Federal officials are having a difficult time selling a booby-trapped 100 acre property, complete with a fortress-like house, which they seized from a husband and wife duo of tax dodgers.
Officials have been attempting to sell properties seized from Ed and Elaine Brown at auction with little success.
Potential bidders have been turned off by the fact that they are unable to tour the 100 acres around the house due to the potentially dangerous traps and explosives that are said to be laid throughout the property.
The first auction took place 13 months ago, but it failed to attract any bidders. A second auction will take place in October. In addition to the compound in Plainfield, the former dental office of Elaine Brown is also up for auction.
The New Hampshire towns of Lebanon and Plainfield are owed hundreds of thousands of dollars in back taxes and interest by the Browns. Elaine Brown’s former dental office is located in Lebanon.
The Browns, who are now in their 70s, were found guilty and sentenced to five years in prison for tax evasion. The couple undertook a nine-month standoff with United States Marshals in 2007.
Now both have been sentenced over 30 years in prison.
The manager of the first failed auction, Deputy United States Marshall Brenda Mikelson, said that Internal Revenue Service specialist Roger Sweeny is managing the upcoming auction. Officials hope that using the IRS to promote the property will attract a wider audience of potential bidders.
Successful bidders will be given 45 days to arrange financing. The minimum bids for each of the two properties have been reduce by half from the previous auction. The minimum bid for the compound is $125,000, while the minimum bid is $250,000 for the office.
It is unknown if potential bidders will be permitted to examine the property before the auction this time. There are concerns that booby traps and explosives might be present on the densely wooded property. Marshals are also concerned that sympathizers of the Browns might show up if the property is showcased.
In his 2009 trial, Ed Brown testified that the purpose of the explosives was to scare intruders. However, during a radio interview that occurred during the standoff, Brown stated that if officials came after him, “The chief of police in this town, the sheriff, the sheriff himself will die. This is war now, folks."
The auction may have more luck the second time around. The attorney representing the city of Lebanon, Shawn Tanguay, said, “They've cleaned up the Lebanon property quite a bit."
Lebanon is owed more than $324,000 in back taxes and interest. The figure in Plainfield stands at $196,000.