This is the second installment of a three-part investigative report from US~Observer.
At the onset (2003) of the impending controversy, now spanning a decade, J.D. Wright (land owner/CE donor of Olney Springs, Colo.), was told by a tax credit broker that his conservation easement (CE) tax credits were unsellable. Wright then called State Representative Spradley, only to be informed that all questions should be directed to Larry Kueter. When Wright inquired of Kueter to find out who in State government he could contact for resolution, Kueter reportedly replied, “No one. We designed it (the legislation) to avoid a bunch of bureaucrats looking over our shoulders.”
According to an appraiser who attended a public meeting in Golden, Colo., Kueter (the influential lawyer and chief architect who developed the Colorado conservation program), told the attendees: “…the program was never designed for the ‘hicks’ who farmed and ranched to the south, it was designed to benefit rich Coloradans like ‘John Elway’ who didn’t have enough deductions to give them tax breaks.”
Imagine you use a licensed tax preparer to file your Federal income taxes, just as you have for the past 10 years. Using standard lawful deductions, you have always gotten some money back or at least reduced your taxes. The economy crumbles and Congress re-writes the tax code. You subsequently receive a letter from the Internal Revenue Service that states you are responsible for paying back all the money you have received over the years (resulting from deductions), plus multiple years’ worth of interest and penalties. Crazy? You would think.
Now imagine that it is a State land scheme you are dealing with and that your property, previously appraised at highest and best use for conservation easement (CE) purposes, has just been revalued by the State (which has no authority to do so) at “zero” and that you are being ordered to repay tax credits legally given to you over the past years, plus penalties and interest. Welcome to Colorado’s CE program. Under the guise of conserving land and natural resources for future generations through CEs, the State of Colorado has abused and bankrupted law-abiding citizens in a bait-and-switch scheme worthy of national attention.
The right against self-incrimination comes from the 5th amendment and it is as follows:
… [No] person shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself…
The right is more broadly applicable than it may seem on its face. Clearly, the right provides protection for a person to refuse to take the witness stand during a trial in which he is the defendant. However, this right also protects a person’s right to refuse to answer questions posed by government agents at any time, except in very limited circumstances (e.g. you should provide your driver’s license, registration, and insurance information to a police officer upon request if you’ve been pulled over in your vehicle).
“Where the people fear the government you have tyranny. Where the government fears the people you have liberty.” — John Basil Barnhill (1914)
This quote is so simple and yet so profound in its truth. How then do we, the people, cause our government to “fear” us so that we may maintain liberty and live free? I believe the answer is in becoming educated about our rights as they are memorialized under the law, especially under the U.S. Constitution. Without knowledge and exercising of our rights, there is no incentive for the government to honor them.
“The fundamental source of all your errors, sophisms and false reasonings is a total ignorance of the natural rights of mankind. Were you once to become acquainted with these, you could never entertain a thought, that all men are not, by nature, entitled to a parity of privileges. You would be convinced, that natural liberty is a gift of the beneficent Creator to the whole human race, and that civil liberty is founded in that; and cannot be wrested from any people, without the most manifest violation of justice.” — Alexander Hamilton, The Farmer Refuted, 1775
According to the founding document of the United States of America, the Declaration of Independence, a just government is one that secures the unalienable rights of every person. Those rights are, in general terms, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (or “life, liberty, and property” in the original “List of Grievances,” 1775).
A question was posed to me recently that deserves a clear answer: “What is political morality?”
It was posed in the context that morality is different from one culture or ideology to the next. I strongly disagree with this notion. Instead, what changes is the culture’s peer pressure or coercion of its members to accept what they know to be immorality. There is a universal morality understood by all humans except a few sociopaths.
The US~Observer has recently started an investigation into what is obviously a scheme to fraudulently obtain ranchers’ and farmers’ property for nothing or next to nothing by using controversial conservation easements. From what we know so far, the major players in this scheme are the State of Colorado, brokers and land trusts made up of or directed primarily by attorneys. At the time of this writing, the US~Observer believes that the ultimate goal of the perpetrators is to get control of the ranchers’ and farmers’ land, which includes water, mining and development rights.
This process in the State of Colorado concerning conservation easements began in 1999, when the land developers asked certain attorneys to design a State bill that would allow tax deductions and tax credits to be generated in exchange for landowners to donate all or portions of their property to go to conservation easements, reportedly to preserve the land for “ranching, farming, and open space,” thereby preserving natural resources. This bill was introduced at a time when the State enjoyed a surplus of tax revenue.
NYE COUNTY, Nev. — In US~Observer‘s last edition, US~Observer Chief of Investigations Edward Snook wrote: “DA Brian Kunzi is almost frantic in his efforts to destroy Shirley Matson. Kunzi appears to be hiding some things that are extremely important (damning) and rest assured, we will find out exactly what they are.”
