Saturday, May 2, 2015

So, BLM Doesn't Threaten to Destroy Property, Huh? - The Dusty Ford Case

Below you will find a document procured from Mr. Dusty Ford regarding his legal battle with BLM which began in 2010.

Mr. Ford was harassed by BLM and eventually arrested for - wait for it - theft. Theft of GARBAGE from his claim.

Mr. Ford was cleaning up and removing garbage and debris left by (probably) tourists who used the claim to camp on, and was arrested for theft of BLM property.

The judge in this case was extremely stern with the BLM employees who wasted public funds by bringing this arbitrary and capricious case against Mr. Ford.

Although Mr. Ford won the case against him in court, the BLM retaliated against him for daring to question their authority.  Since he proved in court the claim was his property, but producing his title in the form of a location notice, whereas BLM could produce zero paperwork proving lawful title to the tract of land, BLM attempted to force the removal of his historic cabin on said claim. Although
he was not occupying the claim, BLM accused him of doing so, and demanded he file a Plan of Operation for occupancy. Needless to say, he chose to not file a plan since he was not occupying, whereby BLM then sent him a legal notice stating that they were going to 'begin removal of the structures.'

Ford was not given a choice to appeal, nor was he issued a citation which would give him a day in court and his due process of law under the 5th Amendment of the US Constitution.

According to a complaint Ford lodged with then Jackson County Sheriff Mike Winters, BLM employees informed him that they intended to burn the buildings. (from a Cease & Desist notice, 8th February, 2011, sent by certified mail.)

He also complained to then Sheriff Winters that a BLM employee, John Gerritsma, "intends to commit arson upon my cabin within the next couple days. He and his co-conspirators have invaded my property, and tank-trapped my access contrary to state and federal law." Ford requested the arrest of those who were violating his rights.

On 10th February, 2011 Ford sent a Cease & Desist notice to Gerritsma (Ashland Field Manager,) Dayne Barron (Medford District Manager,) and Ken Salazar (the then Secretary of the Interior,) commanding them to cease and desist their unlawful activity, which included their intention "...to destroy my mining incident cabin, agency personnel on the ground telling me it will be destroyed by arson, and the subsequent invasion by means of trespass, heavy equipment, mineral trespass and the like."

Ford also told them they were "fraudulently representing a lawful authority to further your criminal enterprise," and informed them of the complaint he had filed with then Sheriff Winters, and requested that they turn themselves in to the County Sheriff's custody.

Due to Ford's complaint to Sheriff Winters, and the threat to file civil suit in federal court, his cabin is still standing.

Despite this, Ford has not initiated any mining operations on his claim for fear of further attacks against him by BLM.


4 comments:

  1. If he filed a 3-acre placer claim with the federal government in 2009 and has paid the government annual fees since then, how can he now deny that the federal government owns the land and the structures that were already on it when he established this claim? It isn't his land, it never has been.

    You say Ford was issued a cease and desist but never given a choice to appeal. Appeal what? If he's moved into a cabin on public land, he's trespassing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The court ruled that it was Ford's property and that BLM were to cease their harassment.

      If you want to question the judge's authority and ruling on this case you'd have to find out which judge it was (Jackson County Circuit Court,) but CC rulings are not published, else I would find the docket number so you could pursue your quest.

      The judge's ruling was based on the fact that BLM did not have a title, and Ford did, in the form of a location notice for the claim.

      Delete
  2. "intends to commit arson upon my cabin within the next couple days."

    How is it Ford's cabin?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Further to my previous reply, you can, of course, contact the court - the ruling is public record and you can request it.

      It was ruled in the case that it was Ford's cabin.

      On a mining claim, equipment, tools, any structure (cabin, mill building, etc,) belongs to the claim owner.

      If the government desires to claim ownership of a structure there is a certain process that they must follow. The statute is 40 USC 484, which allows the government to assert ownership over abandoned property of previous claim holders, by taking actual possession of the property. Until the government takes this action, the property is subject to the rights of the claimant.

      There is considerable case law on this issue, such as -

      Brothers v. United States, 594 F2d 740 [9th Circuit Court, 1979]

      McKenzie v. Moore, 176 P568 [Arizona, 1918]

      Alfred v. Biegel, 219 SW2d 665 [Montana 1949]

      The situation in the Ford case was a very complex issue involving many statutes and case law.

      Delete

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