Caruso buys Golden Key

Developer Rick Caruso has negotiated a deal to acquire the Golden Key Hotel as part of his bid to expand his 15.5-acre Americana at Brand, attorneys for both parties said during a court hearing Thursday.

The amount of the agreement was not disclosed, but in papers filed this week in Los Angeles County Superior Court, Golden Key Hotel owner Ray Patel estimated the value of the 55-room inn at between $15 million and $17 million. Its assessed value is $4.9 million, according to county records.

The deal would bring to close a three-month public ordeal after Caruso announced his intent to expand the Americana onto two properties — the hotel and a vacant brick building. Patel has resisted, rejecting a $6-million buyout offer and publicly criticizing the city for backing the billionaire developer.

Neither side would confirm the deal discussed by their attorneys in court.

In November, Caruso asked the Glendale City Council to approve his plan to demolish the hotel and a vacant building next door, which are in a redevelopment zone. The city, which has the power to condemn the two properties, urged Patel and neighboring property owner Henry David to come up with their own redevelopment plans or sell to Caruso. In January, David sold his 7,000 square-foot brick building to Caruso for an undisclosed price.

The attorneys also disclosed in court on Thursday that they had reached a $500,000 settlement in Patel’s lawsuit against Caruso and the Glendale Redevelopment Agency that alleged construction of the mall damaged his business from 2005 to 2008.

Although Glendale has been represented by an attorney retained by Caruso for the lawsuit, a city spokesman said officials were unaware of the settlement.

“We have not been a party to any meeting or negotiation, and have received no official word or document indicating so,” city spokesman Tom Lorenz said in an e-mail.

The settlement drew the ire of attorney David Casselman, who had represented Patel in the lawsuit until he was replaced last week.

Casselman alleged that Caruso and Patel “colluded” to conceal the true value of the legal settlement, shifting money to the real estate deal, thereby reducing the fees he would receive for his more than two years of work on the case.

Patel dismissed Casselman on Feb. 16, according to court records, a day after Caruso and Patel asked the Glendale Redevelopment Agency to cancel a meeting on Caruso’s development plan so they could talk.

More than 150 people had packed City Council chambers for the hearing, which was postponed.

On Thursday, Caruso’s attorney, Kenneth Bley, denied Casselman’s claims.

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