Seinfeld star Michael Richards is being been sued for allegedly cutting down his neighbour’s 30-year-old trees.
In court documents obtained by TMZ, it is alleged the actor and his wife, Beth Skipp, ventured over to the property of their neighbour, Maxine Adams, and “maliciously cut mature Brazilian Pepper Trees and underbrush”.
The supposed incident is said to have occurred on April 2 in the affluent LA neighbourhood of Pacific Palisades. Adams owns the property next door to 71-year-old Richards, who is best known for his role as Cosmo Kramer in Seinfeld.
Adams alleges that the couple chopped down the five-metre trees to “significantly enhance” the value of their home” as removing it would “increase their view to the Pacific Ocean”.
But the neighbour argues that the trees provided privacy and shade, and if she were to plant a new one, it would take at least 20 years to reach the same height as her beloved Brazilian Pepper trees.
For this reason, Adams is suing Richards and Skipp for US$62,000 (approx. $80,000), the amount she said would cost her to replant.
She is also suing for a further US$200,000 (approx. $259,000) for aesthetic damage the tree removal apparently made to the value of her property.
Meanwhile, Richards bought his Pacific Palisades home back in 1996, just two years before Seinfeld ended its successful nine-season run on TV.
According to public records, the actor reportedly paid US$1.75 million (approx. $2.26 million) for the house, which he stumbled upon and fell in love with while bike-riding all those years ago. As luck would have it, the house was for sale, so he left his details in the mailbox.
“In the 1990s, after years of house-hunting, I was determined to find a home by the ocean,” Richards told the Wall Street Journal in 2014. “That’s when I spotted a classic Mediterranean-style house along the coast, on a hill. When I drove up, there was no ‘for sale’ sign out front, so I left a note in the mailbox with my name and number.
“The next day the people leasing the house called. They were friends of the owner and said they’d pass along my interest. Meanwhile, they knew my agent and called her to ask if it was really me and was I the kind of guy who’d leave a torn piece of paper in their mailbox asking to buy a house. She said that’s something I definitely would do.”
The home has full views of the Pacific Ocean from nearly every room and is now worth a reported US$8-10 million to (approx. $10-12 million).
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