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Ron Hudson Denies Bel-Air Bar & Grill Conflict Of Interest In Deposition

Posted Friday, April 29, 2016 – 12:45 PM

Former Bel-Air Association President Ron Hudson vehemently denied a conflict of interest between the organization – when he was running it – and the Bel-Air Bar & Grill, despite evidence strongly to the contrary. The denial came in a deposition Tuesday, obtained by the Courier, in the lawsuit of Bruce Kuyper v New Bel-Air Association, et al., The lawsuit came to light after a March 17 special meeting, where by a 155-to-1 vote, the Bel-Air community ousted the former leadership, including Hudson, and installed a slate of nine new boardmembers, along with sweeping bylaw changes. The deposition sheds light on what many in the community protested loudly was potentially a conflict of interest between the Hudson-led BAA and the Bel-Air Bar and Grill. When the Bel-Air Bar and Grill appeared before the L.A. Planning Department late last year for a Conditional Use Permit (CUP), Hudson appeared at the meeting, advocating on behalf of the establishment. It was later discovered that Hudson had maintained an office at the Bar and Grill, a fact not previously disclosed to the community. In the deposition, Hudson admits he considers the Bel Air Bar & Grill to be his landlord, but that he doesn’t feel it’s a conflict of interest to advocate on its behalf. “I’ve been going there since I was a child, so why would it be a conflict of interest? Hudson asks, before admitting he has not sought guidance from any legal counsel on the matter. Hudson notes the BAA has “absolutely” advocated on behalf of positions for Susan Lord, owner of the restaurant. Hudson has a five-year lease in the building and began paying rent in January 2016. He appeared at the planning meeting to advocate on the restaurant’s behalf just three months prior. Hudson goes on to tell the attorney questioning him that he has not recused himself from voting on any matters related to the Bel Air Bar & Grill.

Documents: Ex-Bel-Air Association Leaders Backed Developers, Not Residents

Posted: Friday, April 22, 2016 – 10:10 AM

Emails discovered on employee's computer shows that BAA was working against the interests of the residents---explains lack of transparency by the former leaders of the BAA...

Lawsuit By Ousted Former Bel-Air Association Leaders Moved From Downtown L.A. To Santa Monica

Posted: Tuesday, April 19, 2016 – 3:21 PM

A new lawsuit filed by ousted former Bel-Air Association (BAA) leaders against the BAA’s newly-elected leadership hit a roadblock Tuesday when an L.A. Superior Court judge ordered the case be returned from downtown Los Angeles to the Santa Monica Courthouse.

After having his request for a Temporary Restraining Order denied last month, former BAA President Ron Hudson dismissed a suit a filed in West L.A. that aimed to restore the power that was removed from him by Bel-Air voters in a 155-to-1 vote at a March 17 special meeting.

Days after that dismissal, former BAA legal counsel Bruce Kuyper filed a similar suit in downtown L.A., presumably hoping for a more favorable outcome in front of a judge far removed from the West L.A. landscape.

Tuesday, it was decided that because it has been deemed related to Hudson’s original case, the matter would be moved back to West L.A. Similarly, a May 12 hearing on Kuyper’s complaint has been vacated.

A new date of April 26 at 8:30 a.m. in the Santa Monica Courthouse has been set for a status conference on how Kuyper’s case should proceed.

Bel-Air Association member Fred Rosen said the courts are “more than smart enough” to understand the tactic, which he referred to as “judge shopping.”

“Ron, Bruce, Marv Elkin and Jeff Kaplan have been dumping on this community for years, they talk about protecting the community but the community doesn’t want them,” Rosen said. “It wasn’t until recently that we understood Jeff had been put back on the board in January, and that Mona Elkin had been removed. It’s again another example of a lack of transparency and the disdain these four hold for the community.”

Kuyper did not respond to a request for comment from The Courier Tuesday.

Documents Show Former Bel-Air Association Leaders Firmly Aligned With Developers, Not Residents

Posted:  April 11, 2016

lPlease see link between the Former Officers and Directors of the BAA and Developers--why their mindset was to work with developers against the community

Ron Hudson, Bruce Kuyper Continue Acting As Bel-Air Association Leaders Despite Community Vote, Judge’s Ruling

Posted: Monday, March 28, 2016 – 3:46 PM

Nearly 200 members of the Bel-Air community exercised their democratic rights in a special election on March 17, voting in a slate of nine new board members in an attempt to change the Bel-Air Association for the better. Now, nearly two weeks later, the only ones upset about the change seem to be the organization’s ousted leadership. Eleven days after the Bel-Air community voted to pass new, transparent bylaws and elect nine new board members made up of residents, the Bel-Air Association’s former president Ron Hudson – who still retained access to the BAA website despite his removal from power – posted a seemingly-desperate blog post Sunday night, trying to convince community members that the motions passed at the March 17 meeting were invalid. “DON’T BE FOOLED!” Hudson’s headline read in all capital letters, followed by a not-so-easy-on-the-eyes blog post mixing oversized fonts, randomly bolded words and red-colored type. Among other things, Hudson claims the meeting was unauthorized and that the BAA members who called the special meeting “would not participate in a fair election,” seemingly ignoring the fact that the March 17 meeting was held within the BAA’s bylaws. Last week, L.A. Superior Court Hon. Mitchell Beckloff denied a request for a Temporary Restraining Order from Hudson and the BAA’s former leadership, which allows the newly-elected BAA leadership to remain in power until a follow-up hearing on April 28. Despite the legal vote, and despite that ruling from the judge, Hudson has continued to portray himself as the BAA’s President, signing Sunday’s blog post as “President of the Bel Air Association.” Judge Beckloff’s ruling read: “The court, having reviewed the moving papers, evidence, and declarations of Ronald Hudson, Bruce Kuyper, and Phil Woog, as well as the opposition papers and evidence (including the declarations of Dan Love and Eric M. George), and the papers and files in this action, and good cause existing therefore, DENIED the application for a temporary restraining order in its entirety.” Making matters more confusing for an organization whose transparency issues have constantly been called into question by community members upset at the BAA’s refusal to stand up against gigamansion development in Bel-Air, the mobile version of the website shows that Sunday’s blog posting was not made by Hudson, even though it purports to be a letter directly from him. Rather, it was was made by the BAA’s legal counsel Bruce Kuyper, not Hudson himself, leaving many to wonder just who exactly is communicating to them on behalf of the BAA. Previous blog communications from the BAA’s website show they were posted by an ambiguous account claiming to be the “Bel Air Association Team.” “This is all about trying to thwart the will of the community, in exchange for the self-interest of two people,” Bel-Air resident Fred Rosen said. “They’re trying to overturn the democratic process, where this election has brought transparency and openness to the Bel-Air community.”

Residents Elect New Leaders For Bel-Air Association

Posted Thursday, March 24 – 6:25 PM

By Matt Lopez

The Bel-Air Association received good news yesterday morning when L.A. Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff denied a temporary restraining order filed by Ron Hudson the BAA’s former President. The TRO request was filed by Hudson in response to a special meeting held last Thursday at the Bel-Air Country Club in an effort to undo its election and reinstate the former board. At that March 17 meeting, attended by close to 150 people and dozens more represented by proxy sent in advance, almost all of whom voted unanimously to elect nine new members to the Bel-Air Association’s Board of Directors. The residents also passed a comprehensive new set of bylaws aimed at providing more transparency and full disclosure for residents.