A lawsuit involving the use of the pier and beach on the Rales property in Seal Harbor has been settled. FILE PHOTO

Billionaire beach lawsuit is settled



MOUNT DESERT — The lawsuit that billionaire summer resident Mitchell Rales filed against some of his Peabody Drive neighbors last fall, seeking to prevent them from using his beach and pier, has been settled out of court.

The two sides agreed not to divulge details of the settlement.

The defendants included several descendents of longtime Harvard University President Charles W. Eliot, who was one of the founders of Acadia National Park.

In a suit filed Sept. 8 in Hancock County Superior Court, Rales asked the court to rule that some of the defendants had no right to access the beach by crossing a corner of his property and that none of the defendants had the right to use the beach or pier for “any private purposes” including “holding parties, igniting fireworks, sunbathing, gathering, picnicking or storing boats.”

The suit apparently was prompted by beach parties held the last two summers by other next-door neighbors to the south. That property is owned by Eliot descendants Alexander, Peter and Paul Goriansky, all of the Boston area.

Rales argued in his suit that easements conveyed with land transfers between 1883 and 1947 did not give his neighbors the right to use his property. But several of the defendants filed a counterclaim in which they argued that their deeds guaranteed them access to the beach and pier on what is now Rales’s seasonal residence.

Among the defendants were nine descendents of Eliot who own the adjacent property to the north of Rales’s house through their corporation, Coffeepot LLC. One of the owners, Sara Pierce, told the Islander at the time the countersuit was filed: “The Coffeepot family has a perfectly legal and deeded right of way to access and use the wharf and landing place going back to 1927 and before, which Mr. Rales and his lawyers knew when he bought the property.”

Rales bought the 4.6-acre lot from Susan Mary Alsop for $5.5 million in 2007. He tore down and replaced the house and pier, both of which Eliot had built.

Rales’s Peabody Drive compound is assessed for tax purposes at $15.6 million. His estimated net worth of $3.5 billion makes him one of the 200 richest people in America, according to “Forbes” magazine.

Dick Broom

Dick Broom

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Dick Broom covers the towns of Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert Island High School and the school system board and superintendent's office. He enjoys hiking with his golden retriever and finding new places for her to swim. [email protected]
Dick Broom

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