Tech tycoon goes to war with Park City neighbors as he launches blitz of lawsuits over a wall he argues is on his turf as well as claiming their Bernese Mountain dogs are out of control

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Written By Maya Cantina

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  • Cloudflare founder Matthew Prince filed the suits against his future neighbors
  • He claims a wall from their home crosses the property line into the lot he bought
  • It’s the second suit from the billionaire against the couple in a matter of weeks
  • He previously sued last month citing the ‘menacing’ behavior of their two dogs

A prominent tech billionaire has filed a second suit against critics of his proposed mega-mansion in suburban Utah.

Matthew Prince, the 49-year-old cofounder of the tech security firm Cloudflare, filed the suit against his future neighbors in Park City Friday, claiming a rock wall coming from their home crosses the property line into the vacant lot he bought last March.

The wall belongs to Eric and Susan Hermann, the 71-year-old and 68-year-old owners of the $11.5million mansion. The pair have emerged as two of Prince’s fiercest adversaries in an ongoing property fight, filing an appeal this past month after Prince received approval.

They argue his proposal violates zoning laws – a declaration eight others in the neighborhood, including some friends, have rallied behind. They also say he purposely bought a second patch of land after the first suit so he could file a second.

Within days, Prince filed suit against the couple over the behavior of their Bernese Mountain dogs, calling them ‘menacing.’ The owners said they had never received such a complaint prior, and claim they are now being ‘harassed’ with the second suit.

Cloudfare founder Matthew Prince, seen here with wife Tatiana, filed the suit against his future neighbors in Park City Friday, claiming a rock wall coming from his future neighbors’ home crosses a property line into a vacant lot he bought last March

Neighbors Eric Hermann and Susan Fredston-Hermann argue his proposal violates zoning laws - a declaration eight others in the neighborhood have rallied behind. They also say he purposely bought a second patch of land after the first suit so he could file a second

Neighbors Eric Hermann and Susan Fredston-Hermann argue his proposal violates zoning laws – a declaration eight others in the neighborhood have rallied behind. They also say he purposely bought a second patch of land after the first suit so he could file a second

Attorney Bruce Baird, the lawyer representing Prince, called the rock wall lawsuit a ‘simple property dispute’. 

In an interview back in March, Prince – who in 2017 wed ex-banker Tatiana Prince – conceded the couple’s opposition was a factor in his decision to file the lawsuit over their dogs.  

Claiming the canines are often unleashed and uncontrolled, the Cloudflare kingpin who’s worth a reported $3.4 billion appeared to make light of the legal fight.

‘I think it’s pretty reasonable that at some point you say enough is enough. Especially if they’re kind of suing you, or at least appealing your ability to build a house,’ he told The Daily Beast, referring to the two dogs, Sasha and Mocha.

‘This is essentially just two rich people fighting with each other, which is silly, but here we are,’ he added, now claiming a wall illegally encroaches on his property.

He and his wife also own the Park Record, the city’s premiere news publication.

Two years ago, they started the Utah-based LLC Valley Creek Family Farm – not long after relocating to Park City during the pandemic after fleeing the Bay Area.

In February, the Park City Planning Commission gave preliminary approval to the pair’s plans to raze two houses on the hill where the Hermanns live to make way their new home, under the pretense they be subject to a raft of conditions and a design review. 

The conditions include that the home be limited to under 7,500 square feet, as well as restrictions on lighting to limit the impact on neighbors.

The wall belongs to  the 71-year-old and 68-year-old Hermanns, who also own this $11.5million mansion. The pair have thus emerged as two of Prince's fiercest adversaries in an ongoing property fight, filing an appeal this past month after Prince received approval to break ground

The wall belongs to  the 71-year-old and 68-year-old Hermanns, who also own this $11.5million mansion. The pair have thus emerged as two of Prince’s fiercest adversaries in an ongoing property fight, filing an appeal this past month after Prince received approval to break ground

Within days, Prince filed suit against the couple over the behavior of their Bernese Mountain dogs, calling them 'menacing.' The animals are seen here. The owners said they had never received such a complaint prior to the appeal, and claim they are now being harassed by the billionaire couple

Within days, Prince filed suit against the couple over the behavior of their Bernese Mountain dogs, calling them ‘menacing.’ The animals are seen here. The owners said they had never received such a complaint prior to the appeal, and claim they are now being harassed by the billionaire couple

The commission approved the proposed property by a narrow vote of 4-3, 

The Hermanns, however, were not convinced  – filing an appeal March 1 seeking to reverse approval of the Prince’s home plans.

