Prominent real estate developer Robert F. Maguire has been sued for more than $50 million by the family trust behind the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, alleging that Maguire hasn't kept up payments for an aviation business he bought.
The R.E. & M. Petersen Living Trust is the legacy of Robert Petersen and his wife, Margie, who built a magazine empire that published Hot Rod, Motor Trend and other popular titles.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Friday, July 20, 2012 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 4 News Desk 1 inches; 59 words Type of Material: Correction
Aviation lawsuit: An article in the July 14 Business section about a lawsuit against real estate developer Robert F. Maguire by the family trust behind the Petersen Automotive Museum, which alleged that Maguire hasn't kept up payments for an aviation business he bought, stated that Robert Petersen founded Hot Rod magazine in 1943. Hot Rod was founded in 1948.
Maguire bought Petersen Aviation from the Petersens in 2006 for about $115 million and renamed it Maguire Aviation. The company provides services to aircraft owners at Van Nuys airport such as fuel, maintenance and hangar space.
The Petersens made a $45-million loan to Maguire to facilitate the deal, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday in Los Angeles County Superior Court. Maguire's aircraft company, Valjean Associates, has failed to make required interest payments and now owes the trust about $52.5 million, the suit said.
Maguire personally guaranteed more than $31 million of the loan, the suit said.
"This was intended to be a very short-term loan," said attorney Howard J. Weg, who represents the Petersen family trust. "These are significant dollars that could be put to really good use in this challenging economy for charities that need it such as children's camps, hospitals and mental health facilities."
Maguire said in an interview Friday that he is working on a transaction that will create "sufficient funds" to address the debt.
"I am sure we will get it settled and get it resolved amicably," Maguire said of the lawsuit.
Robert Petersen, who died in 2007, was a former Hollywood publicist who founded Hot Rod magazine in 1943 and went on to build a lucrative business publishing specialty magazines including Tiger Beat, Teen and Guns & Ammo. He and wife Margie, a former fashion model, were involved with several charities and were the founding benefactors of the Petersen Automotive Museum, which opened on Wilshire Boulevard in 1994. She died last year.
Maguire's real estate company, Maguire Investments, owns an Ocean Avenue office building in Santa Monica and other property. Maguire and previous partners built some of the region's best known skyscrapers including U.S. Bank Tower in downtown Los Angeles, the tallest office building in the West.