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Thursday, May 30, 2013 | 10:25 a.m.

Updated: 5:35 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2007 | Posted: 3:37 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2007

Tyler Perry Pays Massive Fine For Cutting Trees


A Whistleblower 2 investigation has found that Atlanta-based actor and movie producer Tyler Perry had to pay the city more than $175,000 for removing trees from his massive new estate.

Records show that many of the trees were removed illegally.

And that wasn't the only violation at Perry's $24 million home which is still under construction.

This isn't Perry's first run-in with local authorities.

Earlier this month, Channel 2 Action News revealed that his company launched a multi-million dollar renovation of a building in the Inman Park neighborhood without a single one of the required permits.

A construction expert told us there were significant safety issues, and the city ordered the work halted.

Now Channel 2 Action News has learned there was also a stop work order on Perry’s house, and huge fines.

From the air, one can appreciate the vast wealth that Perry has accumulated from his stunning successes as the movie character Madea and also as a movie producer.

His new mansion is three stories high and has 36,000 square feet.

It sprawls across 17 acres of land adjacent to the Chattahoochee River in Northwest Atlanta.

Work on the home has resumed now, but records show last August the city ordered all construction to stop.

One official's note says in part, “builder has exceeded construction without approved plans or permits.”

A construction official was issued an arrest citation for violation of the city's erosion control ordinance.

Records show he later pleaded guilty and paid a $2,500 fine.

That same month, retired architect Sheldon Schlegman was driving by the east side of the estate when he noticed two massive concrete columns along the road; pillars for a gate to the property

Schlegman is active in the city's official Neighborhood Planning Unit or NPU, for that part of Atlanta.

“Oh, I knew immediately that they were illegal,” he said.

“The maximum height allowed would be four feet. These were clearly 12 feet or higher than that.”

Schlegman says the movie star's contractor had not obtained the required permit for that part of the work along Paces Ferry Road, but getting answers from city officials wasn't easy.

“I was totally stone-walled and frustrated,” said Schlegman.

He said he believes construction would have gone along with the city doing nothing.

¶ But it was the massive clearing of trees that most angered Schlegman, who says he once held the position as the city's commissioner of tree conservation.

Before and after aerial shots of the building site show massive clearing of trees.

Records show that Perry paid the fine for those removals earlier this month with a check for an astonishing $177,146.

Records show that some of the tree removal was anticipated; in effect, reported and acknowledged in advance by the city.

But a February 1 city memo also cites the actor and producer for "illegal destruction or removal of trees."

Schlegman says in his experience the $177,146 paid by Perry is the largest such payment since the city's tree protection ordinance was passed.

The fine could be reduced depending on the number of trees Perry replants on the property.

Schlegman says a zoning variance was granted which allows a modified version of those gates which originally caught his eye.

The city says the stop work order at his movie and TV production studio in northeast Atlanta is still in effect because of his contractor's failure to obtain the requires permits there.

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