Owners of Marilyn Monroe's Brentwood home sue to block monument designation

KABC logo
Thursday, May 9, 2024
Lawsuit filed over Marilyn Monroe's former Brentwood home
The owners of Marilyn Monroe's former Brentwood home are suing the city to block an effort to have the structure declared as a historic landmark.

BRENTWOOD, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The owners of Marilyn Monroe's former home in Brentwood are suing the city of Los Angeles to block an effort to have the structure declared as a historic landmark.

Roy Bank and Brinah Milstein filed the lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court on Monday, claiming the right to demolish the home after the city motioned to preserve it.

The lawsuit, which alleges an "abuse of power" by city officials, seeks to block that designation and allow the owners to move forward with demolition plans.

Bank and Milstein claim the property does not fit the historic cultural monument criteria because it's been lived in by 14 owners and had other remodels since Monroe's death more than 60 years ago.

During a Los Angeles City Council Meeting, Councilwoman Traci Park introduced a motion to initiate consideration that Monroe's old home in Brentwood be given historic cultural monument status.

After receiving numerous complaints about the planned demolition, City Councilwoman Traci Park announced in September an effort to save the house by initiating a historic-cultural monument application. The application has been working its way through the city process, receiving approval in January from the Cultural Heritage Commission and later from the council's Planning and Land Use Management Committee.

The matter still needs to be heard by the full City Council, which must be done my mid-June.

The suit alleges that the city violated its own codes and procedures in pushing for the monument designation for the Helena Drive property.

"All of these backroom machinations were in the name of preserving a house which in no way meets any of the criteria for an 'Historic Cultural Monument," the lawsuit states. "That much is bolstered by the fact, among others, that for 60 years through 14 owners and numerous remodels and building permits issued by the city, the city has taken no action regarding the now-alleged 'historic' or 'cultural' status of the house."

The suit alleges the city's action have caused "irreparable" harm to the building's owners and robbed them of "their vested rights as owners of real property."

There was no immediate comment from the city.

Bank and Milstein have owned the structure since July 2023 and subsequently obtained a demolition permit from the city.

The lawsuit requests a court order blocking the monument designation and allowing the plaintiffs to move forward with their planned demolition.

According to the lawsuit, the plaintiffs want to demolish the structure to expand their current home, which is adjacent to the property.

City News Service contributed to this report.