2/6/13 – TG – Properties sought to meet $30M judgment. Move could end Alamo operations in Fort Smith, Ark.

Texarkana Gazette
February 6, 2013
By: Lynn LaRowe – Texarkana Gazette

Properties sought to meet $30M judgment
Move could end Alamo operations in Fort Smith, Ark.

Seizure of six Alamo Ministry properties in Fort Smith, Ark., is being sought to satisfy a $30 million judgment in a civil case decided in favor of two former members and against Tony Alamo.

“We have uncovered a lot of information about the Alamo properties in the past year and a half,” said Texarkana lawyer David Carter, who represents Seth Calagna and Spencer Ondrisek.

“If the court orders that these properties be sold, it will effectively kill Alamo’s operations in Fort Smith, which has served as one of the group’s nerve centers for decades.”

Ondrisek and Calagna are each owed $3 million in actual damages and $12 million in punitive damages by Tony Alamo.

The men were raised in the controversial ministry.

In 2011, a jury in their civil suit found Alamo guilty of battery, conspiracy and outrage and awarded Ondrisek and Calagna $3 million in actual damages and $30 million in punitive damages.

The punitive damages were later reduced by an appellate court to $12 million.

The judgment against Alamo has not been collected.

Alamo is serving a 175-year federal prison sentence.

In 2009, he was convicted by a jury of all 10 counts in an indictment accusing him of bringing women he wed as children across state lines for sex.

Alamo has exhausted his appeals in his criminal case and in Ondrisek’s and Calagna’s civil case.

A request for writ of execution filed Monday on Ondrisek’s and Calagna’s behalves asks the court to find that Alamo is the true owner of six properties in Fort Smith.

The properties—a gym building, the Alamo Ministries Fort Smith church building, a warehouse, a restaurant and parking lot and a single-family home—are currently held in the names of loyal Alamo followers.

“In an effort to defraud creditors and insulate Tony Alamo from financial responsibilities, his properties are held in the names of his trusted followers.

To be clear, the properties are only held in the names of followers.

Significantly, the properties are not owned by his followers,” the request states.

The request, filed by Carter of Mercy, Carter and Tidwell of Texarkana and Neil Smith of Nix, Patterson and Roach of Irving, Texas, describes Tony Alamo’s style of property management and ownership as “The Scam.”

The request alleges properties are placed in the names of Alamo devotees so Alamo himself, the true owner of the real estate, appears to have no assets.

Stacks of quit claim deeds signed by followers listed as owners on ministry-connected properties protect the properties, the request alleges.

If a property-owning member falls out of favor with Alamo, a quit claim deed can be used to quickly transfer ownership to a member in good standing.

“If the titleholder takes any action contrary to Tony Alamo, Tony takes the blank quit claim deed, backdates the deed, has a notary fraudulently date the deed, adds another trusted follower as the grantee, and files the fraudulent document,” the request states.

All of the six properties sought in the request bear Alamo Ministries member Steve Johnson’s name as owner or co-owner.

The request alleges Johnson has admitted the properties are actually owned and controlled by Alamo.

In: 2013, Breaking News

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