BAR HARBOR — The owner of a multimillion dollar compound on Deep Cove, off Indian Point Road, is suing his neighbors for allegedly removing about 20 trees from his property in order to provide a better ocean view for a new house they had built.
Reeve Waud of Lake Forest, Ill., claims that William and Nancy Kales of San Francisco felled the trees – and destroyed about 30 others in the process – after Waud “unequivocally declined” their request to do so.
The Kaleses say they didn’t do it and don’t know who did. Their attorney, Margaret Jeffery of Bar Harbor, said the trees in question were not even in the same area where they had requested the removal of trees to improve their view.
Waud says in his lawsuit that in September 2014, the Kales sent him a letter requesting a meeting to discuss cutting some trees on his 63-acre property. He says that when they met at his office in Chicago, he told them they could not cut any of his trees.
“Despite such clear refusal of their request, … the defendants, their employees and/or agents did enter upon plaintiff’s land, without plaintiff’s permission, and did cause to be felled approximately 20 mature trees of various species and varying diameters.”
In the process, Waud claims, about 30 other trees were “crushed, uprooted or otherwise destroyed.”
The Kaleses have a different recollection of their meeting with Waud, according to Jeffery, their attorney. She said Waud told them he would take their request into consideration.
“But he never responded after that,” she said. “As they left the meeting, they concluded they did not have permission.”
Jeffery said there is an “innuendo” in Waud’s complaint that the trees were cut after the Kaleses had asked permission. But she said an arborist hired by Waud inspected the trees this September and concluded that they had been felled more than a year earlier.
Jeffery said the timing of Waud’s accusation against her clients is curious. She said that for a time this summer, the Kaleses and other residents of the area “endured hour after hour of practically continuous gunshot sounds.”
“It turns out that Mr. Waud had built an outdoor shooting range, and his guests and employees were using it,” Jeffery said. “When the police were called, all the neighbors had to do was hold up their telephone so the dispatcher could hear the shooting.”
Jeffery said the police responded to the calls, and soon after that, the shooting stopped.
Mount Desert Police Lt. Kevin Edgecomb said Wednesday that, according to the department’s records, officers responded July 29 after “multiple people called about the gunshots.” He said people on Waud’s property were skeet shooting.
Edgecomb said they were not told to stop. “But I think they did stop on their own,” he said.
A few days later, Jeffery said, “The Kaleses received a letter from Waud’s lawyer making these unjust accusations of the Kaleses having cut down the trees.”
Waud’s attorney is Roger Katz of Augusta.
In the suit filed Nov. 23 in Hancock County Superior Court, Waud “demands judgment … in a sum deemed fair and reasonable for the trespass upon plaintiff’s property and the destruction of plaintiff’s property, plus interests and costs.”
He also wants the court to award him an amount “equal to the increase in value of the defendant’s property attributed to the illegally acquired ocean view.”
The trees in question are on a heavily forested parcel just north of the Mount Desert town line. That lot is assessed for tax purposes at $7.5 million.
The residential compound that Waud is building is on a 102-acre lot on the Mount Desert side of the line.
The Islander reported in January that the compound was to include a single-family home, a pool house and a detached garage. The current assessed value of that property, including the buildings, is $3.8 million. However, according to the town’s tax assessor, Kyle Avila, the main house was only 15 percent complete as of April 1 of this year, the date of the assessment; the pool house was 30 percent complete; and the garage was 20 percent complete.
Other structures planned for that lot include a guest house and a stand-alone, 10,800-square-foot “indoor recreational facility” with a bowling alley, squash court, exercise room, locker room and two guest rooms.
As of April 1, construction had been completed on a maintenance building on an adjacent, 31-acre lot. That building and land are assessed at $3.2 million.
Waud’s neighbors to the north, the Kaleses, own four houses on Amscray Lane, off Indian Point Road. The only one built in the last 20 years was completed in 2013. That house and 4.2-acre lot are assessed at $929,000.