Soylent CEO escapes jail time in plea deal over shipping container home

The CEO of meal replacement firm Soylent will settle a case over a bright red shipping container home he built on a Montecito Heights hilltop.

Robert Rhinehart pleaded no contest Monday in the case, which was brought against him last year by city prosecutors, who alleged he’d skirted permitting procedures in constructing the property.

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In pleading out, Rhinehart skirted what could have been a two-year jail sentence had the case gone to trial, the Los Angeles Times reported. Now, he’ll face penalties only if he commits additional code violations in the next 12 months.

He previously said he wanted to “experiment in sustainable living” through life in the shipping container.

“This case arose from a forward-thinking urban experiment,” Rhinehart’s attorney, Richard Kaplan, said in a statement following the hearing.

Rhinehart bought the 8,400-square-foot parcel, known as “Flat Top,” for $21,300 at an auction in December 2015. [LAT]Cathaleen Chen