French highest court orders British millionaire to demolish $70 million mansion he built in France

A night-time view of Patrick Diter's chateau in the south of France. Photo: Getty Image via Dailymail
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A British millionaire is devastated after the highest court in France ordered him to demolish a beautiful $70 million mansion that he built in France.

Patrick Diter had been fighting the case for 15 years, but the highest French appellate court made its final decision during a ruling in December.

Diter now has only 18 months to level the 32,000-square-foot home according to court ruling.

If the mansion is not demolished by June 2022, Diter will rack up charges of $600 per day or a total of $220,000 a year. according to the Daily Beast.

“Nobody has violated Patrick Diter’s human rights. His rights have been taken into account every step of the way during this legal journey,” a local official said.

The property mogul invested over $68 million from 2005 to 2009 to build the Italianate palace, dubbed ‘Chateau Diter’, without first obtaining planning permission to build it on the site, according to the Daily Mail.

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Trouble started when a group of disgruntled neighbors, led by British millionaires Stephen and Caroline Butt took Diter to court, demanding the ‘building frenzy had to stop’.

An appeal court ruled in 2015 that the chateau must be demolished, prompting Diter to take the case to the highest court. Against his wish, the highest judicial court upheld the lower court ruling and ordered the building demolished, and the countryside restored to its original state.

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For more than a decade, the iconic 18-bedroom property has been used for various purposes, with rates ranging from $300 to more than $1,000 a night, according to the report. The house has been a TV set, a wedding venue and a vacation spot. Eight of the 18 bedroom suites have a private garden or terrace, and one apparently has a painted fresco ceiling.

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One rental listing of the property shows it has two helipads, a salt water swimming pool, a medieval cloister, a bell tower and a greenhouse, including 17 acres of gardens, vineyards, olive groves and lily ponds.

Another rental listing of the property shows it is decorated with chandeliers, 15th-century fireplaces and fresco paintings. There is also a reception room, a library, a screening room, lounges, dining rooms, a steam room, a staff kitchen and a cellar with a wine-tasting room.

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Diter allegedly had a building permit — a verbal one from the mayor’s office. But he reportedly began developing the property before receiving an official paper permit. And the permit supposedly didn’t cover all the major work he did, except a “small extension” of the original 2,000-square-foot farmhouse on the property, according to AirMail.

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Diter also paved a 2,000-foot driveway through environmentally protected lands. Now, it inadvertently funnels rainwater to the outskirts of the town, causing flooding, according to AirMail.

But the major sticking point? Loud parties. Diter’s neighbors claim that the noise has made life in their own French chateaus unbearable, and they have been major players in the campaign to pull down the house.

Diter has still not given up hope of keeping his multi-million dollar mansion and has even hinted he might take his case to the European Court of Human Rights, according to AirMail.