Santa Monica
Traditional Reporting for A Digital Age

Santa Monica Real Estate Company ROQUE & MARK Co.

Home Special Reports Archive Links The City Commerce About Contacts Editor Send PR

Santa Monica Motel "Hotbed for Drug Activity," City Lawsuit Claims


Bob Kronovetrealty
We Love Property Management Headaches!

Welcome to Santa Monica.  Good Vibes Start Here.

Santa Monica College
1900 Pico Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90405
(310) 434-4000



By Jorge Casuso

May 20, 2024 -- The City Attorney's Office on Thursday filed a lawsuit against the owners of a Sunset Park motel claiming it has been a "dangerous narcotics-related public nuisance" for decades.

The lawsuit filed in State Superior Court alleges that the Pavilions Motel at 2338 Ocean Park Boulevard is the site of "rampant drug and disruptive activities" that are consuming police resources and tormenting neighbors.

It alleges that defendants Saeed Farzam and Goharshad Farzam, who have owned and operated the 20-unit budget motel for more than 30 years, have been warned and put on notice but "have heeded none of these warnings," according to the complaint.

"The Motel, due to its disorderly operation and lack of oversight by the Farzams, is notorious in the community as a hotbed for drug activity, fights, prostitution, building violations, and other quality of life issues," the lawsuit alleges.

Despite law enforcement efforts, the motel -- which is near Clover Park -- is widely known as a place where drugs are used, stored and sold, often in the open, according to the 20-page lawsuit.

"People routinely pull into the parking lot for just a few moments, walk up to what are effectively drug 'takeout' windows, and then leave," the lawsuit states.

"Others buy drugs in hand-to-hand transactions or through their car windows, out in the open in the parking lot or in the alley at the rear of the Motel."

The lawsuit alleges that the "rampant drug activity" is "connected to a constant stream of loud noises, dangerous conduct, and other disruptive activities emanating from the Motel, all of which torment neighbors.

"Neighbors are interrupted or woken up in the middle of the night by loud arguments," the complaint states. "Dogs have been left or abandoned by owners to bark incessantly. Trash and debris often litter the area around the Motel. Cars in the parking lot play excessively loud music."

Since November 2023, the Santa Monica Police Department has dedicated at least 100 man-hours to policing the area surrounding the Pavilions Motel, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit lists six drug-related arrests, two involving residents in Room 7.

The first took place on January 20 during a traffic stop a few blocks from the property when officers "uncovered drug paraphernalia, suspected narcotics, and a loaded handgun," according to the lawsuit.

The driver told officers that he had driven to the motel "for the sole purpose of purchasing drugs from a resident in Room 7."

While executing a search warrant, officers "recovered approximately 32 grams of suspected methamphetamine, approximately 10 grams of suspected hallucinogenic mushrooms, and approximately 18 grams of suspected fentanyl, as well as baggies and two scales."

They also recovered a handgun and bullets, according to the lawsuit.

On February 16, police executed another search warrant for Room 7 and "uncovered approximately 114 grams of suspected methamphetamine, approximately 80 grams of suspected fentanyl, baggies, and a scale," the lawsuit states. The occupants were arrested for drug sales.

"These arrests over the last several months are just the tip of the iceberg, evidenced by the fact that they have not deterred the drug activity in the intervening weeks," according to he lawsuit.

"To this day, the Property is widely and rightly known as a place where illegal drugs are used, stored, and readily available for purchase."

The Pavilions Motel has been the target of enforcement efforts in the past that included a joint code enforcement and police operation in 2007, according to the lawsuit.

The operation resulted in the arrests of several people, including owner Saeed Farzam, and the temporary closure of the motel, the lawsuit states.

“The Pavilions Motel has had an outsized impact on the community and on the deployment of police resources for years,” said Police Chief Ramon Batista.

“The Santa Monica Police Department is pleased to collaborate with the City Attorney’s Office in developing long-term solutions to this problem and this lawsuit is a critical step in that process.”

In addition to the drug-related arrests, at least three people have died in the motel over the last five years "under circumstances consistent with drug or alcohol abuse," according to the lawsuit.

And "at least four people have been convicted for battery or domestic violence occurring at the property since 2018," the lawsuit states. On May 7, "someone shot and killed himself in a room."

The lawsuit alleges that the defendants violated the state Drug Abatement Act, state public nuisance laws and Santa Monica public nuisance law.

The lawsuit seeks "a court order to stop the drug and disruptive activities, require physical and managerial improvements to the property while the case proceeds and ultimately to close the property for one year," City officials said.

It also seeks $25,000 in civil penalties per defendant and recovery of the city’s costs in investigating and abating the nuisances.

“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,” City Attorney Doug Sloan said in a statement.

A call to the motel owners for comment was not returned before deadline.

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.

To read the complaint click here.

Back to Lookout News copyrightCopyright 1999-2024 All Rights Reserved. EMAIL Disclosures