Monday, February 13, 2017

William Kefalas's Attorney Writes a Letter to the City

It appears that a legal strategy in the form of an attorney's letter has now emerged in the rapidly escalating row between the people of the City of Sierra Madre and the fellow who essentially razed the deemed historic (and now quite red-tagged) Henry A. Darling house. It sketches out for us the very apparent threat of a lawsuit, and then suggests an overly plausible fig leaf of an excuse for City Hall to cave in and settle this unfortunate matter out of court. A test of wills, as it were.

The following is taken from an agenda report for Thursday's Planning Commission meeting. It can be found in its original City Hall setting by clicking here.


Basically what Carlson is tossing out here is if the city allows Kefalas to do what was in his original CUP, and with no loss of any square footage, generic Hardie board siding, or chain store obtained windows, and without any further involvement of Sierra Madre's "vitriolic" Planning Commission, he will magnanimously accept that.

Contemporaneous notes and all.

There is also no mention of any historical findings, despite the fact that it was Mr. Kefalas who, and at the specific request of the Planning Commission, paid to have an official historical report done. An interesting omission from Carlson for sure.

Here is how one reader describes this:

So let me get this straight. Kefalas demolishes a house in violation of the city's demolition ordinance without getting the required Historic Resource Report. When that report is eventually done it reveals what every sentient being already knew before the demolition was done, namely that the Henry A Darling House was historically significant. Now Kefalas gets a lawyer and threatens to sue the city unless they allow him to proceed without regard to the historic significance of the house as revealed in the report. Unbelievable. That's why I'm boycotting The Only Place in Town where he is the owner and where he evidently uses the money he earns to destroy historic homes in Sierra Madre.

Be aware that while this letter is included in the Planning Commission packet for the February 16 meeting, the date of this event will likely move again.


Carlson has the date for this week's Planning Commission "hearing" as February 19th, which is on a Sunday this year. So yes, it looks like he really will need that extra month to get his act together. Out of courtesy to Mr. Carlson, here is a calendar page for February 2017.


One more thing. There is a closed session of the Planning Commission just before this Thursday's public meeting. Any guesses as to what that is about?


It would appear that Mr. Kefalas continues to offer such generous gifts to this city. 

Hold the mayo.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com 

80 comments:

  1. So let me get this straight. Kefalas demolishes a house in violation of the city's demolition ordinance without getting the required Historic Resouce Report. When that report is eventually done it reveals what every sentient being already knew before the demolition was done namely that the Henry A Darling House was historically significant. Now Kefalas gets a lawyer and threatens to sue the city unless they allow him to proceed without regard to the historic significance of the house as revealed in the report. Unbelievable. That's why I'm boycotting The Only Place in Town where he is the owner and where he evidently uses the money he earns to destroy historic homes in Sierra Madre.

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    1. Exactly right 6:41. Kefalas needs to be punished. Not just for his sake but so no one else gets the same idea.

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    2. A city that does not defend its own laws is pretty much useless.

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    3. I have not heard him address what he did with all of the interior fixtures. To buy into the idea that he mistakenly dumped everything, makes his entire story unbelievable.

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  2. I too have been avoiding the Only Place. After all that I have read I will tell 7 other family members what has happen and see if they decide to try other restaurants in town as I have.

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    1. What's that boycott website people are using to stop retailers from carrying the Ivanka Trump clothing line. If any one deserves a boycott it's Kefalas and his Not the Only Place in Town restaurant.

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  3. Kefalas must have known the Henry A Darling house was historic prior to taking the home down to its studs. He exploited a loophole in the ordinance that allowed him to do most of what he did and that loophole is now being closed as the Demolition Ordinance gets revised. But he eventually exceeded what is allowed when he tore off the roof and that's what made it a demolition and required the Historic Resource report. Because the home was deemed historically significant the CUP that was granted prior to him violating the Demolition Ordinance needs to be revoked or revised to take this new information into account for what he can or can't build. Had the Planning Comission had that report in their hands at the beginning and knowing that the home was historically significant they would never have granted the CUP and what it currently allows. Kefalas is trying desperately to hang onto the big addition in the back that was granted in the original CUP but based on the new information such an addition would not comply with the Historic Resource report. The Planning Commission needs to be guided by the historical nature of the home and demand strict compliance with those requirements. The city didn't do anything wrong - he did and he needs to pay a heavy price for his flouting of the city's rules. More importantly the Henry A Darling house needs to be reconstituted as best as can be done despite Kefalas's attempt to remove every last vestige of its historical significance so that he could have a free hand to do what he wanted on that big lot. He only got caught when he stripped off the roof which triggered the Demolition Ordinance and the requirement for the Historic Resource report.

