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4 More Arrests Sought As Billboard Wars Escalate

JACOB ADELMAN   03/ 4/10 09:43 PM ET   AP


LOS ANGELES — City prosecutors have charged four people and four companies with illegally hanging giant billboards at an intersection near the site of the upcoming Oscars, days after they jailed a man for putting up a separate eight-story supergraphic ad across the street.

A lawyer representing Alexander Patrick Kouba and France M. Luanghy appeared in court Thursday to post $100,000 bail for each of the men, Assistant Supervising Deputy City Attorney Jose Egurbide said. Attorney Steve Madison entered no plea on their behalf, Egurbide said.

The eight defendants are each charged with 10 misdemeanor counts of violating the city's municipal code by helping to install and maintain the two large ads for Asics athletic gear.

The ads extend horizontally over several storefronts near the Kodak Theatre, the site of Sunday's Academy Awards show.

Egurbide said both signs posed fire hazards, while one was being held up with substandard bracing.

"Our priority is that we get that sign down as soon as possible," he said. "We will be prepared to go to trial if the sign does not come down."

He declined to answer whether the defendants would avert a trial if the sign did come down.

Madison also represented the billboard firm Redevelopment Association LLC, which was named as an additional defendant in the complaint.

Egurbide said there were outstanding warrants for the arrest of two additional defendants named in the complaint, Mazen I. Nazzal and Thomas Edward Curtin. The suit also mentions companies Yorkwood LLC, Yorkbury Investments LLC and Hangtime Installers Inc.

Nazzal, who is listed in state filings as an agent for Yorkwood, did not answer a call seeking comment. A message left with Hangtime, for which state records list Curtin as an agent, was not immediately returned.

Madison also did not return a call seeking comment, nor did an Asics America Corp. spokeswoman.

The new charges appeared to be another escalation in the city attorney's war against large unpermitted billboards.

Los Angeles businessman Kayvan Setareh was jailed on $1 million bail for hanging an enormous ad for the movie "How to Train Your Dragon" last week on a Hollywood Boulevard building he owns near the Kodak Theatre.

After he agreed to take down the sign, his bail was reduced to $100,000, which he paid.

The city attorney's office also filed a civil complaint last week against a business accused of installing supergraphic signs at 12 other Los Angeles locations.


Filed by Billy Silverman  |