An auction tale stranger than fiction. This article makes for interesting reading. Although not applicable in the UK it just shows how far people will go to not pay tax.


The first auction 13 months ago of the properties seized from Ed and Elaine Brown failed to field any bidders.   The main reason for this is because in part potential buyers couldn’t tour the 100 acres around the fortress-like home in Plainfield as it might be booby-trapped. 

It remains to be seen whether prospective bidders will be allowed around the home beforehand. Concerns that booby traps and explosives may be buried on the densely wooded property kept it off-limits. Marshals also were concerned that Brown sympathisers would flock to the property if it’s showcased.

During his trial in 2009, Ed Brown testified that explosives in the woods were there to scare intruders, not hurt them. However in a radio interview during the standoff, he said if authorities came to kill or arrest him, “the chief of police in this town, the sheriff, the sheriff himself will die. This is war now, folks.”

The towns of Plainfield and Lebanon, where Elaine Brown’s former dental office is located, are owed hundreds of thousands of dollars in back taxes and interest.

Federal officials are trying once more to sell properties formerly owned by a pair of tax militants that include this 100-acre site.

The Browns are now in their 70s. They were sentenced to five years in prison for tax evasion and staged a nine-month standoff in 2007 with U.S. marshals who came to take them into custody.

Both are serving sentences of more than 30 years in prison.

The conditions, laid out in a recent court order, say successful bidders will have 45 days to arrange financing this time, up from seven. The minimum bids for both properties have been reduced by half to $125,000 for the compound and $250,000 for the office.Attorney Shawn Tanguay represents Lebanon, which is owed more than $324,000 in back taxes and interest. He said “there’s cause for optimism” about the likely success of a second auction. “They’ve cleaned up the Lebanon property quite a bit.”

In Plainfield, Town Manager Steve Halleran said the $196,000 in back taxes and interest amounts to half the delinquent taxes owed to the town of about 2,400 people. Plainfield’s annual budget is about $2 million.

A second auction is planned for October.


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