Lawyer who trimmed trees countersues TRPA
A Lake Tahoe attorney being sued by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency for illegally trimming trees on his property has filed a countersuit claiming emotional distress and lost profits.
The suit filed by Melvin Laub, a lawyer with offices at South Lake Tahoe and Reno, was announced at the TRPA Governing Board meeting Wednesday.
“Is this the attorney who doesn’t know the law?” said Tom Quinn, a governing board member recently appointed by Gov. Gray Davis. “I read an article in the L.A. Times that said a woman was fined $10,000 for one limb, $40,000 if the tree dies. Perhaps we’re pretty lenient. Our fines are pretty low.”
Laub has said he was not aware of an ordinance that forbids trimming trees without a permit. In February, he negotiated an agreement with TRPA staff that allowed a $3,000 fine and no admittance of the violation.
The Governing Board rejected the agreement and offered to settle the case for $6,000. Laub, who said he felt he had been treated unfairly because his signed agreement with staff was disregarded by the Governing Board, refused the fine and provoked a lawsuit from the agency.