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County: Developer Doesn't Own All of Las Lomas

Posted: February 28, 2008 1:53 a.m.
Updated: April 30, 2008 5:03 a.m.
Top County planners have concluded that half of the Las Lomas property is owned by an elderly Van Nuys man and his disabled wife, as revealed by The Signal earlier this month.

Los Angeles County's Chief Executive Officer William T. Fujioka released the results of an investigation requested two weeks ago by Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich requesting a probe into the ownership of the Las Lomas property.

On Feb. 8, The Signal reported that R. Fred McHaddad and his wife Janet own 251 acres of the proposed 555-acre community planned by Las Lomas developer Dan S. Palmer.

On Feb. 12, Antonovich asked the county Board of Supervisors to look into the matter and determine who owns the property.

The board instructed county counsel, the chief executive officer, the director of planning and the county assessor to investigate.

On Friday, the assigned group, headed by Fujioka released its findings.

Of 12 parcel lots identified by investigators as being included in the Las Lomas plan, six are owned by the Las Lomas Land Co., LLC and the other six are owned by McHaddad.

Land owned by Las Lomas was purchased in the summer of 2006, between June 1 and July 27.

McHaddad, 77, who lives in Van Nuys, purchased half of his land in November 1984 with his wife, bought a fourth piece of land in the same area a decade later, and two other parcels in the year 2000, according to the findings of the county probe.

Papers filed with the county list the developer as the sole owner of the 555 acres, which are proposed as a mini-community to be located in the Newhall Pass, on the east side of The Old Road between Calgrove Boulevard and the Michael D. Antonovich Open Space Preserve.

In November, the Las Lomas Land Co., LLC., applied to the Los Angeles County planning office for permission to reconfigure 14 parcel lots of land, indicating in its application that it was the owner and applicant of the 555 acres inn question.

Antonovich asked top planners to determine the property's legal owner.

Two of the parcels owned by the Las Lomas Land Co. were acquired through Samuel R. Biggs, the Santa Monica-based  trustee handling the estate of Ralph Thomas Flora who died in 2000 and who had created the trust in his will.

Biggs sold the land to Palmer July 27, 2006.

Half of the parcel lots of land owned by Las Lomas were acquired from the limited partnership of Newhall Calgrove Estates.

The lots measure 23 acres, 40 acres and about 450,000 square feet.

According to land documents on file at the County Registrar's office in Van Nuys, Newhall Calgrove's general partners, Ghislaine G. Brassine and retired physician Dr. Richard J. Zauner, sold the land to Palmer June 1, 2006.

The remaining land owned by Las Lomas was purchased from Carole D. Bergin, of North Hollywood, who joined Palmer as co-plaintiff in a lawsuit filed by the developer against the city of Santa Clarita in 2003.

Bergin sold her land - more than 300,000 square feet - to Palmer in July 2006.


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