Two Beverly Hills homeowners have filed a lawsuit alleging real estate brokerage Compass leased their home to someone who illicitly used it as a short-term rental venue for big parties, including one in which someone was fatally shot. Compass has fired the agent named in the suit.
According to legal filings, homeowners Shiva and Randy Moshtael hired a different Compass agent, Afa Shafa, to lease out their property at 2219 San Ysidro Drive in Beverly Hills last year. On May 30, 2020, they signed a lease with renter Yuval Ziv, who was represented by Thiel and signed the lease under his single-member limited liability company, Lokal LLC.
The complaint alleges that the plaintiffs and Shafa told Thiel that the home could only be used for residence. The lease stipulated that the home was “for the sole use as a personal residence by the following named person(s) only: Yuval Ziv.”
But attorneys for the plaintiffs allege that Ziv intended to use the property as a short-term rental for people who wanted to host parties and other social events and that Thiel knew of this intention and did not disclose it.
“After taking possession of the Property, Ziv immediately began to use the premises for party venues, renting the Premises to persons indiscriminately who Ziv knew or should have known, are likely to create a nuisance,” the complaint said.
“As a result, weekly nuisance gatherings endangered and disturbed the neighborhood residents, the general public, caused vandalism, public indecency, vomiting and urinating in public, fighting, noise, risk of spreading Covid 19 in these large gatherings where nobody is wearing masks, menacing the neighbors, brandishing firearms, and shooting, and terrorizing the neighbors by gunshots, threats and fighting.”
Ziv allegedly continued to use the property as a party rental despite demands from the Moshtaels to cease doing so and repeated visits from the police to intervene, according to the complaint.
On Aug. 26, 2020, at about 2:30 a.m., during a party at the property reportedly intended to celebrate a gang member released from jail, a fight broke out among the 25-30 people gathered and an attendee, Deshone Lucas, was shot and killed by another attendee.
Lucas was 44 and from Santa Clarita, according to local news outlet The Signal. The shooter also wounded another attendee who was transported to a hospital.
“According to police authorities, the Property was rented to gang members,” the complaint said. “Notwithstanding this incident of fatal violence amid all other dangers and offensive conduct at the party, Mr. Ziv actually still persists in his promotion and hosting of these nuisance activities on the Property, apparently heedless and reckless as to the risk of injury, death, and nuisance to the residents, the attendees and the public, and such events continued through the Labor Day holiday weekend.”
According to legal filings, the Moshtaels terminated their lease with Ziv in early September, but Ziv refused to leave. The Moshtaels then obtained a temporary restraining order against Ziv in mid-September and were granted a preliminary injunction ordering Ziv to cease using the property for anything other than his personal residence in mid-October. The Moshtaels filed for eviction in November.
The complaint alleges Thiel and Compass knew Ziv’s plans for the home and their deception was therefore “fraudulent, malicious, and oppressive, and constitutes despicable conduct.” Attorneys for the plaintiffs allege fraudulent inducement, fraudulent concealment, breach of fiduciary duty, intentional misrepresentation and negligent misrepresentation.
“Defendant Thiel lied, misrepresented, and mislead Plaintiffs in contracting in that Defendant Thiel has represented Ziv and Lokal LLC in other lease transactions throughout California and she knew that Ziv uses leased residences solely for the purpose of short-term renting the properties for parties and other business ventures,” the complaint said.
“Defendant Thiel and the Compass Defendants always knew that Ziv and Lokal LLC would not be using Plaintiffs property for the purposes she represented to Shafa and Plaintiffs during contracting and mislead and misrepresented Plaintiffs in order to dupe them into leasing their home to Ziv and Lokal LLC.”
Compass declined to comment on the allegations, but in an email to Inman a Compass spokesperson said, “This agent is no longer with Compass.” The spokesperson confirmed she was fired about a month ago and said she was only with Compass for a short period of time.
Thiel still has a profile page on Compass’s website, which touts her skills as a negotiator, an “expert advisor” and a “savvy business women” [sic].
“Whether owners or investors, clients find Sheree’s real estate knowledge and experience invaluable when verifying a sound venture and turn to her time and time again for counsel on the logistics of adding value to their property,” the profile says.
According to a source familiar with the matter, Compass asked Thiel to leave in part due to actions described in the lawsuit. Thiel did not respond to requests for comment sent via email and LinkedIn.
The complaint seeks a minimum of $1 million in damages.
“As a result of the Defendants’ conduct, plaintiffs have been damaged by loss of value in the Property, vandalism, loss of the expected rental income from the quiet enjoyment of the Property by a residential tenant, exposure to potential liability from the nuisance activities on the Property, and emotional distress from constantly having to deal with and attempt to prevent such nuisance activities,” the complaint said.