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  4. I join your boycott. His arrogance at the Planning Commission meetings was stunning. And now he wants to sue the city which basically means suing all the residents of Sierra Madre who eat at his greasy spoon. B

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    1. I'm boycotting The Only Place in Town too. Not only because of what he did to the house but also what he does to the food. It's lousy.

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    2. I must have missed the part where he was arrogant at that meeting. What are you referring to? All I remember was the harsh tone of the commissioners and he getting aggravated by it.

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  5. Does anyone know for a fact that he owns THE ONLY PLACE IN TOWN?

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    1. Mr. Kefalas was employed as a houseman by the Place family for many years as was his mother before him. Upon the untimely deaths of the Place family he inherited the Headliner cafe which is now known as "The Only Place In Town" out of respect for Mr. Place. God bless President Trump

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    2. Interesting. Thank you.

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    3. If you look closely you will see the urn containing Mr. Places ashes on an altar over the kitchen doors

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    4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    5. @GlipGlop your ignorance is mind numbing. None of what you are saying is true and yet you feel the moral imperative to spread this alt fact. But this is just a blog right? Nothing you say has any affect right? Maybe take five minutes, do some research and check back with your findings.

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    6. UMM This video is quite telling to say the least.

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    7. How is posting gay porn relevant to anything? have you run out of unintelligible rants and are now sharing your personal porn collection?

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    8. What the hell is a "houseman" 9:02?

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    9. 10:28. I deleted that link. Sorry it got through. Does shed some light on a certain mentality.

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    10. 10:31 I'n any search bar type "houseman" and a list of answers to your question will magically appear.

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    11. @9:35 Hence the moniker GlipGlop
      Perhaps I should say "please provide alt facts to support your assertion"

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  6. All of this matter should have been worked through, behind the scene and not out in public. Very amateur, from both.
    The emphasis of hindsight, will now lay with the City.
    Clearly both applicant and City Planners were never on the same "page", before this item was introduced for first "check".
    The Manager of City Development , also gives the appearance of"on the job" training amateur moves.
    With any luck; and less heated discussions and maybe a visual mock up for the applicant; all this behind closed doors, both City and Homeowner will move ahead, lessons learned and little expense involved in corrections needed.

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    1. I think this is the preliminary jousting. Kefalas's pettifogger is looking to see if the city will defend its laws. I guess that is something we cannot assume city hall is going to do.

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  7. Laws? Rules? Historical review of home, from point of sale? Application submitted by homeowner? City Plan check meets all standards of review?

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  8. Kefalas is the victim of the big bad Planning Commission.
    He's just a poor, gentle soul who was trying to put a roof over his family's head, and who bought a tear-down to do it.

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    1. Anyone know about the money? I'm guessing that he got the house at a good price, because it wasn't supposed to be torn down....

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    2. Everybody knew about what happened to the Browns when they tried to demolish the house. Other buyers played by the rules and made their offer accordingly. Kefalas just thought he was smarter than everyone else. He tried to game the system and got caught with his pants down.

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  9. What happened to Richie, as his lawyer? Maybe Kefalas saw that Richie was a tad too vitriolic himself?

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    1. Richie has a lot on his plate. He is a out to sue Arcadia over voter districting issues, and he has the CETT folks at One Carter.

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  10. So curious how much they billed for that letter. "I thought I was allowed to do it so it's arbitrary to tell me I can't" is the legal strategy?

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  11. I think they're bluffing.

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    1. Of course they are bluffing. Kefalas is a scoundrel for what he did. At least the previous owners the Brown family were up front about their intentions to demolish the house and were stopped in their tracks as a result. Kefalas and his local realtor Renee Rose knew all about the history of this house and how there was an uproar in the city and how the City Council saved the house by passing the emergency demolition moratorium. Despite having that knowledge he proceeded anyway to demolish the house. He evidently thought he could fool everyone. Well, the last laugh is on him. But that doesn't help the Henry A Darling house which Kefalas reduced to a pile of rubble.

