Hotel Laguna and 14 West Reopen After Court Issues Honarkar Temporary Restraining Order 

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Hotel Laguna is once again open for business after the city closed its doors out of concerns for public safety on May 2. Photo/LB Indy

The Orange County Superior Court issued a temporary restraining order to Mo Honarkar on May 5 restricting the local real estate developer, and those acting on his behalf, from coming within 200 feet of Hotel Laguna, 14 West and several other properties, currently disputed between investor group Continuum Analytics and Honarkar’s Laguna Beach Company until the end of this month. 

The judgment comes after armed security guards representing both groups clashed last week, prompting City Manager Shohreh Dupuis to close the two hotels out of concern for public safety. 

City officials agreed to reopen the properties last Friday under the condition that any onsite security personnel would be unarmed and there were no more threats to public safety. The investor group is now allowed access to and can resume hotel operations until court’s ruling on the request for a preliminary injunction, currently set for May 30.

Much Law Firm’s Issac Zfaty, counsel to Mo Honakar and the Laguna Beach Company, said there are multiple lawsuits pending over the dispute and that the firm is currently looking into financial irregularities they identified earlier in the year with their investors. 

“There are tens of millions of dollars in liens that Mr. Honarkar did not know about and which, at a minimum, should have been disclosed,” Zfaty said in a statement to the Indy. “We hope that Mr. Honarkar’s investors will cooperate and explain their actions without any further aggression. They have made various misstatements in their filings that we hope were the product of carelessness and not a deliberate attempt to mislead the court. We will, of course, dispel any false claims at the injunction hearing on May 30.”

In the meantime, however, Zfaty said there were no plans to appeal the temporary restraining order. 

“We will abide by the Court’s decision to simply stay away from the hotels for three weeks so that he can sort out the relationships,” he said.

Representing the investor group, lawyer Marc Cohen said it’s “business as usual” at the two hotels. 

“At the end of the day, the judge ruled in our favor,” Cohen said. “We have restarted operations and will continue to do so despite Mr. Honarkar’s recent aggressive and inappropriate tactics.”

Last week’s conflicts were related to an ongoing civil dispute over the control of operations and management at the hotel properties between Honarkar and a group of investors who claim to have bailed out Honarkar from foreclosure two years ago.

As part of the bailout, Honarkar contributed all of his assets to a 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 14 West hotel. 

However, on May 2, the Laguna Beach Police Department responded to claims of trespassing and physical altercations between two armed security guard teams at 14 West (formally the Holiday Inn). The police responded to another disturbance at Hotel Laguna in the afternoon and again later at 14 West that evening. The incidents led the city manager to issue a nuisance abatement order late that evening, citing unsafe conditions for the public and Laguna Beach police. 

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6 COMMENTS

  1. Why in the name of Laguna Love, can’t we find a way to invite, house, and educate 5,000 migrants? Let’s set the nationwide prescedant.

  2. This article was published before Investco detailed a time live of fact based events to the City Council on May 16 in its live meeting. Those facts are now in the public record. Also on May 15 the OCBD ran a story without the same fact based time line. Fact based evidence speaks for itself.

  3. Tony, Tuesday was nothing short of a joke wrapped within a softened threat demanding permits and ownership rights without court orders. I can call into the next meeting and proclaim the sky is not blue, and they will let me speak gibberish the entire 2 minutes. Where are the cold hard facts? Our community devours anything antiMo without verifying its validity, purely because they love to hate the guy. The press is also a major disappointment, what happened to the real journalists of the past that would take the time to actually research what they are writing about? This circulating video is eye-opening and contradicts a lot of what was said Tuesday, while providing a glimpse into the clown show that is Continuum.

    https://www.dropbox.com/home?preview=Hotel+Laguna+5_2_23+-+HD+720p.mov

  4. Jim Watson read the legal documents where Mo signed most if not all his properties to including 14 West and Hotel Laguna in exchange for preventing Mo from going into bankruptcy. They appointed managers for the the various properties that had absolute power over hiring and firing of at-will employees. Mo was an at-will administrative manager reporting to the manager of the Hotel Laguna and 14 West. When he was terminated in March he had no recourse and had no authority over any dealings with the two hotels. So get your facts straight before you make excuses for someone who lead a group of armed thugs to forcibly take over the two hotels aided and abetted by Bob Whalen, Sue Kempf Shohreh Dupuis and Phil Kohn. The four city leaders had the information as to ownership of the properties and they were owned by the MOM group and Mo had no authority whatsoever as he had been fired or dismissed. But instead of immedideately arresting the armed thugs and Mo for trespassing, forcible detainment, robbery, terrorizing guests and staff and public endangerment they allowed Mo and the armed thugs to take control for 17 hours. And then what did city police do? They removed EVERYONE, the owners, the employees, hotels guests and the thugs from both properties. Looks to me like someone in the City government owed Mo a big favor to pull off such a miscarriage of justice. And the buck stops with Mayor Whalen. He has a law degree from Berkeley so he can be assumed to have a modicum of intelligence. So something else must have caused him and his direct reports to allow this to happen

  5. Further Jim Watson, the press keeps reporting that both sides had guns. NO they did not. MOM/Investco told the police multiple times including on body cam, told city hall senior employees multiple times that they did not have guns. But the City Manager, Press etc all parroted the line that both sides were armed and have not issued a retraction. The reason 14 West was eventually shut down, which imo is what Mo wanted all along, was because of HIS thug carrying a gun after both sides agreed to no guns. Regardless of any of this – when an armed force comes into a business the city should have arrested them for armed trespassing and destruction of property. There are documents supporting all of these statements. The City Manager, City Attorney, Mayor Whelan and Pro Tem Kempf knew all this yet let the lies and the dangerous situation unfold.

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