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Saudi Prince Sues Los Angeles Over Permits for Mansion

Prince Abdul-Aziz ibn Abdul-Aziz al Saud, Saudi Arabia’s deputy foreign minister, sued the city of Los Angeles over claims it illegally refuses to issue building permits for a mansion because of pressure from neighbors.

Abdul-Aziz’s company, Tower Lane Properties Inc., filed a complaint Feb. 5 in state court in Los Angeles, seeking a court order for the city to find it in compliance with permit conditions and demanding $25 million in damages. It’s the third case the prince has brought against the city over the project.

“Our client had hoped that following last year’s victory in court the city would treat his application fairly and process it without further delay,” Benjamin Reznik, a lawyer representing Abdul-Aziz, said in a statement. “He is greatly disappointed and disheartened by the overt discriminatory treatment he has received.”

The prince is seeking permits to build three mansions for himself and his family on three adjoining properties in Benedict Canyon, a neighborhood in the Santa Monica Mountains north of Beverly Hills. The estate used to belong to film director King Vidor. Abdul-Aziz acquired the properties in 2009, according to the complaint.

‘Blatantly Xenophobic’

Neighbors have opposed the development, including creating a website that, according to the complaint, is “blatantly xenophobic” and urging the community with e-mails and mailers “to stay involved to protect our community from the Prince’s massive plans.”

The city, influenced by the project’s opponents, has thrown up “one unjustifiable obstacle after another to the issuance of the permits,” according to the complaint.

Frank Mateljan, a spokesman for Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen A. Trutanich, didn’t immediately return a call yesterday seeking comment on the lawsuit.

The case is Tower Lane Properties v. City of Los Angeles, BS141623, Los Angeles County Superior Court.

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