Rich people are killing trees to improve their views, despite massive fines

Amelia Bond, former CEO of the St. Louis Foundation, which manages charitable funds worth more than $500 million, has a home one house away from the ocean in Camden Harbor, Maine. But her view of the ocean was blocked by a bunch of pesky oak trees.

So of course she brought poisonous herbicide from Missouri in 2021, and applied it to the oak trees which stood in the backyard of the oceanfront property of Lisa Gorman. When the oak trees and other vegetation started dying in 2022, Bond had the audacity to act the good neighbor and approach Gorman with an offer to split the cost of removing the dead trees.

Gorman didn't take Bond up on her offer. Instead, she got suspicious, had the ground tested, and discovered the poisoning.

Bond and her husband, Arthur Bond III, an architect and the nephew of former U.S. Senator Kit Bond, have admitted to the poisoning, and agreed to settle with Gorman for more than $1.5 million.

But the herbicide did more than kill Gorman's trees.

To make matters worse, the herbicide used to poison the trees leached into a neighboring park and the town's only public seaside beach. The state attorney general is now investigating."

Anybody dumb enough to poison trees right next to the ocean should be prosecuted, as far as I'm concerned," said Paul Hodgson, echoing the view of many exasperated residents in Camden, a community of 5,000 nestled at the foot of mountains that sweep upward from the Atlantic Ocean and overlook a harbor filled with lobster boats, yachts and schooners.

Many residents and local politicians feel that the fees the Bonds paid for their crime are a "slap on the wrist," especially for a wealthy couple.

They paid $4,500 to resolve Maine Board of Pesticides Control Board violations for unauthorized use of an herbicide that was applied inappropriately and not allowed for residential use, $180,000 to resolve violations with the town and another $30,000 for additional environmental testing, according to documents. …

A lawyer for the Bonds said they have no comment, but they "continue to take the allegations against them seriously. They continue to cooperate with the town of Camden, state of Maine and the Gormans, as they have done over the last two years."

What a great statement by the lawyer. The Bonds' misdeeds are not merely "allegations"; the Bonds have admitted to them, and so of course they will take the fact of their crimes "seriously." Good for them for cooperating.

Meanwhile, the trees are gone, and the Bonds now have an unimpeded view of the ocean.

Previously: New Jersey man cuts down 32 of his neighbor's trees to get better view, thinking the fine would be $32,000. Turns out he's on the hook for nearly $2 million.