5/16/13 – TG: Government seeks Alamo properties

Texarkana Gazette
May 16, 2013
By: Lynn LaRowe – Texarkana Gazette

Government seeks Alamo properties

The U.S. government wants to take possession of properties on which imprisoned evangelist Tony Alamo and other Alamo followers physically and sexually abused children.

In documents filed this week, the government seeks forfeiture of properties in Texarkana, Ark., Fouke, Ark., and Fort Smith, Ark. Among the properties sought for seizure are Alamo’s Fouke, Ark., residence; Tony Alamo Christian Ministries Church building in Fouke; a gymnasium building on Alamo’s Fouke compound; a residence in Fouke, Ark., known as the “House of Scorn”; a Fort Smith residence where Alamo once lived and sexually abused children; a house in Texarkana, Ark., where one of Alamo’s child brides was forced to fast for seven days; and a Fort Smith mechanics shop where one of Alamo’s followers allegedly molested a step-daughter repeatedly.

Four of the complaints for forfeiture are filed in the Texarkana division of the Western District of Arkansas and two are filed in the Fort Smith division.

An affidavit of FBI Special Agent Tim Akins attached to the forfeiture documents includes descriptions of the abuses suffered by children on each of the properties sought for seizure. Not only does the affidavit chronicle Alamo’s well documented sexual and physical abuse of women he wed as children, but public beatings and the alleged poisoning of “disobedient” children with “corn cockles,” in a dosage Alamo had perfected.

The mixture was sprinkled onto the child’s food and would cause flu-like symptoms.

“The children would be told the sickness was due to the child’s disobedience,” the affidavit states.

That information is attributed to an Alamo follower who is accused of sexually abusing a step-daughter. The name of the accused is redacted from Akins’ affidavit however Douglas Christopher is currently facing charges of bringing a minor across state lines for sex in the Fort Smith division concerning his step-daughter.

Akins’ affidavit alleges that Alamo continues to run businesses and operations of his controversial group by sending orders through a group of his wives who have moved to a house near the federal prison in Marion, Illinois, where Alamo is serving a 175-year federal prison term for bringing women he wed as children across state lines for sex.

Alamo was moved to the Marion prison from one in Tucson, Ariz., after authorities learned Alamo was making threatening comments regarding federal judges, prosecutors and others key to the criminal and civil cases, Akins’ affidavit states.

“Alamo operates his churches and businesses from USP-Marion. Alamo operates a trucking company, restaurant, construction company, apartment complex, and a company known as Advantage Foods while still in prison,” the affidavit states. “Nothing happens at these entities without Alamo’s approval.”

Akins’ affidavit describes Alamo’s practice of placing properties in the names of his followers using “straw borrowers” as “arguably…a form of bank fraud…”

Alamo would utilize the good credit score of one member to acquire a loan for property actually paid for with ministry funds from a bookkeeper account. The properties are placed in the name of one or more loyal followers but quitclaim deeds, allowing transfer of ownership, are signed and kept in the ministry’s office. If a follower listed as an owner falls from grace, the deed is dated and filed, transferring title to a member in good standing.

Recently a federal judge in Texarkana granted a writ of execution for six properties in Fort Smith. The writ permits the sale of the properties to partially satisfy a $30 million judgment owed by Alamo in a civil suit filed by Texarkana lawyer David Carter on behalf of two men, Spencer Ondrisek and Seth Calagna.

Since then, John Rogers, a Clayton, Missouri, lawyer, filed notices of joint ownership of the properties on behalf of roughly 30 followers. The followers claim the properties are owned by the members of Alamo’s group, not just by the members listed as actual owners on the properties.

Carter argued and U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry Bryant agreed, that the properties are actually held for the profit and benefit of Alamo.

A hearing to address the members’ claim to the six properties in the writ is scheduled for later this month. Numerous notices and documents sent to the followers Rogers filed claims to the properties on behalf of have been returned to the court as undeliverable. Bryant signed an order this week stating that any party who fails to appear at the hearing may have their claims dismissed.

Earlier this week and before the government filed its forfeiture documents, Carter filed a second motion for a writ of execution listing even more Alamo-associated properties, including those the government seeks to seize.

Considering the number of properties, parties and cases involved, the real estate matters are likely to take the courts some time to resolve.

In: 2013, Breaking News

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