Letter: Hypocrisy of City Management Stunning

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The hypocrisy and malfeasance of city management is stunning. At its May 16 meeting, city council proclaimed June 2 National Gun Violence Awareness Day in Laguna. Yet on May 2, fully knowing that Mo Honarkar was no longer the owner/operator of 14 West hotel and Hotel Laguna, senior city officials allowed him and 16 armed subordinates to storm violently into the hotels. 

Mayor Bob Whalen, Pro Tem Sue Kempf, City Manager Shohreh Dupuis and City Attorney Phil Kohn all had documented evidence of hotel ownership and operation by Investco in April. Yet at 6:30 a.m., when Honarkar broke into 14 West with guns, criminally trespassed, destroyed property, alleged assault on hotel staff and held staff hostage in a locked room, all in an effort to undo his removal as hotel manager in March, the city manager decided, incredibly, that it was merely an unsettled “civil dispute” and left staff, guests and police at the mercy of armed thugs. Three days later, a court concluded, based on the same evidence the city possessed, that Honarkar’s legal claim was dubious and ordered him to stay away from the hotels on pain of contempt. 

So, I guess city management only worries about gun violence when it doesn’t happen here. Regardless of the pretext for Honarkar’s armed invasion — essentially a wrongful termination claim – he and his criminal gang should have been immediately arrested, or at the very least removed, after the 6:30 a.m. police call. Because they didn’t, the Honarkar gang then repeated their armed assault at Hotel Laguna. Three times police were called. As a result, three times, there were no police available for dispatch, and at least one DUI was ignored. Investco repeatedly begged the city for help, pointing out that it had no guns – only Honarkar’s criminal group did. Yet, the city manager instead punished Investco and innocent hotel guests and employees for the armed attack on them by shutting down the hotels and kicking out the guests. 

City management: why did you tolerate such bold-faced criminality? Why is the favoritism so blatant for Honarkar, even to the point of ignoring his blatantly criminal conduct? Why are you not taking your own gun violence proclamation seriously? Residents: why are you not furious at city leaders for ignoring their legal duty and endangering lives? What if someone had been killed? 

Michèle Monda, Laguna Beach

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21 COMMENTS

  1. I’m glad I wasn’t there 💔well let’s hope by the time are family comes to visit on fourth of July everything will be okay I’m not going to hold my breath any time soon 😂🤣😆 alls well that ends well 😉😘✌️have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend Lisa !! God Bless America 🇺🇸❤️👌👍

  2. Hatfields vs McCoys, response by Keystone Cops. Mo has some explaining to do before a Judge so what’s next a Kangaroo Court? Laguna needs a city process that respects our General Plan, a Council to honor Residents, and a new CM to execute policy on behalf of LB Residents.

  3. Michelle Monda, the only reason that makes any sense for this miscarriage of justice IMO is that Shohreh Dupuis wanted to give Mo time to see if Mo and his armed thugs could force the Investco Group to capitulate to Mo Mo’s abslolutely false assertion that he was wrongfully terminated. The assignment document that Mo approved I believe clearly states that Mo when appointed as administrative manager could be dismissed by the managing manager for any reason and therefore no reason. Mo agreed to this as the basis of his being hired. Also in addition to this the City had the new lease for the Laguna Hotel signed by E. Merrit the Merrit manager which gave the investment group a lease on the Hotel Laguna for 33 years with options. The 14 West property again with MO’s signature was transferred along with other properties to the investor group. A freshman in high school reading those documents could not have possibly come to any conclusion other than Mo and his armed thugs were criminally trespassing.

    While Kohn, the City Attorney, may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer Mayor Whalen has a law degree from Berkeley. That is why I am speculating that the two council members(Mayor and Mayor pro tem) were doing Shohreh‘s bidding to give Mo and his armed thugs 17 hours to terrorize the owners, the employees and hotel customers with small children possibly to force rage investor group toreinstate Mo. Remember these are the same two Council members that voted against releasing documents on Shohreh’s traffic citatation. Guess the two thought they had had their usual 3-2 majority which for four years had been completely ignoring the residents wishes IMO.

