David Lee Hoffman fined $200k

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David Lee Hoffman fined $200k

Postby bearsbearsbears » Jul 11th, '12, 18:12

Get out your wallets!

Looks like David Lee Hoffman may need to sell his aged tea collection to pay a $200,000 fine to Marin County for all the unpermitted buildings on his residential property.

Hoffman is known to many as a pioneer in China-US tea importation. He is perhaps better known amongst we teachatters for the documentary All in this Tea, where he does not bargain with tea farmers, doesn't speak Chinese despite forty years of operating as a tea importer in China, and makes the claim he can smell pesticides on dry tea leaves in a single whiff.

His many home improvements were red flagged for years as he snubbed the county's permitting process and ignored the mounting fines. He has a petition on his website to save the property, which has such improvements as a moat with a concrete boat fed by well water, a vermicompost building, a bell tower, and--of course--his tea "caves."

The fine is due soon, so maybe we'll see some eBay listings of the stuff he has sitting in his storage. Otherwise, the county will order the demolition of all the unpermitted structures on the property.

/end snark :mrgreen:

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Re: David Lee Hoffman fined $200k

Postby shah82 » Jul 11th, '12, 18:48

No pity for either.

Marin County is horrible about building permits, NIMBY in extremis.

Hoffman sounds like he just wanted some fairy tale house, though, and not the apartments and workplaces Marin County needs. Even so, Hoffman at least has some creative crazy going, and there's a teensy bit of value.

There's also a long running battle between Marin County (I think), and George Lucas over Lucas' desire to build work and home space for his workers and himself. It's entirely about making the entire dang county an exclusive Stepford retreat.

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Re: David Lee Hoffman fined $200k

Postby Drax » Jul 11th, '12, 18:55

Wow. I mean, wow. I'm at a loss for words.

Shah's "creative crazy" term seems to fit the pretty well!

He had 369 signatures when I looked... hmm, well either way, I'll be happy to help out if he has to go the eBay route.

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Re: David Lee Hoffman fined $200k

Postby tst » Jul 11th, '12, 22:39

shah82 wrote:No pity for either.

Marin County is horrible about building permits, NIMBY in extremis.

Hoffman sounds like he just wanted some fairy tale house, though, and not the apartments and workplaces Marin County needs. Even so, Hoffman at least has some creative crazy going, and there's a teensy bit of value.

There's also a long running battle between Marin County (I think), and George Lucas over Lucas' desire to build work and home space for his workers and himself. It's entirely about making the entire dang county an exclusive Stepford retreat.


Last I heard, George Lucas was considering changing his plans from opening his spectacular studio to building high-density housing to "stick it" to the uppity ups in Marin.

:lol:

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Re: David Lee Hoffman fined $200k

Postby Poohblah » Jul 11th, '12, 23:05

I have sympathy for David Lee Hoffman, and I feel that he should be able to do as he pleases with his house, provided that there is some sort of legal mechanism that holds him liable for any, erm, compost that ends up downstream or downwind. I do not have sympathy for George Lucas, especially after episodes 1, 2, 3, blu-ray edits, and 3D releases.

These are simply my opinions based on my knowledge of the situation. I think Hoffman is crazy, but I also think that we need crazy people to shake the rafters of the stuffy edifices of society, if you will catch my drift.

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Re: David Lee Hoffman fined $200k

Postby MarshalN » Jul 11th, '12, 23:12

Well, crazy but without bothering the neighbours. I'm not so sure if his house (and the constant construction) really fills that.

More on topic though - looks bone dry there, and his "caves" let in light and air. No wonder his teas suck.

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Re: David Lee Hoffman fined $200k

Postby tst » Jul 11th, '12, 23:36

Do his teas suck?

I've personally never ordered from him, though I've come close a couple of times. If I remember correctly, I believe the cave shown on the documentary seemed more like a real cave with a large door to keep the teas cool and dark inside. I don't really remember though ...

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Re: David Lee Hoffman fined $200k

Postby TIM » Jul 11th, '12, 23:42

tst wrote:Do his teas suck?

