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Businessman jailed for allegedly posting supergraphic at Hollywood intersection

February 27, 2010 |  6:17 pm
In a dramatic escalation of the war against illegal supergraphics in Los Angeles, authorities have jailed a businessman accused of posting an eight-story movie advertisement on an office building at one of Hollywood’s busiest intersections.

Kayvan Setareh, 49, of Pacific Palisades was arrested at his home Friday night and ordered held in lieu of $1-million bail. An arrest warrant obtained by Los Angeles City Atty. Carmen Trutanich accuses Setareh of three misdemeanor city code violations, two of them related to this city's sign law, according to William Carter, Trutanich’s chief deputy.

The arrest was an unusually aggressive move by Trutanich and comes less than a week after the city attorney filed a separate lawsuit involving more than a dozen other supergraphics scattered across the city. Just days after that lawsuit was filed, workers used bolts and wire to wrap the new ad around the face of a 1928 corner office building on the northeast corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue – a major tourist destination along Hollywood’s Walk of Fame.

“The days of lax and inconsistent enforcement of billboard and outdoor advertising laws in this city are over,” Trutanich said in a prepared statement.

Setareh, who is scheduled to be arraigned Monday, could not be reached for comment Saturday. A woman who answered a phone listing for Setareh declined to discuss the case but said the arrest had been “a shock to the whole family.”

City officials say that unpermitted supergraphics like the one in Hollywood pose a threat to public safety because the huge sheets of vinyl can fall onto cars and pedestrians if they are not attached properly. Still, some law enforcement observers voiced surprise at the large bail amount, saying $1 million is typically used in far more serious cases, such as homicide, rape or kidnapping.

-- David Zahniser

Photo: Supergraphic at Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue in Hollywood. Photo credit: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times.