The last time you had to pay a fine for some kind of ordinance violation, there's a chance you muttered "horseshit" to yourself at least once. But if you did, you probably weren't muttering as literally as Bill Gates, or at least the person in charge of his Mallet Hill Trust fund, has occasion to after getting hit with $30,000 in fines for horse manure related infractions on his estate in Wellington, Florida.
Wellington is an equestrian community in south Florida, where the International Polo Club can be found, and back in 2013, Gates purchased a $9 million piece of property there under the name of the Mallet Hill Trust. In January of the following year, the trouble started, with his property earning citations from the community for such infractions as placing a manure disposal unit too close to a running canal, and for building a second unit without first seeking permission to replace the first one. It might sound silly to us, but the people in charge of enforcing the rules in Wellington aren't in a joking mood on the subject, with an estimated 100,000 pounds of the stuff being produced every year – and it needs to be disposed of properly or the nearby Everglades National Park could be compromised. This is especially true given the preponderance of other open waterways running near and through the property, which demonstrate why these regulations were instituted in the first place and why infractions are taken so seriously by the people in charge – a group which includes Steve Koch (no relation), the property's code compliance manager, who didn't even realize who he was citing for the infractions until much later.
Due to what appears to be a series of miscommunications, nobody told Bill Gates or anyone else in charge about the infractions, and so in the summer of 2014, fines began accruing at the rate of as much $250 a day per infraction. Something like that can add up quickly, and at one point, Gates' property had a debt of $147,000 on the books – but, luckily for him, that was before Wellington's customary 80% discount for residents of the village kicked in (the other half, ladies and gentlemen). Then came the settlement to the tune of the aforementioned thirty grand, which was only reached after an enterprising reporter found out it was Gates behind the property, and the story was made public. It took someone from the trust about a year to finally respond to the citations, with communication first opening between the trust and the village's code compliance manager late last year.
If you're worried about all this horse manure business getting Bill Gates' hands dirty, don't bother, because according to reports the Microsoft founder and world's richest man is unlikely to appear at any future hearing on the matter, nor is he likely to have to deal directly with the situation in any other way. When you have a net worth estimated at nearly $80 billion, you can afford to let other people handle even your most disgusting problems.