In a complaint to the county registrar’s office and to the L.A. County District Attorney’s office, Wanda is now accusing supporters of the Beverly Hilton of voter fraud. The complaint alleges that three individuals with ties to the Hilton are improperly registered to vote in Beverly Hills. The complaint also alleges that 331 other voters are illegally registered using post office boxes.
The allegation comes after the Hilton camp accused Wanda of using $1.2 million in foreign contributions in the election fight.
Wanda and the Hilton are battling over adjacent parcels of land on the western edge of the city. The Hilton plans to build a 26-story condo tower at the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Merv Griffin Way. The Hilton circumvented the typical city approval process, and instead is asking Beverly Hills voters to approve the project on the Nov. 8 ballot. If approved, the plans would supersede a development proposal that was originally approved in a citywide referendum in 2008.
Wanda, meanwhile, is planning a $1.2 billion condo and hotel project across Merv Griffin Way, on the site of a former Robinsons-May department store. The Hilton has raised strenuous objections to the Wanda project, specifically regarding a loading dock that would be directly across from the Beverly Hilton entrance.
Wanda Beverly Hills Properties has in turn funded a committee to defeat the Beverly Hilton initiative.
The Wanda committee’s complaint about illegal registrations echoes complaints that were made about the Hilton’s 2008 referendum, which passed by a mere 129 votes. In that instance, residents who opposed the project hired private investigators after the election to go door-to-door to investigate potential fraud. The residents claimed to have found 569 instances of illegal voting, including 204 registered at businesses or post offices, 352 registered at the wrong address, and four voters who were dead. Project opponents claimed the fraud was enough to swing the election. The D.A. declined to pursue the allegations.
“Now, it appears that someone is trying to do the same thing, attempting to stack the election,” said Larry Larson, a resident who was involved in the effort.
The complaint alleges that Amanda Yukelson, the daughter of Hilton executive Daniel Yukelson, is registered to vote in Beverly Hills even though she lives in New York. The complaint includes information from her LinkedIn page, and indicates that she is also registered to vote in New York. The complaint also names Daniel Delshad, the son of former Beverly Hills Mayor Jimmy Delshad. The elder Delshad is a consultant and supporter of the Hilton project. The younger Delshad is registered at his father’s Beverly Hills condo, though the complaint alleges he actually lives in Los Angeles. The complaint includes a photograph of his name on the directory at a Los Angeles apartment building. Wanda also alleges that Cheri Theakston, a resident who signed a letter supportive of the Hilton, is registered to vote at a business address.
“This smacks of desperation,” said Marie Garvey, a Hilton spokeswoman. “When they feel like they’re going to lose, they accuse us of voter fraud and try to intimidate voters before elections have even taken place. This is completely without merit and quite frankly ridiculous.”
Garvey added that the Hilton has not engaged in any registration efforts in Beverly Hills, and that the individuals named in the complaint were each registered several years ago.