Billionaire ordered to remove shed from shorefront property in Mount Desert

Posted Nov. 15, 2011, at 5:08 p.m.

MOUNT DESERT, Maine — A billionaire who recently built a $24 million shorefront mansion on Peabody Drive has been ordered by the town to remove a shed that was not approved by the local planning board.

At the end of October, Mount Desert Code Enforcement Officer Kim Keene sent a certified letter to Mitchell P. Rales, informing him that a 20-foot-by-10-foot shed located in the staff parking area at his new home had not been permitted by the town.

Rales, who co-founded and still controls Danaher Corp. with his brother Steven Rales, lives in the Washington, D.C, area for much of the year. Mitchell Rales, who like his brother routinely make the Forbes magazine list of 400 Richest Americans, had an estimated net worth of $3 billion as of September of this year, according to the magazine.

The Danaher Corp. is a global firm that designs, manufactures and markets professional, medical, industrial and commercial products and services. Company stocks trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DHR.

In her letter to Rales, Keene wrote that not only has the shed not been permitted by the town, but the addition of the shed to the property has resulted in more lot coverage than the town allows in the zone where the property is located. On top of that, the shed is located within the 50-foot setback from Peabody Drive, which also is a violation of local ordinances, the code enforcement officer told Rales.

“Please remove the shed immediately,” Keene wrote in the letter, underlining the last word of the sentence for emphasis. “Failure to comply may lead to legal action and penalties for each day the violation continues after notification.”

Keene said Tuesday that the penalty could vary from a minimum of $100 to a maximum of $2,500 a day, depending on what the town’s elected selectmen decide.

Keene said that she received notification on Monday, Nov. 14, that Rales has received the certified the letter she sent him on Oct. 28. She said no decision has been made about whether to impose penalties for the suspected violation at Rales’ property.

Keene told Rales that he may appeal the notice of violation within 30 days of the letter being sent.

Attempts this week to contact Rales have been unsuccessful. Rales is not listed in local phone directories, and a message left at a phone number listed for Rales in suburban Washington was not returned.

Rales bought the property from the estate of Susan Mary Alsop, the late Washington socialite, in 2007 for $5.5 million. After purchasing the property, Rales had Alsop’s former home razed and then built four buildings on the 4.4-acre parcel, including his 17,000 square-foot seasonal home, which contains 8,100 square feet of finished living space, according to the town’s online assessing database. Construction on the property was completed earlier this year.

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