BOSTON Aug 15 An auction for 100 wooded acres
in New Hampshire that were the site of a nine-month standoff
between an anti-government couple and federal agents closed
without any bids on Friday, possibly because of fears it could
be booby-trapped, authorities said.
The U.S. Marshals Service had hoped to raise at least
$250,000 by selling the property that included the fortified
compound where Ed and Elaine Brown lived before agents in 2007
ended the nine-month standoff by sneaking onto the property
posing as pizza delivery men.
While bidding was open in U.S. District Court in Concord,
New Hampshire, authorities would not allow interested buyers to
tour the land in Plainfield out of fear that the couple and a
slew of anti-government activists who had joined them may have
left behind explosives or other traps.
"I would imagine that was a factor," said Deputy Chief U.S.
Marshal Brenda Mikelson.
Agents had inspected a small portion of the land and deemed
it free of explosives, but Mikelson said clearing the entire
property would be a difficult task.
"It's almost impossible to clear 103 acres," she said. "It's
There were also no takers for a dental office in the town of
Lebanon where Elaine Brown had conducted her business. There had
been a minimum bid of $507,500 on that property.
The proceeds from the sale would have first gone to cover
unpaid taxes on the properties, which total nearly $500,000.
The 2007 standoff began when federal agents tried to
apprehend the Browns on tax evasion charges. They rejected the
federal government's authority to tax its citizens.
During the course of the standoff, the property drew
numerous anti-government activists, among them Randy Weaver, the
man at the center of the bloody 1992 standoff in Ruby Ridge,
Idaho, that resulted in the death of his wife and son, as well
as a federal marshal.
The Browns were ultimately arrested after agents posed as
They are serving at least 30 years in prison on charges of
plotting to kill federal agents.
(Editing by Scott Malone and Dan Grebler)