, staff, and the police department to remove wrongful trespassers whose primary goals were to shut down and interfere with business at these properties. It appeared as a rash attempt for Honarkar to gain leverage in his dispute with MOM Laguna. If certain city officials had heeded and responded to our time-sensitive requests, the situation would have never escalated to what unfolded. The MOM team has never engaged in acts proven to be unlawful or illegal. Our only goal on May 2 was to protect our staff, guests, team members and city residents. Anyone claiming otherwise is attempting to deflect fact and responsibility.

    We strive to protect Laguna Beach’s residents and visitors at all of our properties and are working diligently on Hotel Laguna’s restoration. Our mission is to return the hotel to its rightful place as a symbol of the best of Laguna Beach’s heritage and legacy and to make you proud. In fact, we would love to meet the residents of Laguna Beach. Imminently, we will be hosting a town hall meeting at Hotel Laguna with food and drinks as we get to meet you face to face. At that event, we will answer any questions you have about our plans for the properties. Residents, to be added to our invite list, please email your full name and address to: [email protected]

  3. Hasty, correct me if I’m wrong but are these just suits you’ve had filed? They have no trail date so will there be a trail? We’d like to see better facts then just a lawsuit filed.

  4. Mr Fisch: you keep using the term “we”. Have you been hired by MOM? If so, that should be noted by the Indy Editor when publishing your comments.

  5. Mr Quilter, why? All Mr. Fisch has said is verified facts and shown court documents that state that he is correct and publicly summitted them. What would that matter who he is when he is showing court documents. You seem to always be against truth and go the other way, what are you protecting? Proven information has been shown about the city manager and yet you always get up and discount the information and adulate her..It is very interesting, so if Mr. Honarkar or his family gets up and says that is a lie, which they do, how does one discount the court documents, how does one discount the $45,000+ in expenses for a simple traffic stop, wouldn’t it all be better if there was professionalism shown, and you get up as city manager, and said, “I apologize, I was wrong”. and it’s all over…none of these people you so protect show any accountability. I do not understand your thinking when it is so transparent what is going on. However, I will agree with getting on with business, let the courts decide and let’s get a honest person running our city and the Hotel up and working!

  6. Chris, “we” refers to the cult of folks that attack the City Manager, the city staff, the Honarkar family, and anyone who the cult leader deems a target.

    The declarations from employees are real emails and statements made under oath and are not just lawsuit complaints. They are exhibits of law.

  7. Doug, as usual barking up the wrong tree, dang, you so want to belong to a group and Nicky, I am somewhat in the loop but to call concerned people in this city about inappropriate and lawless things that go on at city hall, is hardly a cult. Certainly Doug you should know what court papers are, you should be totally in the know on that subject, and filing a complaint is a complaint only, emails and statements mean nothing until action is actually taken. court papers that have gone through a process are different. The Judge already said it was definitely siding with the new owners but it is still a wait and see and the courts will decide.The papers I read said that the two hotels right now are owned by the new people.


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