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Wealthy US couple accused of poisoning trees for ocean view

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NEW DELHI: A high-profile case has emerged in Camden, Maine, where a wealthy couple is accused of poisoning trees to secure an unobstructed ocean view, resulting in the contamination of the town’s only public beach. The dispute involves Lisa Gorman, widow of former LL Bean president Leon Gorman, and her neighbors, Amelia and Arthur Bond III, part-time residents from Missouri.
According to a Fox News report, in 2021, Amelia Bond, former CEO of the St Louis Foundation, allegedly applied a lethal herbicide, Tebuthiuron, to Lisa Gorman’s oak trees without her consent. According to legal documents, Bond later offered to share the cost of removing the dying trees, which granted her an unobstructed view of Penobscot Bay.
The herbicide spread to the neighboring Laite Memorial Beach, raising health and environmental concerns. Camden residents, including Paul Hodgson, have expressed their outrage, calling for criminal prosecution. “Anybody dumb enough to poison trees right next to the ocean should be prosecuted, as far as I’m concerned,” Hodgson told the AP.
The Bonds have faced significant financial penalties, including paying $1.5 million to Gorman and additional costs for monitoring and remediation efforts at the beach. Maine Attorney General Aaron Frey has launched an investigation into the incident.
Despite the fines, some locals believe the penalties are insufficient. Rep. Vicki Doudera suggested a sliding scale for wealthier offenders, stating, “It makes me so livid. This situation, the minute I heard about it, I thought, ‘Wow! These people are going to get a slap on the wrist.’ That’s just not right.”
The Bonds’ attorney emphasized their clients’ cooperation with authorities and their commitment to addressing the allegations.
The use of Tebuthiuron has historical precedence, notably when an Alabama football fan used it to kill oak trees at Auburn University in 2010. The herbicide is notoriously difficult to remediate, with removal of the affected soil or dilution over two years being the only solutions.
The case has sparked a broader discussion about the influence of wealthy part-time residents in small communities like Camden. “They just pay the fine because they have plenty of money,” Hodgson remarked. “That’s the town we live in.”





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