The owner of a Georgetown mansion once occupied by former first lady Jackie Kennedy was fined more than $50,000 after removing one magnolia tree from the property and trimming another.
David Hudgens, founder and chief executive of concrete company Accu-Crete, purchased the house at 3017 N St. NW last year for $6.5 million. Kennedy briefly owned the property after her husband’s assassination, and the home was later purchased by socialite Yolande Betbeze Fox, who lived there for decades.
After Hudgens, who also owns two other houses on the street, cut down a magnolia in the front yard and trimmed branches off another, he was chided in a resolution by the local Advisory Neighborhood Commission, which consists of elected representatives that advise District government leaders.
He also was labeled a “tree killer” in a Halloween display that a neighbor erected.
Terry Owens, a spokesman for the D.C. Department of Transportation, said Hudgens was fined $53,611.20 for magnolias that were “pruned excessively,” including one that was removed. Such fines are determined by a tree’s circumference, Owens said, adding that one tree was 101 inches in circumference and the other was 78 inches.
“Substantial fines can accrue quite quickly,” Owens said in an email.
Hudgens, who lives in a home next door, didn’t reply to requests for comment.
During an interview on Halloween, he said he helped to care for Fox, his neighbor, in her final days and helped care for the trees at his own expense in the last decade of her life.
He also said unchecked root growth had compromised retaining walls along the front of the property.
“I’ve done nothing with these trees without the advice of multiple arborists,” he said at the time.
Jim Wilcox, an ANC commissioner for the area, said in an email that he was “very supportive of a fine in this case.”
“The excessive ‘trimming’ . . . was outrageous and unacceptable,” he said.