    I believe the City is liable for their actions perhaps even conspritorally so. I hope that the investor group sues both Mo and the City and any that employee who may have been traumatized does the same thing. Especially the young lady who I believe indicated that she felt she was being forcibly held against her will.

    This is a stain on the leadership of our city government and hence on all of us. I truly hope that the two new council members do the right thing and vote against extending the contract of the City Manager and that she be immediately terminated. This along with the departure of the City Attorney would be a great start towards transparency and honesty IMO. Hopefully the upcoming election will continue the recovery.

  4. Poor Chris spent too much money on an ad that had the facts all wrong. Too bad he didn’t see the last video first.

  5. Jim and Doug – are you aware that Mo’s armed thugs used the key Mo still had to break into the Hotel Laguna before it opened? Are you aware that they then changed the locks? Are you aware that when MOM/Continum tried to get into the hotel that they legally operate and own that they couldn’t get in because the locks were changed and the armed thugs were inside? Are you aware that MOM continually that day, including on Police body cam footage, begged the police to get them out of their properties and that THEY were not armed, only Mo’s thugs were armed? Are you aware that this video shows the rightful owners trying to get into their own property? Seems like you two should know the facts before you start spreading misinformation and your opinion parading as fact.

    Doug – the ad was completely factual. Go to the City website and see the timeline. It has documents to back it up. So do a little work before you shoot your mouth off.

  6. Michele, share the footage and the city links you claim provide that information. How do you have access to body camera footage but have yet to share it all?

    Public comment is not fact, it is opinion. You would think all the information you speak of would have been disclosed by the MOM group in their recent court filings. As of this morning, none of that was filed with the local courts, and it appears there is a hearing tomorrow. Either they have poor legal counsel, or you have been duped.

    Eagerly awaiting your response and evidence.

  7. The links are on the City website Jim. I’m not doing your research for you. I didn’t say I had the body cam footage. MOM stated it was taken by the police on May 2 at the City Council meeting or didn’t you listen to it?

    MOM’s court filings have to do with Mo Honarkar and his non existent ownership claim to the properties that they financially bailed him out of not the proceedings of May 2 so you are conflating the two situations. I believe the court date was Tuesday but got continued to Friday due to some issue. So I’m not sure what you think is missing in the “filing” but it certainly won’t have anything to do with the May 2 caper by Mo Honarkar.

  8. Wow – I sure hope that when all the dust settles, Mo Harnakar takes the likes of Michele Monda and Chris Catsimanes to the cleaners with a big old libel lawsuit. You who profess to know all the juicy details are nothing more than gossip mongers. There is a group of nasty individuals in town (most of us know who they are) who are “Get Mo” at any cost. Well guess who loses? Laguna loses. Hotel Laguna will be locked in litigation for a few more years, to the dismay of all of us residents who recognize what a great historical treasure this building is, now subject to incompletion and a blight on our town. What Mo & Company had done to date before the ugly May hostile takeover was beautiful – first rate, excellent food and top quality service. What a shame. What an angry group of people, frothing at their literal mouths like rabid dogs.

    I’m following the court cases and will be happily waiting for Mo and Company’s vindication. Why don’t you all give it a rest and let the court’s decide? Until then, all you are is a bunch of loud and obnoxious noise. Give it a rest.

  9. Oh Jennifer how far you have fallen from any sort of moral compass. It’s a shame you don’t follow facts but instead are so full of hatred that you are blinded to reality. It’s you and your group who are frothing at the mouth because you still can’t get over your very own rabid dog, Peter Blake, losing. I’m following the court cases too – I think you are badly uninformed. If you, a lawyer, are not understanding the facts here – well, our system is in trouble. The courts did decide. On Monday the Temporary Restraining Order against Mo was upheld and is now an Injunction against him. So I guess he wasn’t vindicated. But you aren’t interested in the truth. Just your hatred and spin. Sad that you are where you are today.

