Owners of $3.5M Maine vacation home are fined $215K for spraying HERBICIDES on next door neighbor’s garden, forcing removal of soil and trees to decontaminate it

A high-profile Missouri couple has been hit with $215,000 in fines and damages after applying herbicides to two oak trees on land owned by their Maine neighbor, the widow of the former president of L.L. Bean.

Arthur Bond III, nephew of former Missouri Governor and U.S. Senator Kit Bond, and his wife Amelia, president and CEO of the St Louis Community Foundation, spent their summers at their $3.5 million vacation home above Laite Beach in Camden, Maine.

Amelia Bond told Maine state investigators that she bought a four-pound bag of a chemical called Alligare in Missouri, which she put on two oak trees that she thought were dying in August 2021.

The oak trees were on the property below hers, which belonged to her neighbor.

The following summer, the oak trees’ decline was noticed by Lisa Gorman – whose husband Leon Gorman became president of L.L. Bean in 1967 after the death of his grandfather, Leon Leonwood Bean.

Amelia Bond, a vacation home owner in Camden, Maine, admitted to using herbicides on her neighbor’s oak trees

Lisa and Leon Gorman, the president and CEO of LL Bean, founded by his grandfather.  Leon died in 2015, aged 80

Lisa and Leon Gorman, the president and CEO of LL Bean, founded by his grandfather. Leon died in 2015, aged 80

Leon Leonwood Bean founded the Freeport, Maine-based company in 1912.

Lisa Gorman asked landscape gardeners Bartlett Tree Experts to look at the trees, and they took soil samples.

Their tests showed that the two oaks had been treated with herbicides, which had spread to other trees including maple, blueberry and dogwood.

Local authorities also tested the site in November 2022 and spoke to Amelia Bond, who admitted using the Alligare on the land.

It is not clear whether she knew the trees were not on her land, or why she wanted to use them on trees she thought were dying.

Alligare is described online as “a selective herbicide that provides effective control of broadleaf weeds and brush in corn, small grains, soybeans, rangelands, pastures, lawns, ornamentals, rights of way, some crops and wetlands.”

On Tuesday, Bangor daily news reported the astonishing total fine.

Trees are seen shrouded in red tape on December 1, 2022, amid the investigation into the herbicide

Trees are seen shrouded in red tape on December 1, 2022, amid the investigation into the herbicide

The Gorman House (left) is on the slope of the Bond House (right)

The Gorman House (left) is on the slope of the Bond House (right)

Trees marked with red spray paint can be seen during the herbicide use survey

Trees marked with red spray paint can be seen during the herbicide use survey

The bondsmen agreed to pay $180,000 in fines for the violations, as well as an estimated $30,700 for environmental testing and monitoring, said Jeremy Martin, Camden’s director of planning and development.

They are also liable for the costs of any potential contamination found on city property.

The Bonds must also pay $4,500 to Gorman for the unlawful use of the herbicide Tebuthiuron ‚Äď the chemical name of the product.

Next month, an engineering firm will begin testing surface and groundwater for contamination.

‚ÄúThe City of Camden is committed to protecting the environment and takes these types of violations very seriously, as evidenced by the significant financial penalty,‚ÄĚ Martin said in a statement.

“The Bonds acknowledged their responsibility and attempted to resolve the matter through counsel.”