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  12. 8:56, victim, really? Over the years City Hall has had many dinning times at The Only Place. You really think this is all by accident? Most of us don't. The Kefalas's have been around some, city administration and fire department connections over the years has got to gain them some insight to working the system.

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    1. if the gentleman worked as a groundskeeper for a generation here he is well aware of the codes. anyone who has done an addition knows the codes. hell, thanks to the codes my house is fireproof. it leaks through the ceiling tie-in every 5 years. thank you city roofing codes.

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    2. 9:49, 8:56 here. I never have been all that good at joking. I was being sarcastic.
      What I meant was that Kefalas is just the kind of jerk who will try to invert reality, and play the victim.

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  13. when will you townies learn that the only way to make noise is to make noise. make a flier and picket in front of the building, on the sidewalks where- contrary to the tables on the sidewalk- is still public property. lawyers or no, that guy will shut his yap

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    1. I like the boycott idea if anyone knows that website that affected Ivanka Trumps clothing line recently. It works. The residents of Sierra Madre should drop Kefalas just like Nordstoms dropped Ivanka.

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    2. boycotts are nice. but passing out literature to Every Customer in Town will shut that guy's yap

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  14. or, you can keep allowing him to do what he wants, quietly through his lawyers by bullying the financially strapped city into compliance and settlement.

    i assure you, hit him where it hurts, at his restaurant in the center of town so that every person between glendora and eagle rock to El Monte knows it.

    he will sing another song

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  15. Surely the agent who sold him the property knew from the last owner how thorny the redevelopment of this particular house was... or is that an errors and omissions situation

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  16. Hey fruit loops, you do know his plan (which is online by the way), is to restore this house, and that was vetted and approved by the planning commission. All this BS is about some, not all, of the roof rafters, and a misunderstanding about how many were approved to be replaced. Are you really fired up about roof rafters, or do you just like voicing your displeasure at anything but your own neurosis? If he was planning on tearing down the house and building something without permits, I would join your little huffing and puffing party, but my goodness, get a cause... Then do some research.

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    1. Ok. Froot Loops.

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    2. Restore, huh? How can he restore the inside wood and the windows? Or wait! Is that you Mr. Kefalas? You pushed the law....you did what you wanted. And living here, you knew better! I hope your restaurant fails. This is a cause! Keeping people on the straight and narrow here in Sierra Madre.

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    3. Oh. Got it. A "misunderstanding."
      Oops, house gone. Oh well - it was just a lack of understanding.

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    4. Sorry, I stopped reading after the insult. If you want the rest of you message to be read, try again but be nice or put the cereal reference at the end.

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    5. Name calling like that is idiotic.

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  17. Orangeman is on tv now with the wonderful leader of Canada PM Justin Trudeau...looks as if dt is reading out loud for once.....and he is promising to be a bridge building neighbor. See how long that works out. Ooops, talked about women.....wow.

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  18. It's an old house. Visually, anyone could see that, give or take eighty plus years. City and Realtor, both knew it was an "old" house. Buyer, knew it was an old house.
    Why at the onset, did the Planning Department not ask for all documents to be submitted to the City?
    All involved dropped the "wrecking ball".
    The Planning Commissioners should have had their questions about the historical review of the house on the first go around.
    Looped is a good adjective, that describes the "hole" all have stepped into.

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    1. This City Council, wants to destroy the center of Sierra Madre. Where is the uproar? Kersting Court should remain the same, not be upgraded to a StarBucks patio.
      The money for the "Arts"; should be returned to that fund and NOT used as Municipal upgrades.
      The development agreement on the Assisted Living Facility was pretty clear.
      Talk about changing laws and codes to "fit" Council members outlooks of the towns development. This is the center of town. Where is community input? Where is community anger? Why won't he the Council designate that "Triangle" as historical?

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    2. Not much historical left about that triangle. It's in desperate need of a redesign.

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    3. that triangle has been featured in a few motion pictures, and next to the fallen pepper tree w the true sights of the city to a fruit loop like me. plenty of uproar

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  19. 10:33am. LOL. The City should know it's own codes, and yet the City "allowed" pitch forks and backhoes, dump trucks and machete's onto Carter One property and turned a blind eye, to it's destruction. We are still paying for extremely bad City Management.

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  20. Trudeau looks like Trumps baby brother.

