Soylent CEO Charged Over 'Experimental Living Facility'
Rob Rhinehart's shipping container is hauled off an LA hilltop
By Luke Roney,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 31, 2016 4:52 PM CDT
This is Soylent.   (Soylent)

(Newser) – The man behind the liquid food substitute called Soylent is in trouble with the law over a shipping container he put up on a hilltop overlooking Los Angeles, the Guardian reports. Last week, prosecutors in Montecito Heights charged Rob Rhinehart, 27, with unpermitted construction and other violations in connection with the red shipping container, which was supposed to become an "experimental living facility," the Los Angeles Times reports. Instead, local residents say it became a neglected, graffiti-covered mess that attracted people looking to party. On the same day Rhinehart was charged, authorities hauled away the offending box, which had been a source of contention for the city and neighbors for months.

One neighbor likened the container's red color to a "middle finger," telling the Guardian, "It feels like an intruder." Rhinehart, though, says he's the one getting the unfair treatment. "I have spent thousands improving the surroundings," he tells the Guardian, adding, “My home was graffitied and the windows were smashed. That’s my fault? Where are the police?" He bought the vacant lot on which it was placed in January. Rhinehart's company is valued at more than $100 million, its product especially popular with tech workers in Silicon Valley. (Still, one reviewer found Soylent to be "joyless.")