  10. When the court ruled against Mo and for MOM LLC on Monday, the Injunction extended the restraining order forbidding Mo from coming within 200 ft. until the lawsuit is settled. That means that MOM LLC proved they are in fact the clear owners/operators of the hotels and other properties here in Laguna. Honarkar has no case – he presented no documents nor could he substantiate in any way his claims to the properties. The judge simply did not believe him. He signed over all his rights to the properties in 2021 to MOM LLC and he was just an at will employee. They terminated his employment in March. Then on May 2 he and his armed people trespassed, harassed and destroyed property. These are facts. He should have been arrested but the City Manager didn’t do that. The court obviously didn’t believe Honarkar or his “documents” that I understand were changed days before the hearing and only had Honarkar’s signature. This is all public information.

    I’ll stick to the court’s decision and am going to give MOM LLC an opportunity to make things right with our grand old lady, Hotel Laguna. Mo, with all his building problems, red tags, Coastal Commission violations – well – I just don’t trust that kind of operating style. And as an added fact MOM LLC served subpoenas on the City yesterday regarding this lawsuit with Mo. Filed with the City Clerk. Check it out – the city is complicit with what happened on May 2 and they are going to find out what happened. They subpoened the City Manager, City Attorney and Mayor Bob Whalen. Do you think a lawsuit against the city is far behind???

  11. Billy, I guess I missed your epistle bemoaning the fact that the City Manager spent tens of thousands of dollars hiring an LA lawyer and generating a slick video to prove her version of the traffic stop when if was innocent as she claims it would have been so easy to release the telephone logs, the dispatch logs of the call by the officer and the body cam video. That was our money as well. Again if I missed your lamentation about wasting taxpayer money in what IMO could almost be seen as self dealing please let me know.

    A lawsuit is the only way we will find out why this happened. MOM has already asked that all phone records and other data pertaining to this incident be preserved. Yes, it will cost the taxpayers some money. But that is the only way people that are iMO almost cultishly attached to Mo and to the City Manager will see theevidence that might cause them to think. On second thought after what we have witnessed in the last six years that may be my wishful thinking.

  12. Doug Vogel and Jim Watson I got the information from reading legal documents that were supplied to the City by the MOM Investor group . Yet the City still said this was a civil matter, I guess they were trying to help Mo in his quest to do what? When armed thugs break into a business change locks and passwords, damage other property, steal money and terrorize employees and guests how can it possibly be just a civil matter? IMO the Mayor, Mayor pro tem, City Attorney and above all the City Manager whose is responsible for enforcing the laws of the municipality are totally responsible for this miscarriage of the law. If you two want to see what documents the MOM attorney gave the City I will be happy to send them to you. Just PM me.

  13. Hi, I am not a resident of Laguna Beach, but I live in Mission Viejo and I know Mohammad Honarkar and his family very well for the past 35 years, at one point I was his investment partner in a house in the city of RSM, and because of that I have a lot to contribute to the matter.
    I believe in Michele Monda.
    Because I also searched the courts and city and MOM’s filling and find exactly what Michele claims to be!
    In fact MOM groups can used my testimony in court of law to their benefit if they want.
    Just so you all know, the very important part of my comment was edited by the LB Independent newspaper editor when I submitted it.

  14. Mr. Mareban. Agree. When residents who have no personal investment and nothing to gain by their government associations take the time to stay informed and speak up on questionable City operation matters, it speaks volumes.

    IMO, Ms. Monda asked relevant and necessary questions that deserve answers from our City Manager, City Attorney, Staff and the Officials directly involved. Their government position’s shouldn’t allow them to show favoritism or act irresponsibly.

    Also, I remember reading about the close association you had and shared in this publication years ago so I know you speak from personal and business experience. Thanks for the input and staying tuned in to what’s happening in Laguna Beach. I know everyone is looking forward to having our Landmark Laguna Hotel restored and it and Laguna Beach getting the positive worldwide attention it deserves.

