WHITEFISH -- A reclusive millionaire known for having built a mansion on Flathead Lake's Cromwell Island was sentenced Wednesday for violently groping a female paramedic aboard his private jet.
Robert M. Lee, 84, who lives full time in Reno, Nev., assaulted a paramedic-respiratory specialist in September 2010 while traveling to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., on his private airplane. He was charged with one count of misdemeanor assault last June and pleaded guilty to the offense in July.
On Wednesday morning in federal court in Minneapolis, Minn., U.S. Chief Magistrate Judge Arthur J. Boylan sentenced Lee to 180 days of probation, including 30 days of home confinement. He also ordered Lee to perform 60 hours of community service at a Nevada humane society, pay a $5,000 fine, and provide the victim $431.25 in restitution along with a letter of apology. In imposing the sentence, Boylan called Lee's behavior "arrogant and offensive."
The maximum penalty for a conviction on the assault charge is six months behind bars. The case was brought in federal court because the offense occurred while the aircraft was in flight.
Lee gained local notoriety in the mid-1990s by building a $25 million mansion on Cromwell Island, which he also owns. A sportsman and outfitter, Lee made his initial fortune developing planned communities on properties owned by his family in Long Island, N.Y.
He has historically eschewed public attention, conducting his affairs in private and granting exclusive access only to his island home. Lee has purchased several pieces of property in the Flathead Lake area, including Cromwell Island, which at 342 acres is the second-largest island on the lake. It is located on the west shore, near the town of Dayton.
He also owns homes in New York, Reno, Nev., Ennis and Dayton.
According to charging papers filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura M. Provinzino, the assault occurred while Lee was being ferried on his private Gulfstream jet from Show Low, Ariz., to the hospital in Rochester, Minn.
Two women accompanied Lee on the flight and are identified in court records only as a paramedic and respiratory therapist with the initials "M.L." and a registered nurse with the initials "M.D." Lee was under the care of the women following an emergency room visit, for which the precise reasons are unknown.