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Soylent CEO Could Go To Jail Over That Ridiculous Hilltop Shipping Container

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Soylent founder and CEO Robert Rhinehart had already incurred the wrath of the neighbors for setting up a massive red shipping container on top of a hill as an "experiment in sustainable living," but now Rhinehart is in some serious hot water with the city. City Attorney Mike Feuer announced Friday morning that he'd filed multiple criminal counts against Rhinehart for allegedly performing unpermitted work and refusing to remove the cargo container after it was vandalized and abandoned. If convicted, Rhinehart could face up to two years in jail and $4,000 in fines, according to the City Attorney's office.

Let's backtrack for a minute, for anyone who is still asking wait, what shipping container? As our friends at Curbed LA first reported, the soy-protein-in-a-bottle mogul set up the hulking 9' by 30' shipping container as an "eco-house" on a parcel of land he'd purchased atop lovely, open hilltop in the Lincoln Heights/Montecito Heights area. The Department of Building and Safety first noted the lot on the property in April after receiving complaints, and they found it covered in graffiti and with windows smashed when they returned for a follow-up in June. A hearing was held, but Rhinehart allegedly refused to remove the container from the site and agree to any timeline for complying with Building and Safety Orders, according to the City Attorney's office.

"The defendant was given several opportunities to bring the property into compliance including a City Attorney Office hearing, but refused to do so," a representative for the City Attorney's office told LAist.

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Rhinehart also apparently threw a giant 4th of July party at the site, which left an even bigger mess.

“Unpermitted structures pose a safety risk. They also can be unsightly and erode the quality of life in a neighborhood,” Feuer said in a statement. “My office will work to hold property owners accountable if they flout our building and safety laws."