7/13/09 – 4029 TV: Tony Alamo Has Long History Of Trouble, Strange Behavior

4029TV (Fort Smith, Arkansas)
July 13, 20009

Evangelist Has Long History Of Trouble, Strange Behavior

Tony Alamo’s trial will make nationwide headlines, but locally the eccentric evangelist has been front-page news for years.

From tax evasion to a cult-like compound in Crawford County to bizarre behavior when his wife died, Alamo’s escapades all started decades ago.

Tony Alamo is 74 years old and his real name is actually Bernie Lazar Hoffman. In 1975 he and his wife Susan established a religious compound in Crawford County. Seven years later Susan died, but Tony didn’t bury her. He kept her in a glass casket and said he would wait for her resurrection. After six months, he gave up.

Along with the compound, Alamo owned businesses in the area. He had several brushes with the law, and in 1994 bad business practices caught up with him, and he went to prison for tax evasion.

While Alamo was serving a six-year sentence on a tax evasion conviction, he continued to run the religious organization from behind bars.

In 1991, the Crawford County compound was abandoned. Followers set up camp in Foulk, Ark. That is where Alamo went when he was released from prison, it is where the law caught up with him once again.

In September 2008, federal agents swarmed Tony Alamo Ministries. Alamo was arrested and accused of taking young girls across state lines for sex.

Tony Alamo spoke out, calling CNN to give his opinions on polygamy and underage sex.

“I’m not the one that sets a time limit. When they reach the age of puberty, I wouldn’t recommend that any 8- or 10- year-old girl gets married. But in the event that it would be of the Lord, then I would say it would be all right, but I don’t do that, OK?”

His ideas and religious beliefs will now go head to head with federal law as a jury weighs the evidence on a man with a sordid past.

Alamo has pleaded not guilty to the federal charges against him.

His trial is expected to last two weeks.

Previous Stories:

* July 13, 2009: Potential Jurors Arrive For Alamo Trial
* July 10, 2009: Prosecutors: Alamo ‘Married’ Underage Girls
* July 7, 2009: Prosecutors Refuse To Name Alamo Informants
* July 1, 2009: Judge Grants Discovery In Alamo Ministry Lawsuit
* June 29, 2009: Prosecutors Refuse Pretrial Requests By Tony Alamo
* June 21, 2009: Defense Seeks Access To Alamo Evidence
* April 15, 2009: Judge Denies Alamo Request On Bail
* March 13, 2009: Alamo Follower Pleads Not Guilty To Federal Charge
* January 8, 2009: Tony Alamo Trial Delayed Until May
* January 1, 2009: Leaked Video Of Alamo Ministry Child On Internet
* December 19, 2008: Former Ministry Teen In Foster Care Until Birthday
* December 17, 2008: 4 Alamo Ministry Children To Remain With State
* November 24, 2008: 20 Alamo Compound Children To Stay In State Care
* November 18, 2008: DHS: 21 Children Seized From Alamo Group
* November 17, 2008: Custody Hearings Begin For Alamo Ministries Girls
* October 23, 2008: Arrest Warrant Issued For Employee Of Tony Alamo Ministries
* October 22, 2008: Judge Orders Evangelist Alamo Held Until Trial
* October 21, 2008: Alamo Seeks Search Warrant Material
* October 15, 2008: Hearings Delayed For Girls Taken From Alamo Site
* October 6, 2008: Tony Alamo Extradited To Arkansas
* September 28, 2008: Fouke Citizens Await Alamo Hearing
* September 27, 2008: Tony Alamo Extradited To Arkansas
* September 25, 2008: Tony Alamo Arrested In Arizona

In: 2009 - (Trial year)

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