LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Airbnb Inc. today sued the organizer of a party at a Glendora mansion this summer that attracted about 700 people, despite concerns by health officials that such events could be spreading grounds for COVID-19.
The Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit names as defendants Davante Dajon Bell and unspecified “Does'' who may be identified later. The allegations include inducing breach of contract, intentional interference with contractual relations, fraudulent misrepresentation and violation of the state Business and Professions Code.
A representative for Bell could not be immediately reached for comment.
Unknown to Airbnb, Bell advertised the Aug. 22 “100 Summers Mansion Party'' online and through social media platforms, touting a live music performance, the suit states. He improperly held the event at the Sierra Madre Avenue property in violation of Airbnb's policy, and the company is suing to stop him from future renting of properties under alleged false pretenses, according to the complaint.
Airbnb had terminated Bell's account in June 2019 and banned him from booking Airbnb-listed accommodations, but he has used other Airbnb members to book properties on his behalf, according to the suit, which alleges his conduct is causing “significant harm to Airbnb, including ... loss of goodwill, damage to its business reputation and expenses incurred in dealing with the effects of Bell's alleged unlawful conduct.''
Airbnb is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
On Aug. 26, the city of Glendora sued Bell as well as Cao “Charles'' Xin and Olivia Lei Zhao of Diamond Bar, identified as the owners of the 20,000-square-foot estate in the 1100 block of Sierra Madre Avenue since August 2017. Pomona Superior Court Judge Peter A. Hernandez on Aug. 31 issued a temporary restraining order sought by the city against the homeowners and extended it with a preliminary injunction on Oct. 2.
The city's legal action came in the wake of the Glendora Police Department and city staff response to citizens expressing concern even before the party was held. Bell received multiple administrative citations for allegedly violating the Glendora Municipal Code and current health department orders, totaling $1,900 in fines.
City officials said about $18,000 in expenses was incurred in the police response to the party.
“Despite the obvious nature of the risks involved in holding a party of this type because of COVID-19, Bell disregarded all warnings given by (the city),'' the city's suit states.
Xin and Zhao did not try and stop the party despite having the authority to do so under their short-term rental agreement, according to the city's complaint, which further states that a default process has begun against Bello.
In a sworn declaration, Zhao said she did not know a large party was being held at the Glendora mansion until she was notified by the police and that she cooperated with their investigation. She said she would not have rented the home to Bell if she knew he would have 700 guests there.
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