NBCU Fined Only $250 Over ‘Tree-Gate’ as It Was a ‘First-Time Offense’

“Outdated laws limit penalties the city can issue,” writes L.A. City Controller Kenneth Mejia

Trimmed trees at NBCUniversal
Trimmed trees at NBCUniversal in Burbank (Photo courtesy of LA City Controller Kenneth Mejia)

NBCU has been fined a mere $250 in the tree-trimming scandal that’s been dubbed “Treegate.”

The media company didn’t get the required city permit to cut the ficus trees along Barham Boulevard in Burbank, California. Striking actors and writers shared their suspicions on social media that depriving picketers of shade during 90-degree weather was the only reason for the unscheduled trimming.

As this is a “first-time offense,” NBCU received a minimal fine, according to StreetsLA. L.A. City Controller Kenneth Mejia noted on Twitter, “Outdated laws limit penalties the City can issue.”

Added Mejia in his Twitter thread, “Our Office also recommends that the City update our laws regarding illegal tree trimmings, including updating fine amounts and penalties that reflect [number] of trees illegally trimmed, not just by incident as improper tree trimmings can cause irreversible damage to our communities.”

Usually, tree trimming is done by Los Angeles Department of Public Works’ Bureau of Street Services.

NBCU initially said that they were simply doing their “annual landscaping,” but later admitted that they had “created unintended challenges for demonstrators.”

The studio, which is being picketed along with Disney, Netflix, Amazon and Warner Bros., has since set up tents for the picketers.