Letter: No Longer Staying Silent

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As a longtime Laguna Beach resident, and business owner, I have been deeply troubled by the recent conflict at two Laguna Beach Company properties and the false accusations that have followed. I have remained quiet to this point, trusting our legal system to resolve this matter and hold those responsible to account. But as the falsehoods continue, I can remain silent no longer. Due to a financial dispute, unethical business associates of our family-owned company have led a campaign of aggression, intimidation and falsehoods against us. We have recently discovered this is a common business practice of theirs and while it will be a long battle, we hope justice prevails and they can no longer continue to threaten families and business owners.

Make no mistake: our company continues to maintain our full ownership stake in these businesses and other properties in Laguna. This dispute is currently being handled by the courts, where it belongs. Unfortunately, the other side has responded to this disagreement with force, and even violence. Earlier this spring, multiple security personnel forced themselves into Hotel Laguna and 14 West and unlawfully took possession. After repeated attempts to settle the dispute amicably, we reclaimed the properties on the morning of May 2 without incident. The response from our business associate was appalling: an armed security team returned to the properties, assaulted our licensed security staff, and frightened guests. Photos and videos from that day clearly show that these trespassers were the aggressors. In case there is any doubt, please know that Laguna Beach police made one arrest that day: a representative of the other side, who was charged with assault and battery.

I have lived in Laguna Beach for nearly 25 years. I raised my family here. I love this community deeply. My family and I are proud of all we have achieved – including the beautiful re-opening of Hotel Laguna in 2021 – and we have so much left to accomplish, together. Like you, we regret these unfortunate events and hope to move past this dispute as quickly as possible. We appreciate all the support we have received from the community, and we are eager to continue serving our friends and neighbors once again.
Mo Honarkar, Laguna Beach Company Founder

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7 COMMENTS

  1. After reading ad’s, spin, and this rant, enough is enough. Freud called this projection, and or Transference. I call it denial of reality.

    Mo, get a huge mirror and have a look at yourself, because everything you claim and blame is a direct reflection of you. Who you are. What you did, and what you do.

    Everyone that reads this, read this minute order link below that posted on June 5, 2023 from Superior Court Of California, County of Orange, Justice Center. This is our court system and due process fact serving we citizens. The Judge’s detail is clear and chilling considering the violence, threat and damage Honarker brought to MOM CA INVESTCO LLC properties, business, employees, guests and city residents. Over time you have seen, and will see more of these clear court system decisions. Truth speaks for itself.

    https://issuu.com/mominvestco/docs/preliminary_injunction_vs_honarkar_june_5_23?fr=sNDM1MjYwNzkzNjI

  2. For those lacking the time to read the Court’s decision in the link above, in sum it rejects the following claims by Mr. Honarkar central to both his latest letter to the Independent and his full-page ad last week.

    Honarkar’s claim: “[O]ur company continues to maintain our full ownership stake in these businesses [hotel Laguna and 14 West hotel].”

    The Court: On June 8, 2021 Honarkar contributed his interests in Hotel Laguna and 14 West to the MOM CA entities (MOM). “Plaintiffs [i.e., MOM] have established they are authorized to manage and operate” the hotels. “This includes the power to determine who is allowed to work at or enter the properties.”

    Honarkar: “Photos and videos from that day [May 2] clearly show that” MOM trespassed at the hotels and “were the aggressors.”

    The Court: Although in 2021, Honarkar became the hotels’ “administrative manager” by agreement with MOM, MOM retained the right to fire Honarkar, which it did on March 29, 2023.

    Yet, “on May 2, 2023 Honarkar and multiple others under his direction went to the hotels” without MOM’s permission “and sought to retake control. A conflict then took place, police were called, and [the City] temporarily shut down” 14 West. Honarkar had “attempted to shut down the [hotels]” and “created safety issues.”

    “Accordingly, Plaintiffs have established a likelihood of success on the merits” of their claim that Honarkar and his agents trespassed at the hotels on May 2.

  3. I feel sorry for Hornarkar’s loss of most of his property as I know it can be psychologically devastating. But the simple truth is that as shown by his transfer of most of his properties to the MOM entities, it was according to MOM, to avoid bankruptcy. Had he performed according to the MOM CA manager’s expectations as an at will employee as administrative manager he would not have been dismissed from his position but clearly he did not according to MOM and was dismissed. He keeps talking about his “ownership stake in these businesses” as if to imply that he still owns the properties that were, with his agreement, transferred to total control to the various MOM entities. He has no controll of those properties which include the Hotel Laguna and 14 West. He probably has a stake in MOM entities as an investor and that may be what he is trying to conflate as the ownership stake. Except for the properties that were not in the assignment agreement of which there appeared to be relatively few he has no management responsibility whatsoever as the courts have already decided that his dismissal was legal and hence binding. He may have some legal question about severance pay is something for the courts to decide.

    The inexplicable question is:

    WHY DID THE CITY MANAGER, MAYOR WHALEN, MAYOR PRO TEM KEMPF, AND THE CITY ATTORNEY ALLOW MO TO TAKE OVER THE HOTEL LAGUNA 14 WEST WITH WHAT, ACCORDING THE RIGHTFUL OWNERS WERE ARMED THUGS FOR OVER 17 HOURS?

    According to MOM what can only be described as armed thugs changed locks, destroyed property, endangered hotel guests, employees, and residents in the area. The city leaders had all the documentation as to ownership. Why did they not arrest Mo if he was present and the rest of the invaders at 6:30 AM at the Hotel Laguna? Instead they allowed MO’s hired, I assume, trespassers to keep on destroying property and terrorizing employees and guests until nearly midnight. But then, and this is the strangest part of the whole miscarriage of justice, demand that the intruders, the owners and their employees and Hotel guests per the emergency declaration of the City Manager all leave the premises before midnight.

    This debacle, I hope, results in a lawsuit. As the billboards on the truck, recently parked in front of city hall suggested, there may have been ulterior motives for such a seemingly total disregard of the law. Should a lawsuit be instituted,civil or criminal, the discovery process will give us the details of this shameful, iMO, conduct of city leaders.

  4. Mo Honarkar says he is proud of what he has accomplished…”including the beautiful re-opening of Hotel Laguna in 2021″ I drive by the Hotel Laguna many times a week. Did I miss something? It’s been deteriorating day after day, week after week, year after year of your tenure. It has become a sad and faded memory of what it once was, when it was the center of our downtown.

  5. So Chris, you want your taxpayer dollars spent defending the city in a lawsuit that does nothing to improve our city? I have a timeshare you may be interested in!

  6. Jacob, I feel the new clear leadership, energy and commitment to restoration of Hotel Laguna will again make the Hotel the center of town. Stay tuned!

    Billy, under the current city leadership this past four plus years litigation has sky rocketed. Perhaps that leadership is the problem! Stay tuned. Have a good day all.

  7. Thank you Mr. Fisch and Mr. Grossberg for supplying the court data and documents regarding the Hotel Laguna lease ownership and what occurred on May 2. This information doesn’t appear to have been presented in the newspapers or by the City. I am always in awe of the talents of our Laguna Beach residents, and very grateful for their dedication in finding and sharing data with the rest of our community.

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