Someecards Logo
Tree lawyer proves cousin stole $500K in trees from family; now he's homeless. AITA?

Tree lawyer proves cousin stole $500K in trees from family; now he's homeless. AITA?


"AITA for threatening to make my cousin homeless over some trees."


My great grandpa split up his property among all his kids when he retired. When he did this it was way outside the city limits. My grandmother only had one kid. My dad. And I am her only grandchild. My dad gave me the land.

My piece is the biggest. We are also close enough now for city water and power. Some of the land has been sold to developers. My uncle subdivided his portion into acreages. He kept one and gave each of his kids a plot.

My cousin has spent ten years building his dream home. It is up the hill from my cabin. I bought an old one room school house and moved it onto my land. I love it. I will retire there some day. But it needs work.

My cousin has been bugging me to clear some of my woodlot. It blocks his view of the valley. He chose that lot. I don't know why he would pick a location with an obstructed view.

My wife and I live and work in the city. We only go out to the cabin a few times a year. My cousin lives in his home. Him and his kids constantly throw parties there. We go if we are out at the cabin. But mostly we like having the privacy of the woodlot between us.

My cousin didn't. He chopped down ten of the tallest trees between our properties. All of them were on my side of the fence. The missing trees were the first thing I saw when I got out there. I immediately checked my trail cameras. I had video of him and his sons doing it.

I went over and asked him WTF? He said the trees were diseased and he did me a favor. I told him I wanted to look at the wood. The trunks were gone and he only had a bunch of the branches.

I called a tree guy from the university to come look at the stumps and he told me the trees were fine and that tree theft is a big deal. I told my cousin that he had to do something or I would go to the cops. He said to go ahead. So I did. I also called a lawyer that specializes in tree law. I didn't even know that was a thing. Each tree was worth $50k.

My cousin has gone crazy since he was served. The cops tracked down the trunks. They actually used DNA to identify my logs. The company that bought them agreed to give me the money from the trees and testify against him if I didn't charge them.

My uncle and my dad came to talk to me. My cousin doesn't have the money. He would have to sell his house. And if he gets a criminal conviction it will affect his job. We came to an agreement. My uncle gave me one of his undeveloped lots and some money. I dropped the charges against my cousin.

My family is divided. On the one hand he stole my property. On the other I took money from my uncle in return for not making my cousin homeless. We planted new trees but they will take a long time to make up for the old ones.

My cousins are furious that I took money that was part of their inheritance but they are madder at their dumb brother than they are at me. My dad said that I shouldn't have involved the law in a family dispute.

Here were the top rated comments from readers:


NTA just because you're family doesn't entitle him to change your property, or steal lumber.

The OP responded here:


I knew tree theft was a crime. I didn't know that they used DNA to trace logs.


You handled it like a family dispute when you went to him first. When he told you to shove it you were left with no choice but to handle it for real.


I wouldn’t call destruction of half a million dollars worth of property a “family dispute.” NTA.


NTA. Your cousin did something he knew you had said no to and then lied about it. You did the right thing. His father should take what he had to pay for his screw up out of his share of the inheritance. He needs to pay for what he did one way or another and not have daddy pay.


NTA. This isn't your cousin taking a carton of eggs. This is (likely) hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage and theft. You get the law involved.


NTA. He f around with someone else’s property and found out. He’s just lucky he was bailed out. And your Dad is wrong. Your cousin not providing food to thanksgiving family gatherings is a family issue. Stealing and selling someone else’s property is a legal and criminal issue.


NTA. Your relatives committed a crime during a “family dispute.” Someone steals a car or destroys over $50K of property should get the cops called on them. They severely affected your property value for their own. Your dad clearly couldn’t think of an alternate EFFECTIVE method of dealing with this and now uselessly handwringing “what will the family think?”


NTA. You have made a point that you won't put up with any shit from your cousin. Otherwise he'd have ended up cutting more down when it suited him or doing other things with your property.

So, tree lawyer. Who knew? Do you think the OP was being to letigious here? Or is this just classic family drama?

Sources: Reddit
© Copyright 2024 Someecards, Inc

Featured Content