Criminal Case Against Larchmont Bungalow

January 4th, 2013

The last-ditch effort of Larchmont Bungalow’s defense attorney Mr. Alan Fenster to have the criminal case against the restaurant’s principal dismissed was a motion alleging discriminatory prosecution.

As Judge Kathleen A. Kennedy had already stated in the previous hearing, the defense had not provided any evidence of discrimination. Even today, Mr. Fenster’s irrelevant argument could be summarized as, “There is nothing wrong with this restaurant because even the mayor eats here.”  The judge said that she herself would probably enjoy dining at the establishment, but that would not change the crux of the charges, which is that the defendant had signed for the building space a covenant, which he did not adhere to.

It is expected that a date for the criminal trial will be set on February 15, 2013. Additionally, there is an ongoing matter related to Larchmont Bungalow’s violations of the fire code for which the LAFD shut it down in September 2012.

November 30, 2012

After continuing Monday’s arguments on the motion presented by Bungalow’s defense attorney Alan Fenster, Judge Kathleen A. Kennedy stated that she is not convinced and will therefore not dismiss the case based on Mr. Fenster’s allegations of discrimination. The defendant himself however interrupted to say that he wanted to take the stand and make a statement. Though such action will have no bearing on the already stated denial of the presented motion, the judge said that the defendant has the right to take the stand if he wishes to. The court will hear him on January 4th, after which a trial date will finally be set for the three criminal charges against him.

November 26, 2012

A full day in court arguing the motions of defense attorney Mr. Fenster to have the case dismissed. To be continued on November 30th.

October 19th, 2012

Bungalow has yet again sought a continuance based on the unavailability of a witness. Motions will be argued on November 26th.

September 17, 2012

Recap of the proceedings in the Criminal Courts Building in downtown Los Angeles:

The city’s criminal case against illegal restaurant Larchmont Bungalow was on the schedule of Division 109 this morning in order for Judge Kathleen A. Kennedy to hear two motions filed by Bungalow’s newest defense attorney, Mr. Alan Fenster.

One motion requesting for the criminal case to be dismissed based on alleged discovery-related violations was readily denied by the judge. The other motion, which pertains to issues already addressed in the two-year civil case (which Bungalow lost, and whereby its illegality reiterated), will be heard on October 19th when the relevant witnesses are available to appear in court. Mr. Fenster is also planning to subpoena more personnel from the Building Department.

The filing of such frivolous motions is a last-ditch effort by the Bungalow defense team to postpone the legally logical conclusion to the city’s three-year criminal case against it. For those unfamiliar with this issue, Bungalow has been operating without the most basic city permit required of restaurants or any kind of food-service business. The last permit issued for that office-building space was for food-retail and it was declared void on October 28, 2009. After several administrative appeals and hearings, that food-retail permit, which is in the same category as the one used by Starbucks and other coffee takeout places, was revoked for good in December 2009.

Three criminal charges were filed by the city in early 2010, among which involved the defendant’s violation of the terms of a document he had signed — he has stated that he could not have understood that document because of a blood disease he is afflicted with. (No word if Mr. Fenster will use that as a defense in the actual trial.) The criminal case was repeatedly held over as Bungalow asked for the civil court system to decide whether the revocation was proper. It had been understood that Bungalow would abide by the decision of the civil court; however, when the judge finally decided in December 2011 in favor of the city (stating that the revocation was in fact proper), the criminal case continued to be delayed by attorney changes on the part of Bungalow.

The latest maneuvering of Bungalow includes the subpoenaing of a sitting member of the city council and the filing of said two motions. Once the judge issues a decision on the remaining motion, on or after October 19th, a trial date may finally be set. What makes this case unusual is the length of time it has been taking to prosecute three misdemeanors and the continued normal operation of Bungalow, as though it were a completely legal restaurant. There is no record of any other food facility operating so flagrantly without a city permit for three years and with the open patronage of high-ranking government officials.

For more background on this community issue, you may search this site. We will add details and links to this entry soon. Thank you.

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