1/12/09 – Time running out to serve Kolbek; Plaintiffs ask court for extension

Texarkana Gazette
January 12, 2009
By: Lynn LaRowe

Time running out to serve Kolbek
Plaintiffs ask court for extension

Two former Tony Alamo Christian Ministries followers who filed a civil lawsuit naming the jailed evangelist and an on-the-lam associate as defendants have filed a motion for more time to serve the fugitive with notice he is being sued.

Ordinarily, plaintiffs have 120 days to serve papers. In the suit filed by Seth Calagna and Spencer Ondrisek on Nov. 25, however, meeting the March 25 deadline could be impossible because one of the men they are suing, John Kolbek, is a fugitive.

Texarkana lawyer David Carter filed a motion Thursday on behalf of Calagna and Ondrisek asking the court to extend the deadline for service of Kolbek to July 23.

“Plaintiffs are hopeful that defendant Kolbek will be apprehended by law enforcement officials during that time and will be available for personal service of process,” the motion said.

Kolbek is wanted by authorities at the state and federal levels.

In Arkansas, he faces a second-degree battery charge for a beating he allegedly administered to Calagna in Sebastian County, where Fort Smith is located.

Federal officials want Kolbek for unlawful flight from prosecution.

He and Tony Alamo, whose real name is Bernie LaZar Hoffman, are accused in the civil suit of battery, false imprisonment, outrage and conspiracy.

Alamo allegedly ordered Kolbek, described as 6-foot-6 and about 280 pounds, to beat the plaintiffs while they were minors living on ministry properties. Testimony in Alamo’s federal detention hearing, and in custody hearings for children removed by the Arkansas Department of Human Services from their Alamo-following parents, alleges Kolbek has beaten girls, boys and adults at either their parents’ or Alamo’s requests.

A 6-foot-long wooden paddle, one of many designed by another follower specifically for the delivery of “corrections,” was used to strike rule-breaking church members until they were bruised and bleeding, the suit alleges.

Alamo’s lawyer, John Wesley Hall Jr. of Little Rock, has filed an answer denying the accusations.

“These were spankings of unruly children not beatings,” said Hall in court documents.

If a federal judge in the Texarkana division of the Western District of Arkansas grants Carter’s motion for an extension of time to serve Kolbek, and if the alleged enforcer continues to remain at large when summer nears, Carter has the option of asking the court for permission to serve Kolbek publicly.

Notices published in newspapers would then be sufficient proof Kolbek was aware of the suit. If Kolbek doesn’t respond with an answer to the complaint within a prescribed amount of time, Carter could ask the court to enter a default judgment.

If Kolbek maintains his silence and doesn’t answer Carter’s complaint, the court will assume the allegations made in the lawsuit are true.

Once a default judgment is entered in a civil suit, the court can take steps to have a defendant’s assets liquidated to pay damages.

No hearings have been scheduled in the case over which U.S. District Judge Harry Barnes presides.

Barnes also oversees the proceedings in the criminal case against Alamo that was recently delayed until May.

The 74-year-old is accused of crossing state lines with minor females, with whom he allegedly engaged in sex, in violation of federal law.

In: 2009 - (Trial year)

| Back to Top |
Want to help?

Click the button!

Comments are closed.