1/30/10 – TG: Woman wants Alamo’s property seized. Susan Alamo’s daughter sues stepfather in attempt to gain judgment in older lawsuit

Texarkana Gazette
January 30, 2010
By: Lynn LaRowe

Woman wants property seized
Susan Alamo’s daughter sues stepfather in attempt to gain judgment in older lawsuit

The daughter of Tony Alamo’s deceased wife, Susan Alamo, wants Fort Smith property seized to satisfy a $100,000 judgment awarded to her in a lawsuit concerning her mother’s missing casket.

The suit has now become an issue in Alamo’s criminal case and appeal.

Christhiaon Coie was awarded the sum in 1995 at the end of civil suit filed to compel Alamo to produce Susan Alamo’s body. Her coffin had been removed from a heart-shaped mausoleum on Alamo-controlled property in Crawford County, Ark.

Susan Alamo died in 1982.

Following her death, Alamo had her casket placed in the dining room of his residence, and followers prayed around it 24 hours a day because Alamo promised them she would be resurrected if they did.

When Susan Alamo didn’t rise, he had her entombed in the mausoleum.

Her corpse was hijacked Feb. 16, 1991, despite a restraining order signed the day before prohibiting removal.

The suit Coie filed in 1995 asked not only that the body be produced so that it could be properly buried but also for “damages and costs for the tort of outrage.”

In his 1995 opinion, Chancery Judge Jim Spears wrote that Coie is “owed the courtesy of information concerning her mother’s body.”

“This is something that is necessary in the course of human life,” Spears wrote. “A denial of this is outrageous conduct that any person knows would cause much grief and anguish to a child.”

Alamo was serving time in federal prison for tax evasion when the suit was filed. Susan Alamo’s remains were handed over before his release in 1998 but the $100,000 judgment has never been paid.

“Testimony during the trial (in 1994 for tax evasion) revealed that the church had a total income of $9 million during the three years when he paid no taxes,” Coie’s complaint states.

On Sept. 23, 2009, Coie filed a complaint in Sebastian County seeking property seizures, which could be sold to pay Coie. The defendants were served notice of the suit Jan. 21.

The lawsuit names Tony Alamo, Angela Morales, Jim Meyers and David and Nina Romero as defendants and targets property at 301 S. 10th St., Fort Smith, Ark., also known as lots 1-4, block 562, reserve addition to the city of Fort Smith, for seizure.

Morales was identified as a wife of Alamo’s by witnesses at his criminal trial in July 2009 in Texarkana. Morales and the others named in the suit are named on property titles connected to Alamo Christian Ministries.

“Defendant Alamo routinely acquired properties in the names of his followers to shield it … ,” the complaint states.

Alamo is being held in the Federal Transfer Center in Oklahoma City awaiting assignment to a unit within the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

U.S. District Judge Harry Barnes sentenced Alamo, whose given name is Bernie LaZar Hoffman, to serve 175 years after a jury convicted him of all 10 counts listed in an indictment accusing him of bringing young girls across state lines for sex.

Earlier this month Alamo was ordered to pay each of the five Jane Does listed in his criminal case $500,000 each. Alamo was also ordered to pay a $250,000 fine and $850 in court costs.

At the close of the restitution hearing, Alamo’s defense asked for and was granted a stay in payment while Alamo’s case is appealed.

The government didn’t object at that time but later filed a request to have Alamo pay immediately or pay and have the money held in the federal court’s registry.

Alamo’s lawyers, Don Ervin of Houston and John Wesley Hall of Little Rock, filed a response Thursday to the government’s request.

In it, they mention Coie’s Sebastian County suit that seeks the $100,000 judgment.

“Does it have precedence over this order since it was filed first? Or does it?,” the defense response states. “Coie will have to determine whether that property can even be levied on, and the restitution victims are in the same position.”

The response notes that Coie may be entitled to the $100,000 and 15 years of interest at 10 percent.

The response argues that forcing liquidation of real estate could leave the government in a quandary if Alamo wins on appeal.

“Suppose the government succeeds in collecting assets and selling them, paying the money to the alleged victims, and then the judgment is reversed,” the defense response states. “If a piece of property worth $100,000 was sold, say, for $50,000 at a courthouse steps sale, and the sale becomes wrongful, the alleged victims would have collected $50,000, but the U.S. government would owe $100,000 plus interest.”

The defense response states Alamo will agree to “reasonable limits on him not transferring property, since there is a great dispute as to what is his personal property and what is not.”

“The court cannot enjoin others without a notice, hearing, and due process of law,” the defense wrote. “Defendant does not have the personal assets to post the money with the clerk or a bond.”

Barnes has yet to make a ruling on the payment issue in Alamo’s criminal case. Coie’s civil suit seeking property seizures is pending in Sebastian County Circuit Court.

In: 2010

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