Tahoe governing board sues Nev. man over shore work
The Associated Press
RENO, Nev. and#8212; Lake Tahoe regulators have sued a wealthy Nevada rancher and businessman, accusing him of performing illegal excavation work and other environmental violations at his lakefront property.
The civil suit filed last week by the bistate Tahoe Regional Planning Agency accuses Edgar “Red” Roberts of violating environmental codes in November while repairing and expanding a retaining wall at his $4 million home in Glenbrook on Tahoe’s east shore.
TRPA attorney Nicole Rinke, in the suit, claims Roberts authorized the work without required permits.
Regulators investigated after receiving an anonymous complaint, the suit said.
Specifically, the suit alleged Roberts brought in roughly 80 cubic yards of earthen material and deposited it at or below the high water line. Additionally, it said he used construction equipment to dredge sand from a neighbor’s property for use on his own.
The work also was conducted during an annua l grading moratorium, imposed Oct. 15 through May 1, when winter storms are likely to cause erosion and sediment runoff into the lake, the suit said.
The violations carry a possible $5,000 fine, plus an additional fine of up to $5,000 for each day violations persist.
The TRPA is a bistate agency authorized by Congress in 1969 to protect the mountain lake’s cobalt blue waters and delicate ecosystem. Construction codes in the Tahoe basin that straddles the Nevada-California line in the eastern Sierra are among the most stringent anywhere.
Roberts, in his early 80s, has made millions investing in land in the Tahoe area and northern Nevada. He was once business partners with the late Harvey Gross, founder of what became Harvey’s hotel-casino at lake Tahoe. Roberts also owns the historic Goldfield Hotel in central Nevada.
More recently, he owned the property that is now a large shopping development in northern Douglas County just south of the state capital.
Reached Wednesday at his home just outside Carson City, Roberts said he had just returned from his ranch in northern Washoe County, was unaware of the suit and declined comment.
In the lawsuit, Rinke said efforts earlier this year to negotiate a settlement with Roberts stalled after he didn’t respond to a TRPA request for an engineer’s report on the structural soundness of the wall. The suit further said that Roberts, in a Jan. 27 letter to TRPA, said he had approached the agency about a permit but was advised by staff the project was unallowable under code.
That admission, the suit said, showed Roberts’ violations were “willful and/or the result of gross negligence.”
When it comes to running afoul of environmental regulations at Tahoe, Roberts is not alone.
In 2005, retired LPGA golfer Annika Sorenstam agreed to a $7,500 fine for moving dirt illegally at her beach-front home in Incline Village. That same year, former major league baseball pitch er Scott Erickson agreed to a $25,000 fine for construction of an illegal hot tub at his Stateline home.
In 2006, a California business executive agreed to pay $50,000 for poisoning three trees to enhance the view from his Lake Tahoe home.
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