I've personally never ordered from him, though I've come close a couple of times. If I remember correctly, I believe the cave shown on the documentary seemed more like a real cave with a large door to keep the teas cool and dark inside. I don't really remember though ...


If you like tea with mold

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Re: David Lee Hoffman fined $200k

Postby Tead Off » Jul 11th, '12, 23:56

I know this guy since mid 70's. He already owned the property (don't know when he bought it) which is in a very secluded area of Marin County that has always been known as sort of a hippie enclave. Back then, it was the boonies. Now, it's viewed as prime bedroom territory as Lucas' properties are. I'm not defending his illegal actions as he's always been his 'own man' but don't character assassinate him if you haven't even met the guy. Opinions are sort a like...uh, you know what.

Never ordered his teas and know nothing about them.

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Re: David Lee Hoffman fined $200k

Postby MarshalN » Jul 12th, '12, 01:55

Tead Off wrote:I know this guy since mid 70's. He already owned the property (don't know when he bought it) which is in a very secluded area of Marin County that has always been known as sort of a hippie enclave. Back then, it was the boonies. Now, it's viewed as prime bedroom territory as Lucas' properties are. I'm not defending his illegal actions as he's always been his 'own man' but don't character assassinate him if you haven't even met the guy. Opinions are sort a like...uh, you know what.

Never ordered his teas and know nothing about them.


I don't know him, but the impression from his film is that he's a bit of a "I'm a white guy who knows more than you natives know about tea", with all that connotation. I've tried a few of his teas that I received as samples from friends, and I have to say they are uniformly unimpressive, to say the least.

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Re: David Lee Hoffman fined $200k

Postby TwoDog2 » Jul 12th, '12, 03:45

bearsbearsbears wrote:doesn't speak Chinese despite forty years of operating as a tea importer in China


Haha, Bears, this has always stuck in my craw about this guy. If you really plan on importing quality Chinese tea and you are some random white guy, not having solid Mandarin is not an option. The business culture of China is complex, and many a non-Chinese investor/businessman/speculator has left the country getting duped and taken for a fool. I can not imagine he could navigate something as deep and subjective as tea with any sort of accuracy without honest connections with the people who are growing and producing.

MarshalN wrote: he's a bit of a "I'm a white guy who knows more than you natives know about tea"


and what MarshalN wrote dovetails with the above comment. You get the sense he feels like he is "above the locals", which always pissed me off too.

/hate

Those annoyances aside, I have never tried his teas. I am afraid it would be tough to give him an honest chance, as the impression I have gotten so far is awful. Somebody slip some into my gaiwan sometime and don't tell me the source.

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Re: David Lee Hoffman fined $200k

Postby Tead Off » Jul 12th, '12, 10:02

MarshalN wrote:
Tead Off wrote:I know this guy since mid 70's. He already owned the property (don't know when he bought it) which is in a very secluded area of Marin County that has always been known as sort of a hippie enclave. Back then, it was the boonies. Now, it's viewed as prime bedroom territory as Lucas' properties are. I'm not defending his illegal actions as he's always been his 'own man' but don't character assassinate him if you haven't even met the guy. Opinions are sort a like...uh, you know what.

Never ordered his teas and know nothing about them.


I don't know him, but the impression from his film is that he's a bit of a "I'm a white guy who knows more than you natives know about tea", with all that connotation. I've tried a few of his teas that I received as samples from friends, and I have to say they are uniformly unimpressive, to say the least.

I've met many Chinese who also fit this description. :D In fact, way more.

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Re: David Lee Hoffman fined $200k

Postby puerhking » Jul 12th, '12, 11:22

Don't know much about him other than his movie, but I have to say that his additions look uniformly horrible.

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Re: David Lee Hoffman fined $200k

Postby tenuki » Jul 12th, '12, 13:04

I find a lot of these comments unnecessarily snarky, hateful and judgmental. I have to ask, why all the negative energy?

Getting a court order to raze and vacate your property of 40 years is not something I would wish on anyone, even if they are a bit crazy and very different from me.

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Re: David Lee Hoffman fined $200k

Postby Chip » Jul 12th, '12, 13:15

Can anyone who has a "TeaCave" be all that bad? :mrgreen:

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