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Sentencing delayed for 'Phonehenge West' creator

July 22, 2011 |  1:50 pm

Sentencing of the man who built an elaborate labyrinth of structures dubbed Phonehenge West without the proper permits was delayed Friday because he fell ill.

A  judge allowed Alan Kimble Fahey to remain out of jail until his new court date when she learned he had started to comply with orders to vacate and dismantle his creation on his Acton property.

Fahey, 59, was temporarily hospitalized on Thursday suffering from painful kidney stones, his lawyer Jerry Lennon told Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Daviann L. Mitchell at the Antelope Valley courthouse.

Fahey’s wife, Pat, who said her husband was in “severe pain” and “heavily medicated,” provided a note from his doctor.

Mitchell, who was scheduled to sentence Fahey on a dozen building code violations, said she had been prepared to revoke Fahey’s bail and send him to jail until prosecutors advised her he had begun to comply with orders she had set for him to remain free on his own recognizance.

“He seemingly has complied with the most urgent orders,” said Deputy Dist. Atty. Patrick David Campbell, who recently conducted a review of Fahey’s almost 2-acre property.

Illegal electrical sources had been shut off to most of the buildings, all the unpermitted structures were vacated, and Fahey had hired a company to start dismantling a 70-foot tower—the highlight of his creation—Campbell said.

County code enforcement officials have also red-tagged the illegal buildings.

"Please let Mr. Fahey know the court does appreciate his movement on this case," Mitchell said, and rescheduled his sentencing hearing for Aug. 5.

A retired phone service technician, Fahey spent almost 30 years constructing the 20,000-square-foot maze of interconnected buildings, stopping only when Los Angeles County code enforcement officials forced him to in 2008.

The complex includes a hodgepodge of reddish buildings—some built with discarded power company utility poles, many with reinforced steel beams and wood, and all connected by bridges and ramps.

Fahey kept a guestbook that visitors were asked to sign.

A jury convicted Fahey last month and Mitchell ordered him to tear down all the structures erected without proper permits.

The judge cited concerns about fire hazards, given the amount of wood at Phonehenge West and the lack of water and access for firefighters.

But Fahey ignored Mitchell’s orders, so she threw him jail, setting bail at $75,000. His family managed to bail him out last week.

Fahey could face more jail time but might also get probation or be ordered to perform community service, his attorney said.

He would likely have to pay hefty fines and fees, the lawyer added.

Standing amid a throng of Fahey’s supporters outside the courtroom Friday, Pat Fahey said she was glad the judge recognized her husband was trying to comply.

But she noted the stress of the trial and having to destroy his life’s work had likely contributed to the onset of Fahey’s illness.

“He’s under a lot of pressure,” the wife said. “But he feels he has to be the strong person for everyone else.”


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-- Ann M. Simmons in the Antelope Valley

Photo: "Phonehenge West" in Acton. Credit: Reed Saxon / Associated Press.