By GABRIELLA BOCK | Reporter
It’s been nearly a year-and-a-half since former Village mainstay Denton Jewelers closed its doors for good, yet many clients are still left wondering if they’ll ever recover their lost treasures.
In 2015, the Palisadian-Post launched an investigation into Denton after unearthing numerous civil suits taken out against the jewelers, which had been in business since 1948.
The judgements stacked up to nearly 30 civil cases between 2005 and 2015, with plaintiffs claiming that the store’s owner, Saad Mazboudi, sold them gemstones of questionable value, misplaced thousands of dollar’s worth of consignment items and issued bad checks.
And while some former clients have accused the store of criminal activity, other members of the community believe that the former Pacific Palisades Chamber of Commerce president and honorary “Town Sheriff” was yet another victim of the 2008 Great Recession.
Denton Jewelry, Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2012, a move that allowed the store to remain open and, the owners said, begin paying back creditors.
But, with a tarnished reputation and a store growing further in debt, the payouts never arrived.
In early 2016, Denton went out of business after Mazboudi’s wife and business partner, Yvette, passed away after a long battle with cancer.
Dara Williams, assistant head deputy at the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office, told the Palisadian-Post last week that the DA’s office would not be pursuing any criminal charges against Mazboudi despite the financial loss his enterprise inflicted on many Palisadians.
Why? The office “did not believe that the evidence provided had clearly indicated that a crime occurred.”
Former customers who claim they have lost up to $100,000 disagree: Last week one client said that he had taken “everything precious,” including family gems dating back a century.
The retired Alphabet Streets resident gave them to Mazboudi to sell and never saw the gems again. Or any money.
“I had to remortgage my house to make up the losses, and now I may lose the house. And this man, who puffed himself up appearing offended when we wanted to know what he was doing, has walked away. He could open up another business tomorrow.”
For today, Mazboudi is believed to be living with his two sons somewhere on the Westside.
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