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Legal Brief: Birnbaum Sues Gallin

Hold on to your legal britches bitches because it seems pop music superstar Rihanna isn’t the only high profile person in Hollywood engaged in an ugly legal dispute over (alleged) construction defects and water proofing issues at a multi-million dollar mansion in Beverly Hills (CA).

According to gossip juggernaut TMZ Tinseltown tycoon Roger Birnbaum, currently co-CEO and co-Chairman of MGM–recently filed suit in the Los Angeles County Superior Court against talent manager turned high-end house flipper Sandy Gallin. Mister Birnbaum’s suit claims that not only did his swanky Bev Hills house began to leak last winter but that there are also significant dry rot and rust issues. He’s seeking, as per the peeps at TMZ, $500,000 to cover repairs and related costs.

Mister Gallin, as per prop records and previous reports, paid $5,350,000 for a run down residence on a squeezy .39 acre flag lot in the lower Benedict Canyon area in November 2005. He transformed the house into a 7,187 square foot contemporary farmhouse wrapped in gray shingles. Stylistically the house (shown above in listing photos) could comfortably be picked up and dropped on to a farm view parcel in the Hamptons. Mister Gallin sold the casual but sophisticated residence to Mister Birnbaum in May 2007 for $16,500,000.

Your Mama discussed Mister Birnbaum’s Gallinified mansion at length back in April 2009 when, less than two years after he bought the it, he had a real estate change of heart and flipped the property back on the market with a $16,000,000 price tag. As of this morning Mister Birnbaum’s real estate thorn in his side has been on the open market 871 consecutive days without a single price reduction.

Current listing information states the mini-estate is “of unparalleled quality, timeless design, the finest materials and accoutrements.” Maybe it is and maybe it isn’t. Given the legal matters at hand we are certainly not about to pass judgement as regards to the quality of the house. However, Mister Birnbaum’s lawsuit a priori calls this characterization of the house into question. If he thinks he’s had a tough time selling this house for $16,000,000–and 871 consecutive days on the market with no price reduction does indicate he’s had a real devil of a time unloading his albatross–then a publicized lawsuit that alleges the house has serious defects and construction flaws will not likely help his plight. He has, by his lawsuit, turned this “estate of unparalleled quality” into something of a fixer upper with at least half a million clams in necessary repairs.

Of course, all this judicial ugliness does not mean that someone won’t still and shortly fall in love with Mister Birnbaum’s fixer and pay through the nose to buy it. However, all this business does suggest that he just might not be able to sell it for nearly as much as he originally hoped.

Certainly Mister Gallin could quickly and quietly cough up half million clams and be done with the matter but Your Mama fully expects that he’ll lawyer up for an honest to goodness real estate cat fight. At that risk of sounding like we’re giddy with schadenfreude–we’re really not–somebody pop some popcorn and grab some Good & Plentys because multimillionaires who sue the developers of their super pricey properties just might turn into a fascinating trend of cinematic proportions.

listing photos: Everett Fenton Gidley for Westside Estate Agency

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