The couple, who live right next door, say the project isn’t in line with local development rules, and the planning commission failed to provide ample consideration for the impacts the home will have, by not properly enforcing the city’s development code.

Seemingly in response to this move, the billionaire Princes proceeded to get their own lawyers involved – suing the senior couple over their ‘menacing’ dogs.

Seeking damages for trespassing, private nuisance, and violation of a trail easement. the complaint claims the dogs, each weighing over 100 pounds, have aggressively chased and harassed those nearby, and alleges the Hermanns often walk the dogs unleashed on the trail that runs along the perimeter of the Prince property.

That, the couple claims, comes in direct violation of Park City code –  with the complaint also calling the Hermanns ‘elderly and frail,’ claiming they are not physically capable of controlling the dogs. 

A friend of the Hermanns who is familiar with the animals said those claims are bogus – calling the couple far from frail.

‘I’ve known the Hermann’s[sic] for most of my life and can confidently say that they are anything but ‘frail’,’ Park City resident Sam Owen wrote in a reply to an Instagram post sharing recent town news.

Prince claims the rock wall (circled) crosses the property line between the lot he bought a few weeks ago and the lot next door. The Hermanns say he purposely bought the lot a few weeks ago out of spite

Prince claims the rock wall (circled) crosses the property line between the lot he bought a few weeks ago and the lot next door. The Hermanns say he purposely bought the lot a few weeks ago out of spite

‘In fact they are two of the most active people, anyone who actually knows them would say the same. 

‘I’ve known Sasha and Mocha since they were puppies,’ she went on, before honing in on the ‘menacing’ claims.

‘They are the most friendly and welcoming dogs to everyone they meet,’ she said. ‘Neither are aggressive in any way.’

The Hermanns, meanwhile, told KPCW they have never received a complaint about their dogs before, with Eric sending another statement to the station Friday after being hit with the second suit.

In it, he laid out the recent sequence of events, and revealed how cameras were installed along the trail  after the first legal complaint was filed.

He also revealed that the property dispute involving the second suit stems from a second purchase of land right next door – a multimillion dollar move he said was made 

‘Last month, we and eight co-appellants filed an appeal against the approval of Matthew Prince’s massive ‘mansion’ in Old Town,’ he recalled. 

The Cloudflare kingpin - who's worth a reported $3.4billlion - moved to Park City from the Bay Area after the pandemic

The Cloudflare kingpin – who’s worth a reported $3.4billlion – moved to Park City from the Bay Area after the pandemic

He wed his wife in 2017, with the pair since purchasing local publication the Park Record. The neighborhood appeal is set for review by Park City¿s three member appeal panel on April 30, after which the matter will be settled

He wed his wife in 2017, with the pair since purchasing local publication the Park Record. The neighborhood appeal is set for review by Park City’s three member appeal panel on April 30, after which the matter will be settled

‘Within days, [Prince] filed a civil complaint against our dogs and installed video cameras on the easement across his property to the trail system. 

‘Now, he has just purchased a multi-million dollar vacant lot next to us and today filed (no joke) a civil complaint about a rock wall which allegedly encroaches on his new property by several inches for maybe 6 feet. 

‘The wall has not been touched since we have owned the property and we had no idea until today about a possible multi-inch encroachment,’ he said

‘Does anyone see a connection between this and the appeal?,’ he went on to ask adding how he and his wife ‘have lived in peace with [their] neighbors since we purchased [their] home in 2006’. 

Adding: ‘The level of harassment we are now experiencing is astonishing.’

When asked about to dueling lawsuits, he maintained both were an act of retaliation, as he and the eight other Old Town neighbors continue to appeal the construction plans.

The neighborhood appeal is set for review by Park City’s three member appeal panel on April 30, after which the matter will be settled one way or another.

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