City’s Criminal Case Against Larchmont Bungalow

December 27, 2012
 
LATEST UPDATE: The Larchmont Bungalow closed in the summer of 2017.


The city has a pending criminal case against the Larchmont Bungalow. The three charges are failing to comply with orders, providing false information, and operating without a certificate of occupancy.

Bungalow has remained open even after its permit was revoked in the wake of their lawyers’ filing a civil case against the city. The civil case was decided in favor of the city in December 2011, and the pre-trial hearing in the criminal case has been delayed to October 2014.

UPDATE: The fire department filed a separate case against Larchmont Bungalow for safety violations in 2012 — in that case, Bungalow pleaded no contest to the court’s finding of guilt and in April 2013 was sentenced to three years’ probation.

Larchmont Bungalow

TIMELINE OF EVENTS

May 2009:
Bungalow is cleared under the special “Q” zoning conditions of Larchmont Village. They are cleared because their permit application is for that of a retail/takeout establishment, not a sit-down restaurant.

June 2009: A legal affidavit is signed by a Larchmont Bungalow representative stating that the establishment would operate as a take-out and not have seating for dine-in.  Technically called a “covenant,” the affidavit is an instrument used by the Department of Building and Safety to guarantee compliance. Bungalow is allowed to have only seven (7) parking spaces as long as it provides no seating for dining and operates only as a takeout place. This is because a sit-down restaurant with Bungalow’s gross floor area would require 25 parking spaces.

October 2009
Larchmont Bungalow opens with only a takeout/retail license but operates as a sit-down restaurant. The Department of Building and Safety revokes the certificate of occupancy because of the violation.

December 2009
An appeal by Larchmont Bungalow is denied, and the validity of the signed affidavit is upheld. The establishment’s permit and occupancy certificate that are required for businesses to operate are revoked.

February 2010

Larchmont Bungalow starts a Living Social deal involving dine-in only coupons for bargain hunters. (To date, they have negotiated to honor more than 8,000 coupons, all with the stipulation that they can only be used for dine in.)

March 2010
Assistant City Attorney Tina Hess files criminal charges against Larchmont Bungalow. The three counts are failing to comply with a city agency; providing false information; and continuing to operate without a certificate of occupancy.

May 2010
Judge Spurgeon Smith grants a continuance in the criminal case, because of Bungalow’s civil suit against the city.

August 2010
Larchmont Bungalow is given another delay when the criminal arraignment is postponed to December 16, 2010, one week after the court date in Bungalow’s civil case.

November 2010
Judge David Yaffe, the presiding judge in the civil case, retires.

December 2010
Kim Westhoff, Deputy City Attorney for the City of Los Angeles, says the civil case will be heard on March 21, 2011 (the delay is on account of the  judge’s retirement).

Jonathan Galatzan, Deputy City Attorney for the City of Los Angeles, says that the criminal arraignment will be on March 29, 2011.

Early 2011

The judge in the civil case recuses himself because he lives in Hancock Park. The new judge sets the civil case hearing for May 19th.

The arraignment for the criminal case, being handled again by Tina Hess, was set for March 29th, then delayed to May 17th, then again to June 29th, then to September 8th, then yet again to November 9th, then to January 20th 2012, in order to wait for the civil case to be decided.

December 30, 2011

Larchmont Bungalow loses its civil case against the city. The criminal arraignment takes place in early 2012.

August 14, 2012
With the defendant hiring a new attorney, Mr. Alan Fenster, the court sets the next hearing date for August 30, 2012.

November 7, 2013
Date of jury trial is expected to be set.

Address: 107 N Larchmont Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90004

Location: West side of street, north of 1st Street, south of Beverly Blvd

Phone number: 323 461-1745    Hours Open: 7:30 am to 10 pm


On 6/29/2009  permit no. 09016-10000-05855 was issued for a take-out restaurant and retail at 107 N. Larchmont Blvd. The plans approved by the LADBS did not indicate any indoor or outdoor seating for dining.  Further, a Covenant and Agreement was signed by a Bungalow representative in which it was agreed that “No seating for dining is allowed.”   

