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Saudis Secretly Bought Stake in Marina Leases : Real estate: County supervisors approved the multimillion-dollar deal involving public land.

First Of Two Parts

November 12, 1989|JEFFREY L. RABIN and WILLIAM C. REMPEL | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

County approval came in August--without dissent and without inquiry into the identities or background of Lurie's financial partners. Sullivan simply pledged in writing that his clients were not involved in any criminal activity and explained his clients' desire for secrecy:

"They are wealthy individuals who . . . wish to remain anonymous in order to avoid hucksters, flimflam men, gold diggers, extortionists, kidnapers, terrorists and similar criminal elements that tend to gravitate to and feed upon the prominent and well-to-do."

Today, all that remains unresolved are some troublesome legal matters and the lingering secrecy controversy.

Aminoff & Co. of Beverly Hills, which through Asian Oceanic played a role in bringing Lurie together with Sullivan, has sued Lurie for breach of contract for failing to pay $3.2 million it says Lurie owes. And in a recent letter to the Board of Supervisors, former Aminoff President Eskenazi threatened to sue the county for approving the deal without requiring Lurie to pay the disputed fee.

As for the secrecy issue, New York broker Cecil, for one, dismisses it as minor compared to "the fiasco in the marina" that he says would have occurred if Lurie had gone bankrupt.

"The value of property all over the marina--the condos especially--would have gone through the floor," Cecil said. "Listen, people (in the marina) ought to get down and kiss the ground" the investors walk on, he said.

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