BAR HARBOR — William and Nancy Kales have admitted “responsibility” for cutting down trees on their neighbor Reeve Waud’s property on Western Bay off Indian Point Road and have paid him $100,000 for the damage.
Waud said in a lawsuit filed in November 2015 that the Kaleses sent him a letter two months earlier requesting a meeting to discuss the harvesting of some trees on his side of the property line to improve their view.
He said that when they met at his home in Chicago, he told them he would consider their request, but in the meantime, they were not to cut any trees.
Nevertheless, he claimed in the lawsuit, they “did cause to be felled approximately 20 mature trees of various species and varying diameters” and that, in the process, about 30 other trees were “crushed, uprooted or otherwise destroyed.”
The Kaleses filed a counterclaim in which they stated they “did not cut, or cause to be cut, any trees on (Waud’s) property.”
They also alleged that Waud had filed his suit “to retaliate against them for alerting the town [about] and objecting to the gunfire from the newly constructed gun range facility on (his) property.”
In a letter dated Aug. 21, 2015, Waud’s attorney, Roger Katz of Augusta, told the Kaleses that his client intended to sue them for their “outrageous acts of trespass and criminal mischief.”
He said Waud’s suit would seek civil damages to replace the trees, punitive damages and compensation for the amount they increased their own property value by removing the trees and improving their view. Katz said the suit also would ask for the amount of money needed “to restore the Waud land back to its previous condition, which may exceed hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
The Kaleses attorney, Peggy McGehee of Portland, responded in a letter to Katz that not only did her clients not have the trees cut, but the trees in question were not the ones they had requested permission to remove.
“They have no reason to have wanted such trees cut,” she said. “They did not and still do not have a view of Blue Hill from their house.”
In an out-of-court settlement dated July 27 of this year, the Kaleses stated, “We take responsibility for the trees that were cut on (Waud’s) property and we regret that (Waud’s) property was damaged as a result.”
They agreed to pay him $100,000.
Waud said he brought in an arborist and a logging specialist to examine the felled trees and stumps.
“The stumps on their side of the [property] line matched the ones that had been cut down on our side, so it was obvious that the same person did it,” he said.
“You cut a tree differently if you’re an arborist, if you’re a logger, or if you have no experience. Everybody makes the cut differently, whether you’re left-handed or right-handed and how tall you are. So, basically, it’s a signature.”
Waud is founder and managing partner of Waud Capital Partners, a private equity firm in Chicago. His Indian Point Road holdings, which straddle the Bar Harbor-Mount Desert town line, include 322 acres of land, a main house and several accessory buildings. The property is assessed for tax purposes at $18.8 million.
Sixty-three undeveloped acres of Waud’s property is on the Bar Harbor side of the town line. It was on that parcel, adjacent to the Kaleses property, that the trees were cut.
The Kaleses, whose principal residence is in San Francisco, own 36 acres of land and four houses off Indian Point Road with a total assessed value of $3 million.