Unhappy resident attacks tree

On July 31, 2014, in Latest News, by The Somerville Times

By Jim Clark

Police were summoned to a Perkins St. location last Thursday on reports that a man was pulling branches off of a newly planted tree.

Upon arrival, officers were met by the reporting party who immediately directed them to the man who was allegedly trying to destroy the tree.

When questioned by the officers, the man, Siu Fai Ip, 61, reportedly told them that he did not want the tree in front of his house because it would cause water to get into his basement, police said.

When the officers advised Ip that he could not destroy the tree because he does not want it he reportedly responded by pointing to the remains of the damaged tree and said, “No tree.”

The officers advised Ip that they would be summoning him to court to answer for his actions in harming the tree and that he could cause no more injury to it he reportedly said to the, “I cut it down.”

The officers determined that they had no choice but to place Ip under arrest for destruction of property over $250.

The tree, which had recently been planted by the Department of Public Works, had a value of $800.

The reporting party supplied the officers with a photo showing Ip in the act of tearing down the branches. He described how he observed Ip as he jumped up to grab branches of the tree, according to police reports.


16 Responses to “Unhappy resident attacks tree”

  1. jake says:

    $800 for a tree and they are planting hundreds throughout the city???? Sounds excessive but I guess they need to find a new way to earn money at DPW since their overtime scam and metal processing side jobs were exposed. Maybe City Hall should check out the prices at Home Depot!

  2. Elaine says:

    and why do I think the “reporting party” was a yuppie hiding with his iphone taking pictures to rat out his neighbor. All he had to do was ask the guy why he wanted the tree down and not get the cops involved. I hate rats,

  3. philb says:

    Elaine, there are a number of things wrong with your line of thinking. It is generally not safe for citizens to act as police officers and confront criminals. And if he had asked the guy, the guy would have at best spewed the same nonsense he spewed to the police. What do you mean you hate rats, so if someone was being assaulted or a car was broken into, or public property is being damaged such as this, and a responsible citizen calls the police, that person is a rat? Please seek therapy, there seems to be misplaced aggression/resentment in your heart.

  4. pat says:

    I heard of another elderly citizen of Somerville that didn’t want a tree in front of her house and when she called the city they told her it was going there because she didn’t own the sidewalk. She then asked that why is then that when it snows, she has to shovel that sidewalk or she will get a fine. I think that is a fair question.

  5. Uncle Rocco says:

    The City is calling these $800 trees? The sweetgums that they have been putting in my neighborhood are probably about 4-5 years old and should have cost less than $300 per. Especially if it was a wholesale buy of over 500 units. So there is no way in Hades that those trees should be $800 a pop. So who scored the contract for this bamboozle, and who over at City Hall gave it to them?

  6. PixiePocahontas says:

    Those trees do not cost $800. I would challenge the city to produce the purchasing slip and name of vendor used, also how they related to the political entrenched circle which continues to avoid full disclosure of all transactions using taxpayer, state and federal funding.

    There are many overgrown trees in our neighborhoods which continue to be overgrown, ruining residents painted wooden fences from the sap and dead leaves. We were told ” no money in the budget to maintain trees”. That was several years ago, before 3 aldermen resigned.

    But they are only to happy to show up when hurricanes and other storms force uprooted trees to endanger our residents, their properties and cars. It doesn’t take 10 city workers to remove one fallen tree, four officers and a town manager. Then it’s the shell game of its on the city, no it’s on Nstar, no it’s on the city, no one stepping up to responsibility and payment. Well, if they want to play hardball, we can too– demand they repair whatever is broken or falling down. If they triple our taxes, we should at least get some service. Many of us never demanded anything except a snow plow–now it’s time to make them earn their jobs, beginning with certain layabout BOA.

  7. ritepride says:

    Taxes go up….then executive salaries should go down. Cut the CEO, BOA, and certain hack Dept. Heads in half. Eliminate all the “Communications” positions that are hidden in other city depts. Leave the REAL city worker positions that do the work alone.

  8. Green says:

    Tree + Sidewalk removal + digging the ditch + planting the tree + Planning and project management… Its probably $800 all said and done.

  9. Uncle Rocco says:


    The guy got charged based on the dollar value of the property that he damaged. If the guys lawyer takes this thing to court, the City is going to have to prove that the tree had a material value of $800. It all comes down to the tree. They can’t charge him for ‘planning’ costs. They could go by ‘replacement cost’. But then the City would have to prove why it costs $550 to put another $250 tree in a hole that has already been dug.

    So either the City needs to produce an invoice from the seller proving that the tree really cost $800, (in which case the taxpayer got screwed), or argue that it costs $500+ in DPW labor to stick another one back in the hole, (in which case the taxpayer got screwed), or they can get whacked for falsifying the value of the property.

  10. Green says:

    rocco, no issue with that – just saying that I wouldnt be shocked if the number was real..

  11. meme says:

    Of note on the cost, dont forget they are prob including the wage of the person that would have to do it. The minimum wage for a “LABORER: TREE REMOVER” is $54.10 per hour. Assume its the typical 2 workers watching 1 guy work, and you are around +$150 per hour in wages to dig a hole and fill it in. Go farther and guess that they are not picking the tree at the best value, but in some no bid or limited bid contract and you get a very costly tree install. But its just the city spending other peoples money, so who really cares about cost?

  12. philb says:

    By the way, trees *prevent* water from going into basements.

  13. insider says:

    All should take into consideration that trees planted years ago were not the correct species and grew roots outward instead of downward.

  14. ritepride says:

    All good guesses but the planting is done by the company bring in the trees, don’t worry any costs above the actual price of the tree and planting (which averages under 15 minutes per tree from the ones I have seen done) The DPW Commish will handle. After all when the feds come somebody has to take the wrap for the higher ups and with all the relatives on the payroll the DPW Commish owes big time..

  15. jj says:

    Maybe he is upset because it is one of the ‘sap’ trees that have been planted in my neighborhood. They are so bad that you cannot park under them or your entire car becomes a sticky mess. Even parking near them causes your car to be covered with sap. I think the city should be paying us for all the times we need to have the car washed, which sometimes doesn’t even get rid of it.

  16. steve says:

    ip is a slumlord.. look at the condition of the house…

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