  15. Thank you, MJ ABRAHAM:
    Although I said that I wasn’t a Laguna Beach resident, I take a personal interest in it, as the rest of the Orange County population does.
    Specifically in Hotel Laguna where every Sunday morning with my brothers having breakfast and a cold drink out there and after that we take a walk by the sandy beach and we enjoyed ourselves.
    Hotel Laguna considerd us local and every one treated us as part of Laguna Beach, Hotel Lagun in particular, from the vale parking, to waitress knew us by our first name.
    We were sad when it got closed.
    For years I alone repeatedly went to Crytal Cove State Park and swim in the cold and blue ocean water.
    So with all that said, my offer is still good and open.

  16. Jim, Doug and Jenifer, the Operating Agreement of MOM CA INVESTCO LLC who has the lease for Htole Laguna reads as follows Section 9 Management
    “9.1 Managers.
    (a) Generally. The Company shall be managed by a Person or Persons acting as a “manager” as that term is defined under the Act (each “Manager”). The Managers may be, but shall not be required to be, a Member. One Manager is designated as the managing Manager (the “Managing Manager”). There may be another Manager designated as the administrative Manager (the “Administrative Manager”) and the other Manager is designated as the managing Manager (the “Managing Manager”). The initial Managing Manager shall be MM, which shall hold the office of Managing Manager for an indefinite term unless and until MM resigns (in which event the MOM Member shall designate a replacement Managing Manager). The initial Administrative Manager shall be MH, which shall hold the office of Administrative Manager for an indefinite term unless and until MH resigns or is replaced or removed by the Managing Manager. To (c) Removal. The Managing Manager shall not be subject to removal for any reason. The Managing Manager shall be entitled to remove the Administrative Manager at any time; upon such removal the Managing Manager shall have the sole discretion as to whether to appoint a substitute Administrative Manager.
    9.2 Authority Delegated to Administrative Manager. The Administrative Manager shall only have the duties regarding day to day operations designated in writing to it by the Managing Manager the fullest extent permitted by law….”

    “(c) Removal. The Managing Manager shall not be subject to removal for any reason. The Managing Manager shall be entitled to remove the Administrative Manager at any time; upon such removal the Managing Manager shall have the sole discretion as to whether to appoint a substitute Administrative Manager.
    9.2 Authority Delegated to Administrative Manager. The Administrative Manager shall only have the duties regarding day to day operations designated in writing to it by the Managing Manager.”

    Mo Hornarkar signed the Operating Agreement as did the Managing Manager of MOM CA. So the indisputable facts are:

    1. MOM CA has the lease for Hotel Laguna as the tenant which has been signed by E. Merritt and MOM CA and is recorded.

    2. The MOM CA Managng Manager
    Er the operating agreement signed by Mo had the authority to fire Mo for any reason or no reason whatsoever. As an example he may have found someone that he thought would do a better job as Administrative Manager.

    3. Mo was terminated around the end of March by the Managing Manager.

    Therefore he had no right whatsoever to enter either the Hotel Laguna or 14 West unless as a customer or possibly related to his compensation. He certainly had no right to have keys to those two properties or any of the other 20 or so properties that formerly belonged to him. Yet you know what transpired with his invasion and hostile takeover of the two properties with armed thugs. So please get your facts straight. Any dispute Mo had with his termination was a civil matter. The takeover of the two properties, the damage to those two properties and the obvious harm to the business of those two properties as well as employees and guest being frighted by armed thugs was criminal in any court of law, except in our city where it was called a civil matter.

    Suppose one of you had purchased a home and had the deed when the previous owner with armed thugs broke into you home under some pretext. Upon calling the police department you were told that it was a civil matter and you need to settle it with each other. And furthermore if you called the police again both the intruders and your family and guests would be forcibly removed from your home. Would you think that would be legal? Yet that is what the City did. So please know where of you speak.

  17. None of the cult members above have provided any facts or proof of their claims. Chris has not provided an actual legal document and as of August 2nd the court denied injunctive relief to MOM. There is no new lease or change of ownership. More lies.

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