Fresh off receiving a $300,000 settlement for the unauthorized removal of 6 oak trees in the city right-of-way from Ali Dhanani and Haza Foods, owner of the Wendy’s franchise at the corner of Kirby Dr. and North Blvd., the city of Houston’s legal staff has turned its attention to 2 other oak-tree-hacking incidents at neighboring Burger Kings — one a couple blocks to the south at 5115 Kirby Dr. at the corner of South Blvd., and the other at 2116 W. Holcombe Blvd. at Main St., next to the Medical Center. At each location, according to a report from the Chronicle‘s Mike Morris, landscapers pruned an oak tree on surrounding public property excessively, making it “likely to die.”
Both Burger Kings, it turns out, are owned by Dhanani’s brother, Shoukat Dhanani, whose company, Houston Foods, happens to be the second-largest Burger King franchisee in the country. (And with a just-announced purchase, his Dhanani Group is about to double the number of U.S. Burger Kings it owns, to more than 450.) But this latest scuffle with the city is not Shoukat Dhanani’s first experience with aggressive limb-cutting of city-owned oaks. Two and a half years ago, Swamplot readers reported on the mysterious beheadings of oak trees surrounding 2 other Burger Kings, both of which also happen to be owned by Houston Foods.
Photos of the crape-myrtle-style “topping” of street-side oak trees surrounding the Burger King at 2803 Yale St., adjacent to the 610 North Loop feeder road (shown at top), were sent to Swamplot and published in May of 2012. Shortly thereafter, a reader sent images of the Burger King at 3730 Scott St. (below), directly across from UH’s football stadium, showing similar oak butcherings.
At least some of the trees shown cut down to tall stumps in the 2012 photos at that location appear to have since grown back leaves and branches.
- Messing with city’s trees can be expensive [Houston Chronicle ($)]
- Previously on Swamplot: City Nets $300K Settlement for Late-Night Kirby Dr. Wendy’s Oak-Axing Incident; The Burger King Live Oak Amputation Mystery Deepens; Mysterious Oak Beheadings at the Yale and 610 Burger King
Photos of cut trees at 2803 Yale St. (top 2) and 3730 Scott St. (bottom), 2012: Swamplot inbox