A.F. Gilmore Co., the owner of Farmers Market at West Third Street and Fairfax Avenue, wants to know if there are tenants interested in leasing shops across the street at a center that could be anchored by a 25,000-square-foot space.

A brochure from the company's leasing agent, Epsteen & Associates in Santa Monica, includes drawings of potential retail, restaurant and parking spaces.

Mark Panatier, vice president of A.F. Gilmore, said the company was testing the waters for interest.

"It's a site plan, there's no design yet," Panatier said. "We just want to see, in today's market, what might work there."

He said the company has been talking to retailers, but declined to name any.

The northwest corner of Third and Fairfax is currently occupied by an empty lot, where Christmas trees and Halloween pumpkins are sold seasonally. The center would be built on that lot, plus space that's now home to a parking lot, plant nursery and some small retail buildings.

The center, which is proposed as a build-to-suit project, could have more than 43,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, with two levels of parking. The large anchor space could also be divided into smaller units, said Panatier.

Rick Caruso, who owns the Grove shopping center located adjacent to the Farmers Market, thinks another retail destination could be good for his popular mall.

"It's no different from us doing a project near another mall," said Caruso, whose Grove sits on land owned by A.F. Gilmore. "People can go to one place to do all their shopping."

Family Feud

Sonya Dakar is best known for her five-level Beverly Hills skin care clinic that has become a celebrity favorite.

But Dakar may be spending more time on legal matters than beauty issues. A battle has broken out among family members over ownership of the trademark to her name. At the same time, she's in a divorce proceeding with her husband.

In a federal lawsuit, her husband and a son claim she gave them her trademark. She has responded with a state suit saying she licensed it to them with an oral agreement and they have violated that agreement by refusing to stop using the trademark.

The background of the suits date from 1999, when Dakar and her husband, Israel, founded Mindys Cosmetics Inc. The name was formed with the couple's first initials, and those of their children: Michal, Natan, Donna and Yigal. Mindys, which is run by Israel Dakar and son Natan, makes the skin care products bearing Sonya Dakar's name and likeness. According to court documents, Sonya Dakar gave Mindys permission to use her name and likeness, and in return Mindys gave her about $200,000 in free product a year to sell. But there was no written licensing agreement.

In July 2008, Mindys sued Sonya in U.S. District Court, saying it owns the trademark to her name because the company was the first to use it and is now completely associated with it. That case goes to trial May 5. Sonya Dakar rejects that claim.

"Mindys says it has acquired the trademark rights because it has spent $5 million marketing products? Then any licensee can claim they own trademark rights," said Stephen Doniger, who represents Sonya.

Last month, Sonya sued Mindys in Los Angeles County Superior Court, saying she owns the trademark to her name because she was first to use it. She also claims she terminated the verbal licensing agreement with Mindys, but the company continues to use not only her name but her photo, signature and voice in marketing materials.

"Sonya gave carte blanche to use her name and likeness, but all of a sudden she claimed it was a license," said Al Mohajerian, who represents Mindys. "But she doesn't have an answer for what the terms are."

Since the federal trademark suit was filed, Doniger said Mindys has stopped supplying Sonya with product for her clinic and she's running out.

In another court action, Israel Dakar filed a suit in Los Angeles County Superior Court against daughters Michal and Donna, alleging they are trying to hide community assets by moving money from Mindys and real estate properties established in their names by their parents.

Michal and Donna say these assets were gifted to them.

News & Notes

IHOP, owned by Glendale's Dine Equity Inc., now has restaurants open in all 50 states for the first time in its 50-year history. Vermont was the last holdout. L.A.-based Mexican restaurant chain Pink Taco closed its three-year-old Scottsdale, Ariz., location earlier this month. The company says it's going to focus on the Southern California market, and plans to open in Hollywood and San Diego. Mattel Inc. has created a Kentucky Derby Barbie doll, complete with an oversize hat with flowers. A life-size replica hat is also available for purchase through Churchill Downs' Web site. The Kentucky Derby is scheduled for May 2.

Staff reporter Maya Meinert can be reached at mmeinert@labusinessjournal.com or at (323) 549-5225, ext. 228.

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