City Files Lawsuit Against Motel Owners For Allegedly Allowing Drug Activity

A Court Order Could Close the Motel for One Year and Require Changes to Management

By Zach Armstrong

A lawsuit has been filed against two Westside motel owners by the Santa Monica City Attorney’s Office, alleging the establishment creates a dangerous environment for its neighborhood by allowing drug deals, fights and more. If the City wins the verdict, a court order could close the motel for one year and require changes to management. 

The Pavilions Motel, located just west of Clover Park and within blocks of Grant Elementary School, has been the site of several drug-related arrests throughout its 30-year-history, the lawsuit asserts. 

This year, two executed search warrants recovered methamphetamine and fentanyl, along with baggies, scales and weapons in and around the motel. In 2007, Pavilions was part of a joint code enforcement and police operation which temporarily closed the business and led to the arrests of several people, including its owner, Saeed Farzam. Of five dead bodies found at the property since 2019, three were connected to drug abuse, the complaint alleges.

Nuisance activity continues to occur at the motel, the complaint states, with routine drug transactions taking place in its parking lot (which shares an alleyway with residential buildings) or through its windows. Various other illicit activities, such as prostitution and building violations, continue to plague Pavilions, the lawsuit states.

Chief of Police Ramon Batista said in a news release that the motel had an “outsized impact” on the deployment of police resources for years. According to the lawsuit, police regularly conduct enforcement at and around the Motel for up to a few weeks at a time.

Pavilions is owned and managed by Farzam along with Goharshad Farzam, who the complaint claims have violated the state Drug Abatement Act, state public nuisance laws and Santa Monica public nuisance law due to the perpetual illicit activity. The motel was not immediately able to respond to inquiry from Mirror Media Group.

Founded by the Farzams in 1990, Pavilions is a 20-unit budget motel along Ocean Park Boulevard. According to hotelscombined.com, the lodge’s cheapest per-night rate hovers around $100.

The lawsuit cites several posts dating back to 2011 from business-review websites where guests recounted unpleasant experiences. One Expedia reviewer stated in 2017 that groups of several people would rent rooms, stay drunk all night and get into fights. A Google review from late last year described Pavilions as the worst L.A. motel on account of cockroaches, the smell of methamphetamine smoke and constant fighting from other lodgers.

“Property owners are responsible for ensuring that their properties are not a nuisance or a danger to the neighborhood, and the city will hold them accountable when they fail to do so,” said City Attorney Douglas Sloan in a release.

The lawsuit seeks a court order to end drug activities, require physical and managerial improvements to the property, close the property for one year, seeks $25,000 in civil penalties per defendant and recovery of the city’s costs in investigating and abating the nuisance. 

The People of the State of California and the City of Santa Monica v. Saeed Farzam, Goharshad Farzam, and Pavilions Motel, Inc, has been assigned to Department 207 in the Beverly Hills Courthouse.

Editor’s Note: Saeed Farzam and the Pavilions Motel are not related to the Farzam family that owns the Shore Hotel, Ocean View Hotel, and Santa Monica Hotel

in Hard, News
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