2/1/13 – TG: Judge says Alamo’s wife must testify

Texarkana Gazette
February 1, 2013
By: Lynn LaRowe – Texarkana Gazette

Judge says Alamo’s wife must testify

The wife of imprisoned evangelist Tony Alamo must answer questions and turn over financial records in post-trial proceedings in a civil suit involving two men, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.

Tony Alamo, whose given name is Bernie LaZar Hoffman, owes Seth Calagna and Spencer Ondrisek $15 million each to satisfy a judgment in the case. The men, who were raised in Alamo Ministries, were each awarded $3 million in actual damages and $30 million in punitive damages by a jury in 2011.

An appellate court reduced the punitive damages to $12 million for each man and left the actual damages intact.

David Carter, a Texarkana lawyer who represents Ondrisek and Calagna, issued a subpoena in January for Sharon Alamo to appear for a deposition with financial records in hand to assist in identifying Tony Alamo’s assets.Tony Alamo’s assets could be seized with a court order to satisfy his debt to Calagna and Ondrisek.

Sharon Alamo’s lawyer, John Rogers of the Clayton, Mo., firm Rosenblum, Schwartz, Rogers & Glass, filed a motion on Sharon Alamo’s behalf in mid-January asking the court to toss out the subpoena. Rogers argued that the request for records was overly broad and that questioning Sharon Alamo, who is not a party to Ondrisek’s and Calagna’s case, is improper.

Rogers argued that the deposition request is meant to harass Sharon Alamo or allow Carter a second chance to quiz her for information he actually hopes will help shore up another civil case involving Alamo Ministries filed on behalf of some of polygamist Tony Alamo’s former wives.

Rogers further added that Sharon Alamo considers herself Tony Alamo’s spiritual wife, but is not legally wed to him.

Carter filed a response, which included a description of Sharon Alamo as, “…a key participant in defendant (Tony) Alamo’s scheme to defraud creditors and insulate himself from financial responsibilities.”

Bryant denied Rogers’ request to keep Carter from questioning Sharon Alamo.

“…Sharon Alamo considers herself to be the wife of Tony Alamo, holds church properties of the Tony Alamo Christian Ministries in her name, and has previously assisted in transferring title on some of the properties,” Bryant wrote.

“The court also finds the church members of the Tony Alamo Christian Ministries live communally and pool their resources. Therefore the court finds plaintiffs’ requests for documentation from Sharon Alamo are reasonable…”

Bryant noted that some of the requested material may be entitled to protection as confidential and outlined provisions for managing such information.

The jury in Ondrisek’s and Calagna’s case found Alamo guilty of battery, conspiracy and outrage.

John Kolbek, Alamo’s enforcer and co-defendant in the Ondrisek and Calagna case, never answered Ondrisek’s and Calagna’s complaint and was a fugitive when the suit was filed.

A $3 million default judgment was entered against Kolbek in 2009. Kolbek died in June 2011, while still a wanted man, on a farm in rural Kentucky. The judgment levied against Kolbek remains uncollected.

Carter alleges that after church properties were seized in the 1990s to satisfy judgments against Tony Alamo involving the abuse of church members, the group began a practice of placing properties and businesses in the names of loyal Alamo followers.

Carter argues that the church maintains stacks of “quitclaim” deeds in whose names properties are held. That allows the group to transfer ownership in the event a property-owning member falls from the group’s graces, Carter states.

Church members’ needs are provided with goods and services purchased from a bookkeeper account, Carter’s response states.

No salaries are paid, and any money earned by an individual member is turned over and deposited into the bookkeeper account. Members live on properties owned by other members and allegedly controlled by Tony Alamo.

Alamo followers continue to operate a ministry in Fouke, Ark., just outside of Texarkana, Ark., in Fort Smith, Ark., in Saugus, Calif., and in New York.

Members own properties and businesses in areas including Texas, California, Arkansas, New Jersey and New York.

A large number of the properties held in Alamo loyalist’s names are clustered together.

Multiple member-owned houses and mobile homes surround the group’s worship center in Fouke, for example.

Tony Alamo, 78, was convicted in the Texarkana division of the Western District of Arkansas by a jury in 2009 of all 10 counts listed in a federal indictment accusing him of bringing five women he wed as children across state lines for sex.

He is currently serving a 175-year prison term.

In: 2013, Breaking News

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One Post

  1. Dyann Says:

    Hahahahaha, stupid cultie Sharon.
    Justice for Seth and Spencer!

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