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Owner of Marilyn Monroe's Brentwood home sues to block monument designation

Alleging an “abuse of power” by Los Angeles city officials, the owner of Marilyn Monroe’s former Brentwood home are suing the city to block an effort to have the structure declared a historic-culture landmark, which would prevent its demolition.

The Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit, filed Monday, alleges “illegal and unconstitutional conduct” by the city “with respect to the house where Marilyn Monroe occasionally lived for a mere six months before she tragically committed suicide 61 years ago.”

The suit alleges that the city violated its own codes and procedures in pushing for the monument designation for the Helena Drive property.

“All of these backroom machinations were in the name of preserving a house which in no way meets any of the criteria for an ‘Historic Cultural Monument,’” the lawsuit states. “That much is bolstered by the fact, among others, that for 60 years through 14 owners and numerous remodels and building permits issued by the city, the city has taken no action regarding the now-alleged ‘historic’ or `cultural’ status of the house.”

The suit alleges the city’s action have caused “irreparable” harm to the building’s owners and robbed them of “their vested rights as owners of real property.”

There was no immediate comment from the city.

The plaintiffs in the case — home owners Brinah Milstein and her husband Roy Bank — have owned the structure since July 2023 and subsequently obtained a demolition permit from the city.

After receiving numerous complaints about the planned demolition, City Councilwoman Traci Park announced in September an effort to save the house by initiating a historic-cultural monument application. The application has been working its way through the city process, receiving approval in January from the Cultural Heritage Commission and later from the council’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee.

The matter still needs to be heard by the full City Council, which must be done my mid-June.

The lawsuit requests a court order blocking the monument designation and allowing the plaintiffs to move forward with their planned demolition.

According to the lawsuit, the plaintiffs want to demolish the structure to expand their current home, which is adjacent to the property.

Source: NBC Los Angeles

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