Mario Lopez not fined for early start on Glendale home upgrades

Actor Mario Lopez wasn’t charged thousands of dollars in punitive fees for starting construction on his historic home without the proper permits, an omission Glendale’s building inspector described this week as a clerical error and not special treatment.

The city doubles permit fees for those who start construction without proper permits as a punishment and an incentive not to repeat the same mistake.

“In this particular case, we probably should have done it,” Building Official Stuart Tom said, adding that the employee who issued Lopez’s permits most likely forgot to check a box in the permitting system that automatically adds the fee.


FOR THE RECORD: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated Stuart Tom's title. He is a building official, not a building inspector. 


Lopez got into trouble in 2011 when he received a stop-work order from Glendale, prompted by a neighbor complaint, as a contractor started renovating his historic North Glendale home, planning to redo the pool and recreation area as well as expand a master bathroom without city approval and necessary permits.

Because Lopez, the host of “Extra,” owns a historic home with a Mills Act contract — which is an agreement with the city that reduces property taxes in exchange for preserving a historic property — he had to have his remodeling plans approved by the Historic Preservation Commission.

The 4,903-square-foot Spanish Colonial Revival-style home was one of the first properties to be listed as a historic resource in Glendale in 1977. It was built in 1929 by Peter Damm, inventor of the armored car.

The commission approved his renovation plans — which include but are not limited to extending a pool deck, replacing a bathroom, constructing a recreation room and adding a wet bar — in 2011, and although some permits were pulled that year, the project languished. 

It wasn’t until July 12 that the contractor pulled building and pool permits. Another pool permit had been pulled in 2011, but that one expired. The Historic Preservation Commission reviewed the project’s progress at a meeting this month, but its members did not discuss permitting fines. 

Senior planner Jay Platt said the project had necessary permits in place and work has started again on the Kempton Road home.

Tom said Lopez paid about $13,575 for six permits since 2011. Of that, about $3,586 were for permit fees, which should have been doubled.

When former Councilman John Drayman got in trouble for not pulling proper permits on a $213,000 renovation of his home in 2010, he had to pay more than $2,000 in permit fees and fines.

The permit issue was one of a handful of legal headaches for Drayman in the last few years.

Tom said although Drayman was charged the permit fines and Lopez was not, there is not a double standard. He said because Drayman pulled the permits in person, staff knew who he was and knew that he owed double fees.

“For that particular one, it was a no-brainer. Staff knows him,” Tom said.

Lopez, on the other hand, had a contractor pull his permits — if he pulled them personally, staff would have known the background of the case and charged him the fees, Tom said. 

Lisa Perkins, Lopez’s publicist, declined to comment on the permit issue.

“I actually like to get the fee when we can get it,” Tom said.

But it’s too late now to recoup the fine.

“Once [permits are] issued, it’s a done deal,” he said.


Follow Brittany Levine on Google+ and on Twitter: @brittanylevine.


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