NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A tree was cut down in a Metro park, and fingers are being pointed at a local developer.
News 2 received the tip Monday that a large, sugar maple tree had been chopped down in Cleveland Park.
The rumor was that a developer had cut down the tree so he could have unobstructed views of the Nashville skyline from a house he was building.
We reached out to the Metro Parks department, which said it first became aware of the incident on Monday.
However, Metro’s horticulturalist Randall Lantz received an email warning them that a tree might be cut down days before the incident took place.
The author, who wanted to remain anonymous said, “I live in the Cleveland Park area and overheard a builder state that he would be killing some trees located on the north side of Cleveland Park. Apparently the trees would be blocking his view from a new, three-story home he is building.”
News 2 found the person who wrote the email. They identified Tom Keesee as the builder they overheard. The author wanted to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation.
Keesee is building four new homes on a lot across the street from the tree that was cut down.
News 2 went to Keesee and told him he’s being accused of cutting down the tree. He denied any wrongdoing.
“I don’t know anything about it,” he told News 2. “I did not cut down that tree and I did not have anybody cut down the tree.”
After we left Keesee’s home, the councilman for Cleveland Park pulled up. Scott Davis told News 2 that Keesee had called him saying we had just left. Davis wanted to defend the developer.
“I am positive he didn’t do it,” said Davis. “Not because I saw him do it or didn’t do it, it’s just his character and just stuff he’s done for other people in this community.”
Councilmlan Davis said he had first became aware of the tree being cut down on Friday, but he didn’t call Metro Parks until Monday.
Ricky Wilmoth also reported to Metro Parks that the tree down had been cut down. He told News 2 he doesn’t believe Keesee or Davis.
“There’s no one else who would benefit from those trees being gone,” Wilmoth told News 2. “Even if they were to replant these trees would take decades to grow that big to add the same value they had before.”
Metro Parks is investigating but say they haven’t developed a suspect yet.
If caught, the person could face a felony vandalism charge. Parks officials would also assess the value of the tree and the person responsible could be fined.