New York — A onetime contestant on the TV reality show Top Chef has been arrested on charges he poisoned his Brooklyn neighbour's giant maple tree that's now in danger of dying.
Prosecutors say Adam Harvey is due in court on Friday after allegedly drilling holes into the trunk of the 60-year-old tree and filling them with herbicide.
The Daily News reported the 33-year-old New York restaurateur claimed the majestic silver maple blocked sunlight from the solar panels on his home in the Windsor Terrace neighbourhood.
Harvey was arrested in May after neighbours told police that they photographed him drilling 11 holes into the tree trunk on 30 April, the newspaper said.
Video footage also shows him taking off a mask and gloves, near a jug they believe contained the herbicide. Half of the leaves have wilted on the tree that belongs to his nextdoor neighbour, a retired schoolteacher who has lived on Seeley Street for more than 20 years, enjoying squirrels, birds and other animals that scampered around the maple.
Harvey is charged with criminal mischief and criminal trespass.
The chef, who owns the Bar Salumi restaurant in Brooklyn's Gowanus neighbourhood, has declined to comment.
A judge also issued an order of protection against Harvey, barring him from going near the tree's owner, who requested that her name not be used.
Harvey and his wife bought their row house last summer but have not yet moved in while it's being renovated.
It wasn't his first run-in with the couple's new neighbours.
The News said that after acquiring the home, Harvey contacted the tree owner saying it created too much shade for his roof solar panel and should be cut down. She disagreed, so he sent in a crew that sawed off some large limbs, the newspaper reported.
Adam appeared on the 12th season of Top Chef. He was eliminated in the eighth episode of the season.
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