Council hears update on tree removal lawsuit

During closed session on Tuesday the Claremont City Council heard an update regarding an ongoing lawsuit over the removal of street trees adjacent to a home on Twelfth Street.

The suit, City of Claremont vs. B. Manor Inc. et al, was filed by city attorney Alisha Patterson on September 2, according to documents from the Los Angeles County Superior Court. The case also names Brian Borneman as a defendant.

The suit stems from the removal of four trees this past April, one on Twelfth and three on Cambridge, allegedly cut down by crews working to renovate a home located at 692 W. Twelfth.

The trees, an Oklahoma red bud, a Chinese elm and two ginkgo biloba, also called maidenhair, were valued by the city at $8,600. The property owner was billed for the trees plus $3,300 to plant new trees for a total of $11,900, Community Services Director Jeremy Swan said in April.

B. Manor Inc. purchased the home on July 18, 2019 at a foreclosure sale for $832,500, according to a trustee certificate obtained by the COURIER. Renovation work on the home appears to have stalled.

Attorneys for B. Manor Inc. asked for more time to respond to the complaint on November 1. The next scheduled court hearing is a case management conference on January 25, 2022 in downtown Los Angeles.

This home was also the location of two wood sculptures by Folk Music Center’s Charles Chase who resided across the street for many years. One of the sculptures called “Moses” was rescued after neighbors spotted a tree crew at the home on March 25 and became alarmed that the roughly eight-foot tall art work was headed for the chipper.

Led by the quick action of neighbor Diane Barnes, a temporary home was found for “Moses” while the other sculpture was determined to have rotted too much to save. Many Claremont residents offered to give “Moses” a home once word got out that it had been moved.

After several months of discussions, “Moses” may have found a permanent home in front of Hartmann Baldwin offices on the corner of College Avenue and Foothill Boulevard.


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