Code Violations Land 'Phonehenge' Builder in Jail

A Superior Court Judge has ordered the jailing of the builder of an elaborate and eccentric set of unpermitted buildings in the exurbs north of Los Angeles.
July 13, 2011, 7am PDT | Nate Berg
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Known as "Phonehenge West", the compound has 13 buildings, including one shaped like a viking boat and a mobile home remodeled as an antique railroad car. It also has a number of code violations, for which the owner has been warned.

"'He's like Simon Rodia, who built the Watts Towers. This is folk art,' said Bill Guild, one of a handful of supporters who came to court Friday, referring to the Italian builder of the famed towers fashioned out of scrap materials in South Los Angeles. 'It seems a bit punitive to me.'

Fahey, wearing overalls and his long snow-white hair in a ponytail, told the court he has not had enough time to tear down the buildings after his conviction last month on a dozen misdemeanor building code violations.

The 59-year-old retired phone company technician said he has removed about 70 doors and windows from one of the illegal structures, a 70-foot tower, but noted he does not have a crane to pull down the entire edifice.

He added that he's not an electrician and doesn't know how to disconnect the power."

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Published on Friday, July 8, 2011 in Salon
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