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    1. Interesting article I read on how Trudeau blocked trump's famously aggressive handshake

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    2. It is called a "bully shake." Big with east coast developers and mob figures.

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    3. I have been wondering about that handshake. He practically yanks the person he is "greeting" off balance, with the exception of women, where he takes his free hand, ham hand and pats their hand with. There are instances where he puts his hand on the small of the back to move some along.

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    4. He pats men's hands, too, so fatherly. Puke~

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  21. Boycott? That restaurant has the best acoustic meeting room in town. I would suggest updating some of the menu items. By the way, isn't the building historical?

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    1. Food there mediocre. Taco fiesta, wistaria, and the fusion joint the best spots in town. And lucky's for the full English.

      I somehow paid $4 for a canned soda at Mary's... not the general store it used to be but they gotta experiment

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    2. Terrible food at the Only Place. Never fresh, poor quality and overpriced.
      Good fresh food at Crepe Monsieur and the Poppy Cake bakery.

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  22. TEAM Kafalas forgets that only the Planning Commission can issue a DEMO permit.....not staff. Team K never had a demo permit when her ripped off the roof.

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    1. You mean the vitriolic Planning Commission?

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    2. @11:58, maybe you should actually read the DDP. Pay close attention to the exceptions, particularly #3.
      Here's the link
      https://www.municode.com/library/ca/sierra_madre/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=TIT17ZO_CH17.60VACOUSPE_17.60.056DIDEPE

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    3. The director can give approval for MINOR changes. The demo of the entire roof is not minor you fool.

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    4. The roof is exempt. You can reroof without any of this. The roof structure (the rafters) is in question. So if they are simply replaced for structural reasons, and not visible, I'm not sure that even qualifies as an alteration, much less more than a minor one. The bigger question is why you care so much about something that has to be replaced and is going back exactly as it was before. If he was intending on changing the roof style/pitch/gable, you may have a point but in this case it's much ado about nothing. Your insult really helps your point though.

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  23. 11:39, oh, I agree.

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    1. Got an imaginary post you're liking there, 12:31? Keeps you company?

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  24. Trump impeachment petition nears one million signatures
    http://www.rawstory.com/2017/02/trump-impeachment-petition-nears-one-million-signatures/

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    1. No matter how insane Trump is Mike Pence would be worse,way worse for non christians.

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    2. For a Christian Mike Pence can be awfully unforgiving.

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  25. Mills Act? Does that mean that Kefalas is trying to get out of paying any property tax?

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    1. It sure does. But if the house is put back together, it will be new and there will be no need for a Mills Act contract.

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  26. The letter said the owner agreed to keep the stone foundation. Whoa nelly. Good luck finding a structural engineer to sign off on that. Why put all this money and energy into a rebuild on the same stone foundation. I'm all for trying to preserve the original character of the home, but doesn't the owner want the new home to remain standing after the next quake?

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    1. There is a sister foundation going in from the inside.

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  27. "... it will be new ... " and therefore not eligible to be Mills Act(ed).

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  28. close the only place in town and replace it with the only weed store in town

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  29. What does President Trump have to do with any of this? Stay on point!!

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  30. This issue is not about boycotting restaurants, President Trump, or Marijuana dispensaries, but it is about preserving the quickly vanishing historical properties of Southern California. Just take a look at our neighbor, Arcadia, and the number of beautiful homes that have been demolished over past decade only to be replaced by overly large, ill-suited homes that do not reflect the overall character of the area. The Henry A. Darling house was one of the finer examples of historic structures to grace the streets of Sierra Madre. Every time I walk by it now it makes my stomach churn to think that somebody would destroy a landmark important to us all. We have a responsibility as Sierra Madre citizens to weigh how our own interests affect those around us. A home is not just enjoyed by the property owners but by all who come into its proximity. Shame on the owners for willfully destroying what we all enjoyed, and shame on the city for allowing this to happen. Now the two entities must work together to fix this and bring back the Henry A. Darling house!

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  31. Let's ask herself why historical preservations important. Let's not forget that the lumber that came from the trees or more than four hundred years old to build that home. You don't have to be a rocket scientist understand and pragmatics of something that special but many people enjoy greed greed greed greed. Who is the rocket scientist who decided to tear that place apart without first placing their hands on a piece of lumber that came out of a tree that was over 400 years old and asking them self my doing the right thing. That's what's really going on

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