Ciela Accused of Unethical Behavior

Ciela is a luxury senior facility in the Palisades Highlands.

A local resident accompanied his mother to Ciela, a luxury senior living facility at 17310 Vereda de la Montura in the Palisades Highlands to take a tour.

Later he wrote on a social platform: “They set up an appointment to give us a tour along with a free lunch. When we sat down to have our complimentary lunch, a nicely dressed man asked if he could join us. He talked so much we couldn’t focus on ordering. After a few minutes, I gathered that he was a realtor. He started asking my mom where she lived and if she owned her home. He then asked if he could see it.

“He asked for her phone number so he could set something up to educate us on how much the house is worth. He went on and on, claiming how many others he has helped sell their property, how many buyers he has, and that he has countless contacts. This was well after my mother told him she’s not ready to sell her home. It pissed me off so much I had to tell him to leave.”

The resident said the realtor, Ari Shram, didn’t leave peacefully and that he had to be forcibly rude.

CTN contacted Rony Shram owner of Ciela to ask if it was a regular practice to have perspective clients meet with realtors.

He said via email on May 6 “I am aware of the Nextdoor post, which I thought was very unfortunate. This man’s mother called us and asked Annie [Ciela’s Community Relations Director, Annie Vardi] for a tour.

“During their call, she mentioned that she would be selling her house and asked whether we could recommend a realtor whom she could meet,” Rony said. “Her son attended the tour and did not like any of his mother’s plans, so he shut down the discussion, and wrote the negative post.

“People commonly sell their homes when moving into assisted living communities such as Ciela,” Rony said. “We often get referrals from local realtors or (conversely) get asked to make recommendations. We’re not involved in any particulars, beyond an introduction.”

The resident was contacted about Shram’s statement, which he shared with his mother. “Well, this is more of what my mother has called the day she felt like she was in the Twilight Zone.

“My mother was infuriated by his words! She never said anything about needing a realtor,” the resident said. “All she said was she needed a place to move to after her house was sold where she could keep her cats and had a balcony. They told her on the phone when she was scheduling a tour that they could connect her to a realtor to help her sell her house. She told the lady on the phone that she didn’t need or want a realtor.”

The woman’s son further explained that his mom has had several people approach her about purchasing her home off-market and added that it was “childish for Rony to say that I don’t like any of my mother’s plans. If I didn’t like any of her plans, I wouldn’t be helping her explore them. What this son doesn’t like is someone trying to take advantage of his mom.”

The resident also commented about the costs of the facility. There is a one-time membership to stay at Ciela of $25,000. CTN wrote about the costs in a September 2023 story click here.

Additionally, Ciela in winning approval from the City for construction, said it would open a bistro, that the public could use.

Rony in his May 6 email said that the bistro “Good to Go” would open June 1 and “we love having members of the community stop by, so we’re really excited to bring more people to Ciela.”

In addition to coffee program, the owner said they have teamed up with Larder Baking Company and will be offering hot, pressed-to-order paninis at Good to Go. “We are starting with a small panini menu and might expand to some other takeaway items, based on demand,” he said and added that as he was writing the email, there were 30 Palisades women playing bridge upstairs and that they come every month.

He was asked about a quote from Annie Vardi in the April Malibu magazine that read, “Our residents span a wide range of ages, from young professionals to retirees. Diversity sits at the core of our community, and we welcome individuals from all walks of life.”

Rony said, “Annie’s statement must have been taken out of context or somehow misunderstood. I believe the intention was to convey that we have a wide variety of seniors. Our youngest residents are in their 60s; the oldest in their mid-90s. While we do have residents who still work, to me ‘young professionals’ means people in their 20s (as I imagine it does to you).  We definitely do not have any of those. Sorry for the confusion.”

A gerontologist that has worked as a geriatric social worker in the Palisades for decades was asked if it was standard practice for a retirement facility to offer realtor services.

The person responded, “I can tell you that I have never heard of any assisted living in the LA area that offers reality services to prospective new residents.

“There are many ethical reasons not to offer reality services to a senior looking to potentially move out of their home,” the gerontologist said. “One of the main reasons would be that seniors are part of a protective class because they are most vulnerable to being financially taken advantage of.

“Additionally, when an elderly person reaches the point of making an important life transition into assisted living, it often comes with a lot of emotional discomfort as well as potential distress. It can be caused by moving into a new community, having to leave a home they lived in for decades, giving away a lot of freedoms, facing health challenges that make independent living impossible… There are many factors that come into play and all of them can be stressful and anxiety provoking.

“The last thing someone needs is a salesman hitting you up for your house while they are upselling you on a unit,” the social worker said, and added “I would love to know if they have offered this to other residents.

“Many of my clients in the Palisades had been taken for anywhere between a couple thousand to tens of thousands by scam artists,” the gerontolgist said, and added “If you are an elderly person living in an old house in the Palisades, you get hit several times a week with mail and realtors knocking on your door to sell your house. That’s not illegal but still stress inducing.”

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2 Responses to Ciela Accused of Unethical Behavior

  1. Dana Dalton says:

    Did they ever find out what caused the car fire in the garage or close to the garage?
    And We hope that one resident is okay.

  2. Mb says:

    Why doesn’t the new restaurant order their sandwiches and bakery products from Kim at K Bakery at the bottom of Palisades Dr?? They say they are community oriented so why go elsewhere to get food????

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