Walmart Heiress Demands $90,000 For A Damaged Eucalyptus Tree
Walmart heiress Nancy Walton Laurie—estimated worth $4.1 billion— is suing a well-known developer for $90,000 for brutalizing her eucalyptus tree. Mohamed Hadid, known for building celebrity mega-mansions, was in the process of building the roughly 30,000-square-foot 901 Strada Vecchia in Bel Air. This property sits next to Walton Laurie's property, but has been plunged into building purgatory. After it drew the ire of some of its neighbors—in particular, an entertainment lawyer who lived below the property and worried that it would slide down the hill and crush his house—the City looked into the complaints. The L.A. Department of Building and Safety pulled the home's construction permits last fall.
According to Hadid's lawyer, Bruce Rudman, one of the City's requirements had been that they build a retaining wall to hold up the hillside. It's this wall that Walton Laurie says damaged her tree by cutting into the tree's roots, the Beverly Hills Courier reports. Her company, LW Partnership, has filed a summary judgment in L.A. Superior Court against 901 Strada Vecchia, demanding that portions of the wall be removed and that she be paid $90,000 for the damage to the tree. How many trees have sacrificed their lives to make way for new Walmart superstores, we can't be certain, but this particular eucalyptus tree sure was special to the family.
The wall is 200 feet long and is 8 feet high in some places, but in others, up to 18 feet high. The summary judgement states that the wall "stands at least 100 feet on the neighboring family's property without the family's consent."
Rudman disagrees. He says that the new retaining wall simply replaces an old one that had been in the same spot previously. He said that decades earlier, Walton Laurie's land and the property belonging to the mega-mansion were one, but about 80 years or so ago, they were cut up. At that time, a wall was built to separate the two parcels. This new wall replaces that one, and it traces the exact same line, he says.
As for the tree, Rudman disagrees with that too. He says an arborist declared that the tree is just fine, and if anything is to blame for a rough patch in the tree's health, it's the drought.
[h/t to Curbed LA]