December 4, 2016

Important Update on SM Developer Found to Have Forged Documents, Committed Perjury and Engaged in Massive Fraud

In SMCLC’s November 28, 2016 alert we informed you that the Los Angeles Superior Court had found that Santa Monica’s most prolific downtown developer, NMS, and its founder and CEO Neil Shekhter, had committed “massive, intentional, coordinated efforts to destroy evidence,” “fraud,” and “perjury.”

The Court has now issued further rulings. The Court “ordered the real estate mogul to cede all control of [the nine projects in dispute in that lawsuit, including in Santa Monica,]” according to the L.A. Business Journal. The Court also ordered NMS to pay more than $6 million in attorneys’ fees and costs.

But NMS has many more existing and pending projects in Santa Monica that would significantly alter our Downtown that were not part of that lawsuit. The City has just confirmed to us that NMS has 18 (eighteen) pending Santa Monica projects, 15 in our Downtown, that have not yet been approved. And we understand that NMS has additional sites in Santa Monica that will likely lead to even more NMS development applications.

Given the Court’s comprehensive findings, SMCLC is calling for the City of Santa Monica to end all discussions and negotiations with NMS and Shekhter on all pending NMS projects. The City should also do an in-depth review of all of its rights as to all existing NMS projects, including NMS’ compliance with all of its obligations. Last week SMCLC sent the City a public records request for copies of all NMS development agreements.

Can the Council assure residents and the business community, that despite the Court’s extensive findings, it has confidence in NMS’ basic honesty and reliability? We think not. Santa Monica must not do business with people found to have engaged in the “massive,” “coordinated,” and pervasive misconduct found by the Court.

We want to correct one item from our 11/28/16 alert. The projects for the Jo-Ann Fabrics and Aaron Brothers sites are not NMS projects. Rather, the Denny’s site across the street, as well as many others downtown, are NMS projects.

This is an especially urgent matter when we are dealing with a single developer who would control so much of our downtown.