For decades, the Hawthorne Mall — located at 12000 and 12200 Hawthorne Blvd. – in the City of Hawthorne has been a defunct shopping center creating blight and dangers for the community. What was once a centerpiece of the local community in its bustling downtown has become a shell of a gutted building, hosting illegal dumping, graffiti, homeless encampments, children trespass and numerous other hazardous conditions and activities threatening the health, safety, and peace of the community.
The City of Hawthorne has attempted for years to obtain the Mall’s owner’s cooperation to remedy the property, only to be met with broken promises of development and an ongoing large-scale illegal parking rental business in the Mall’s parking lots since 2018. Not even hundreds of administrative citations convinced the Mall’s owner—M&A Gabaee, a California Limited Liability Partnership—to halt its illegal business.
With on-going neighborhood complaints and the blatant violations of law the owner allows on the Hawthorne Mall, the City of Hawthorne on behalf of the People of the State of California, was forced to file a nuisance abatement action against the owner in an effort to get relief for the community. City Attorney Robert Kim is leading the compliance effort with assistance from outside counsel Silver & Wright LLP.
The illegal conditions and activities at the Hawthorne Mall and their related impacts are of grave concern for local community members, including the adjacent neighbors and school faculty and children. Neighbors have even attempted to partner with the local police department to take a proactive approach to address these issues, as some have even expressed they are afraid to go outside and feel like they are prisoners in their own homes.
“The City has worked for years with the owner to address these issues plaguing the community, yet it has been met with one broken promise after the other. No one deserves to feel unsafe in their own home, and we will do what it takes to make this community feel safe again. This is about quality of life.”
– Hawthorne City Attorney Robert Kim
The hazardous conditions, stemming from the dozens of building, plumbing, electrical, and other violations of State and local law pose a significant threat to those who enter the property—including children unaware of the risks the property poses—and those in the adjacent areas. Many of these conditions resulted from unpermitted structural work conducted on the property over the years and illegal businesses occurring on site in violation of zoning regulations and other laws of the City. There is a significant safety threat that needs immediate attention, as evidenced by the repeat transient and children break-ins, among a host of other dangers.
The lawsuit, filed on November 24, 2021, lists over 50 violations of State and local laws noted during several on-site inspections conducted in March and September of 2021.