5/16/13 – Tony Alamo Properties In Fort Smith Sought For Restitution

Southwest Times Record
May 16, 2013
By Jeff Arnold Times Record

Tony Alamo Properties In Fort Smith Sought For Restitution

Two men with a $30 million judgment against Tony Alamo and federal prosecutors are both seeking Fort Smith properties owned by the evangelist, who is serving a 175-year prison sentence.

Seth Calagna and Spencer Ondrisek won the judgment in a federal lawsuit in June 2011 when a jury found Alamo ordered them beaten while they were children and members of Tony Alamo Christian Ministries.

In July 2009, a federal jury in Texarkana, Ark., found Alamo guilty on 10 counts of transporting minor females in interstate commerce for the purpose of criminal sexual activity. In November 2009, Alamo was sentenced to 175 years in prison and is at a U.S. penitentiary in Marion, Ill.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Attorney’s office filed motion in U.S. District Court in Fort Smith and Texarkana, seeking the seizure of six Alamo properties, including two in Fort Smith — a home at 1405 Meadow Lane and a “mechanics shop” at 503 Division.

In an affidavit accompanying the motion, Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Timmy Akins detailed how the properties were used to facilitate the sexual abuse of the girls Alamo was convicted of transporting across state lines for sexual activity.

If federal authorities are allowed to take ownership, the money from the sale of those properties would go toward $2.5 million in restitution — $500,000 for each victim — U.S. District Court Judge Harry Barnes ordered following Alamo’s 2009 conviction.

Also Tuesday, attorneys for Calagna and Ondrisek filed papers in U.S. District Court in Texarkana, seeking the same properties. In February, they filed papers seeking six additional properties, including an apartment complex, warehouse and lots with “metal structure and playground” next to the apartment complex, which are also in Fort Smith.

The men are seeking to sell the properties to satisfy the $30 million judgment.

Texarkana attorney William Carter and Irving, Texas, attorney Neil Smith also represent the victims in the 2009 criminal case against Alamo — and two women who weren’t parties to the criminal trial — in a civil lawsuit against Alamo scheduled to go to trial in January 2014.

“We will work with them (Carter and Smith) moving forward,” said U.S. Attorney Conner Eldridge.

Carter said he and Smith will work with prosecutors to the extent they can, but their primary responsibility is representing Calagna and Ondrisek in collecting their existing civil judgment.

A hearing on Calagna and Ondrisek’s seizure request is scheduled for May 30 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry A. Bryant in Texarkana. No hearing is scheduled yet on the federal prosecutor’s request.

In: 2013, Breaking News

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