Friday, March 3, 2017

California couple sue 'security company to the stars' after their $24 million Bel Air mansion is ransacked

In his deposition, Al Radilaleh, the regional vice president of ACS, failed to apologize for his firm's shortcomings, instead he attacked the Nazarians and dismissed the notion that the burglary had traumatized them

Bel Air CA March 3 2017 A wealthy Bel Air couple had their mansion ransacked and more than $1 million worth of possessions stolen just hours after the security firm responsible for protecting their $24 million property assured them their faulty alarm system would be 'fixed', it is claimed in legal documents.
David and Angella Nazarian are suing ACS Security - a firm guarding the homes of hundreds of celebrities and the wealthy elite in exclusive Bel Air, Los Angeles - claiming their luxury seven-bed mansion was left 'exposed to a burglary' following a disastrous communications problem.
At 3 PM on January 15, 2016, Angella noticed that the home security system keypad was flashing an error signal and called ACS to inquire about it.
A few hours later her then 23-year-old son entered the home, alarm blaring, to find it ransacked, windows smashed, with two 300 lb safes stolen and jewelry, cash and other valuables stuffed into the family luggage and carted away.
Their son hid in a closet and called 911, ACS and his parents.
David, 55, a successful private equity investor, was out of town, while his mother Angella, 49, was at a friend’s house.
At the time of the burglary there had been no issue with the Nazarians' alarm system, rather the problem was at ACS Security, according to legal documents seen by
A toll-free Verizon landline at ACS, that connected between 100 and 7,388 homes to the security company, had not been working and therefore was not receiving any signals.
Later, it would be revealed that the problem affected the wider Bel Air neighborhood and the company was 'inundated with calls from customers'.
It took more than 24 hours before all the homes would be reconnected - much too late for the Nazarians.
Bel Air is home to a string of stars including actresses Selma Hayek and Jennifer Aniston, singer Joni Mitchell, LA Clippers point guard Chris Paul and business magnate Elon Musk.
It was also home to the late Zsa Zsa Gabor before she died in December last year.
Signs for ACS Security can be seen outside many of the mansions near to the Nazarians' home in one of LA's fanciest neighborhoods, with most houses worth well in excess of $15 million.
The suit claims ACS - a division of parent company My Alarm Center - had no backup plan in the event their telephone line goes down and customers had no idea their homes went unguarded.
According to the suit, 'ACS Security had not just failed to bolster its patrol presence around the Nazarian home on January 15.
'Rather, ACS Security patrol was so absent from the area around the Nazarian home that not a single ACS Security patrol person heard an alarm blaring there for hours.'
What's worse is the company didn't notify their customers of the breach, it's claimed, insisting they did not have the staff to call the potential 7,388 customers affected.
'We would have driven up inbound call volume with a point...we would not be able to man real emergency calls,' said an internal document, revealed in the suit.
Speaking at her luxury home, which boasts a large swimming pool and tennis court, Angella told 'To me it's really figuring out what exactly happened and I believe somebody has to face up to these big companies.
'When I first spoke to an employee there he promised it would be fixed, but I didn't realize the extent of the problem they had.
'You can have all the money in the world but if you don't even feel safe in your own home, what's the point?
'The material is the material, but the feeling of safety is irreplaceable.
'We feel let down by My Alarm Center and I need to voice this so that something will happen. I am just so grateful nothing happened to my son.'
Angella, a former professor of psychology who now runs two non-profit charities she founded, said the burglary made her feel 'violated' and says she is still 'scared' of being in the house by herself.
The Nazarians, who usually like to avoid the media spotlight, say they are going public so that no one else’s family is put in danger.
'If I knew ACS was having a lingering problem with their communication system I wouldn't have left the house that day, I would have hired additional security.
'We're meticulous at putting our alarm on, even at night when we're sleeping.
'I had gone to my sister's house and then I was invited to a friend's for coffee.
'I got a call from my husband who said our son had called him. He had gone to the house and the alarm was going off. He didn't understand, there was no police, no security there and he saw from the alarm panel there was all these breaches.
'They actually came in through his room, my son went up there and saw a smashed window and everywhere had been ransacked, then he understood there had been a burglary.
'He was so scared that they were still around that he went and hid in the closet.'
Angella said her son called 911 but for 10 minutes she wasn't sure whether he was safe.
'That was the most difficult part, I was so scared,' she explained.
'I drove home and my friend came with me but by that time the security and the police were doing a perimeter check.
'The next day we find out that ACS's communications were down for 25 hours, nothing protected.
'It is incredibly frustrating to think they have a security station four blocks away and my alarm was blaring for hours and no one came to do anything.'
The burglars had ransacked the entire second floor of the Nazarians' home and caused significant damage.
Angella believes that the robbers were 'professional' and had targeted expensive jewelry, stealing family heirlooms as well as her wedding ring, a valuable diamond ring given to her as a birthday gift and an antique 1930s watch.
'They ignored some of my less fancy jewelry and left some of David's expensive watches which are registered, they knew what they were doing,' she said.
'They also left our artwork and didn't touch any electrical items.'
Feeling betrayed by ACS which had promised 'to protect and serve you at the highest level possible,' Angella and David are now embroiled in an expensive lawsuit that claims 'gross negligence, breach of fiduciary duty; fraud and deceit; unfair business practices and false advertising.'
'It has been extremely difficult, they have been dragging their feet and the legal costs are mounting,' said Angella. 'We want accountability and we want to be compensated for what we lost.'
In total the Nazarians are claiming approximately $1.8 million in damages and claim they have received a great deal of support from the local community.
ACS has been evasive in providing the right documentation and has cancelled individuals giving depositions more than once, according to the family's lawyer.
Keith Wesley, of Browne George Ross LLP, told 'Even after working on this case for nearly a year, I remain startled by the indifference exhibited by ACS and My Alarm Center towards their customers last January 15 and throughout the course of this lawsuit.
'I am absolutely confident that, when we come to trial, a jury will feel the same.'
My Alarm Center, which owns ACS Security, is the seventh largest residential security company in the United States.
A spokeswoman for My Alarm Center said: 'This case is currently with our insurance company and our attorneys.
'Our policy is that we do not comment on pending litigation as we prefer to try the case in court and not in the press.' 
In his deposition, Al Radilaleh, the regional vice president of ACS, failed to apologize for his firm's shortcomings, instead he attacked the Nazarians and dismissed the notion that the burglary had traumatized them.

The security firm also attempted to gag the Nazarians from speaking to the press but their attempt was slapped down by a judge.

No comments: