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Phil Spector's wife suing city of Alhambra over retaining wall

April 24, 2012 | 11:39 am

Aerial shot of Phil Spector's house on Grand View Drive in Alhambra in 2007

The wife of imprisoned music producer Phil Spector is suing the city of Alhambra for refusing to fix a retaining wall surrounding their home.

Spector, 72, is currently serving a 19-year-to-life sentence in Corcoran State Prison for the 2003 murder of actress Lana Clarkson; he will not be eligible for parole until 2028, when he is 88. His wife, Rachelle, 31, a former Playboy model, married Spector in 2006 and lives in the mansion where Clarkson was shot.

The lawsuit was filed April 19 in Los Angeles County Superior Court by attorneys Craig Collins and Steven Blum and contends the city failed to respond to repeated requests to repair a cracked retaining wall that surrounds the property.

Collins and Blum have indicated they plan to serve the city with the lawsuit later this week, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune reported. It requests unspecified compensatory damages and alleges the wall poses safety concerns and could damage the property, reducing its value.

According to City Atty. Joe Montes, Collins and Blum submitted a letter to the city on April 13 asking for repairs. Montes also indicated that there has been an ongoing dispute over whether the wall belongs to the city or is private property.

During Spector’s first trial, which ended in 2007 in a hung jury, and during his second trial, Rachelle was a constant presence, wearing stiletto heels and arguing with the trial judge.

At the time, a gag order barred her from speaking to the media, but after his sentencing in 2009, the former waitress, who is 41 years younger than Spector, emerged as the coordinator of his appeals and the chief financial officer of his music business, which still collects royalties from his work with the Beatles, the Ronettes and Tina Turner. 

At the time, she indicated she wanted to sell the house, which needed repairs, and move into an apartment, but Spector wanted to keep the residence.

In describing how the house seemed without her husband, she said, “It’s like I’m floating in the middle of nowhere. It’s like I’m just hanging.”

Their home, named Pyrenees Castle, was built in 1925 on three acres. The turreted beige house with a red tile roof has about 8,600 square feet with 10 bedrooms and 8 1/2 baths.

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-- Thomas Curwen

Photo: Aerial shot of Phil Spector's house on Grand View Drive in Alhambra in 2007. Credit: Richard Hartog / Los Angeles Times.

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