On 10/26/2009 an inspection revealed that 107 Larchmont Blvd. had been occupied and in use with seating for dining without final inspections and an Occupancy Certificate.  The Owner was ordered to stop the use and call for final inspections and obtain the Certificate of Occupancy (C of O).  On 10/27/2009 Order to Comply (OTC)  no.  09DMI00802-107 was issued.

On 10/28/2009, after final inspections were made, a C of O was issued.  At the time of final inspection there was NO seating for dining provided and OTC no. 09DMI00802-107 was closed.

On 10/28/2009 upon responding to a complaint regarding seating for dining, an inspection revealed that indoor and outdoor seating was brought in and was being provided for dining.

On 10/29/2009 OTC no. 09DMI00805-107 was issued ordering the owner to stop the unapproved use of a restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating for dining, and to remove all seating for dining.

On 11/2/2009 a Notice of Intent to Revoke the Permit and Certificate of Occupancy was issued to the owner.

December 2009
Larchmont Bungalow’s appeal is denied. The establishment’s permit and occupancy certificate that are required for business establishments to operate are revoked.

March 2010
Assistant City Attorney Tina Hess files criminal charges against Larchmont Bungalow. The three counts are failing to comply with a city agency; providing false information; and continuing to operate without a certificate of occupancy.

May 2010
Judge Spurgeon Smith grants an extension in the criminal case, because of Bungalow’s civil suit against the city.

November 2010
Judge David Yaffe, the presiding judge in the civil case, retires.

December 2010
Kim Westhoff, Deputy City Attorney for the City of Los Angeles, says the civil case will be heard on March 21, 2011 (the delay is on account of the  judge’s retirement).

Jonathan Galatzan, Deputy City Attorney for the City of Los Angeles, says that the criminal arraignment will be heard on March 29, 2011.

UPDATE:
In early 2011, the judge in the civil case recused himself. Tina Hess returns to handling the criminal case.

March 2011
The criminal arraignment is delayed to May 17th in order to wait for a decision in the civil case.

April 2011
The judge in the civil case sets the hearing for May 19th.

May 2011
The criminal arraignment is postponed to June 29th, in order to wait for the civil case to be decided.

June 2011
The criminal arraignment is again “continued” to September 8th.

July 25, 2011

Hearing date for the civil case.

September 8, 2011
The criminal arraignment “continued” to November 9th.

October 17, 2011
Judge in the civil case gives attorneys a month to submit proposals.

November 9, 2011
Criminal arraignment continued to January 2012.

December 30, 2011
Larchmont Bungalow loses its civil case against the city.

February 2012

Criminal arraignment. Bungalow pleads not guilty.

April 27, 2012
Scheduled pre-trial hearing in the criminal case. Defense attorney is Mitch Egers.

August 30, 2012
Date to which pre-trial hearing was continued. Defense attorney is Alan Fenster.


Larchmont Bungalow has stated in a paid ad that it is in full compliance with the law because it is a take-out restaurant that packages all its food in to-go containers.  Everyone in the neighborhood can see that the majority of the patrons of this establishment are not taking their food to-go, but are seated while eating full meals with proper cutlery. Even the health department has formally noted in its documents that this eatery is serving more than sixty people and has a seating capacity that is incongruent with the original plans submitted and approved to both the city and the county.

In their March 22, 2011 reply brief in the civil suit, the Bungalow’s lawyers stated:

No seating “for dining” is provided at Larchmont Bungalow. Customers order from a counter and are provided their food purchases in disposable containers. Some customers choose to remain on-site to enjoy their food purchases and Larchmont Bungalow provides seating for those customers, as is typical of many food service establishments that are considered primarily take-out…

(Emphasis and underlining added by LLA — ed.)


LINKS TO RELATED ARTICLES:

Application for a Mini-Mall in Larchmont Village?
Health Department’s Official Inspection Report
Larchmont Bungalow: Furniture Store
Larchmont Bungalow: 8,177 Coupons for Dine-In


 

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