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Tree-Chopping Doctor Ordered to Pay Restitution

June 10, 1988

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) _ A physician who felled 24 trees on federal property to improve the view of a lake must pay $7,500 in restitution and provide free emergency medical treatment to lake visitors, a judge ruled.

Kenneth Abbott of Smithville was charged Thursday with ″timber trespass″ by U.S. Magistrate Joe Haynes in a petty offense citation.

Abbott, a radiologist, was also ordered to pay a $500 fine.

″This man showed a blatant disregard for the rights of the public in general,″ said Assistant U.S. Attorney Bob Washko.

Several of the trees Abbott chopped down were more than 100 feet tall, Washko said.

″There was nothing malicious about it. He was simply oblivious to the harm he did to erosion control, to wildlife and to the beauty of the area itself,″ said Washko. ″And it was all because he wanted a better view of the lake from his home.″

The 24 trees, which stood on federal property in woods separating Abbott’s clifftop home from a lake, included 13 red maples, 6 hickory trees, 4 chestnut oaks and 1 yellow poplar.

The Corps of Engineers initiated an investigation after rangers notified them that trees were missing.

Haynes called the damage done by Abbott ″irreparable″ and ordered him to provide two years of free emergency medical treatment for visitors to the lake.

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