One of the most expensive residential properties in Tonopah, Nev., is owned by former Nye County Commissioner Joni Eastley and her husband Dennis. Let’s cut right to the chase, readers.
Would you believe the accusations of a convicted felon with a lengthy criminal record who has been in and out of prison and in trouble with the law since 1982 without corroborating his story? Bent County, Colo., Undersheriff Tandy Hasser would and did when she arrested 68-year-old Fritz Sturges based solely on accusations from an officially identified “habitual felony offender” by the name of David Elmo Henry Jr.
Henry’s rap sheet is so long, it appears he seeks to get arrested for something every time he needs a free meal from a government-sponsored jail cell.
The US~Observer published an article in our last edition titled “Wrestling Champ O’Neil — Serial Rapist? Innocent Referee in Prison.” I expected to see fireworks once this sensational, alarming blockbuster was published; but the only response was dead silence.
I did receive numerous complaints on Brian Garvie’s attorney, John Crowley of Seattle. The accusations related to his failure to adequately represent his clients. The complaints received were nearly identical to the complaints that Garvie and his father have related to me.
On Jan. 17, Michael Young of Medford, Ore., breathed a grateful sigh of relief as he received word that multiple, stacked felony sex abuse charges against him had been dismissed.
Young was charged with Rape 1, Sodomy 1, Sex Abuse 2 and 3, and Assault 4 on March 21. Young wasted no time; on March 29, he contacted the US~Observer, and we began our investigation regarding the charges against him.
Jamie Clark sits in prison, convicted of a crime from a tragic and unavoidable accident that occurred in October 2006. Clark’s innocence is backed up by the only eyewitness and hard evidence — evidence that was either withheld, disallowed or falsely refuted by a court whose judge has worked hand in hand with the prosecution.
Clark recently appealed his Sept. 15, 2011, conviction after discovering a Brady and Giglio violation: the court withheld evidence not provided to the defense at trial and permitted false testimony. Clark’s motion for a new trial was denied by Judge John Kastrenakes of the 15th Circuit Court, who was also the original trial judge. Kastrenakes was a prosecutor for nearly 30 years before his judgeship.
As an informed American and patriot, I have lived long enough to recognize and identify the ignored liberties and rights of the American people by our government. Our Founding Fathers were students of common sense and history. They knew from the study of past civilizations the inherent nature of man. That inherent nature has shown that when men have unregulated power and authority over other men, they will always abuse that power.
The genius of our founders was that they identified the root cause of the failure and extinction of past governments. They developed a formula to prevent those failures in the future.
A travesty and mockery of justice is currently occurring in the racketeering case against Randy Gray of Albany, Ore. Circuit Judge Thomas McHill has teamed with a prosecution right out of the “Pit of Hell” to attempt to successfully prosecute the innocent Gray.
Gray, who is the father of six children and who has an exemplary wife, is — without question — honest, ethical and, above all: innocent! On the other hand, McHill and the prosecution, condoned and promoted by corrupt Oregon Attorney General Ellen F. Rosenblum, are nothing more or less than hypocritical thieves, keeping all pertinent defense evidence from the jury.
When was the last time you remember rooting for a leader of one of America’s traditional enemies instead of its own leader? I can’t recall that happening in the 40 years I have been following politics.
According to a recent poll, Americans favored, by an almost 2-1 margin, Russia’s Vladimir Putin over our President in the handling of the Syrian chemical weapons crisis.
Corruption has become the order of the day throughout our Nation from top to bottom. One doesn’t need to look too far to find it on all sides. Though corruption existed before, it gained momentum three years ago in Nye County, Nev., with a meeting in Pahrump attended by Nye County District Attorney Brian Kunzi.
The discussion was to welcome him as the new DA, as well as to discuss prior corruption in the county and address questions regarding what lay in store for the future. During the discussion, Kunzi’s phony, angry outbursts confirmed everyone’s concerns. They got a blast of the man’s real attitude regarding corruption. Today, this writer has little doubt about Kunzi and certain other dirty Nye County officials.
Are cowardice and narcissism the price for material prosperity? Jesus asked the question: “What will a man give in exchange for his soul?” Will an individual today give his soul in exchange for anonymity and material prosperity? In America today it seems there are plenty of people who will give just about anything — including their principles, if they had any to begin with — in exchange for those two possessions.
A person of principle seems to be a damn rare commodity these days.
It is an absolute and fundamental responsibility for citizens to be involved in their local government structure. In fact, the county documents in Jackson County display an organizational chart depicting the head of the county to be the citizens themselves; next in the organizational hierarchy are the Commissioners, then the Administrator, and on down to every county department head. And yet, nothing could be further from the truth. As a citizen who has decided to be involved and attends the county commissioner meetings, and who dares to question the details or authority, I can testify to the fact that if I am one who stands “in charge,” the commissioners did not get the memo. Their televised meetings begin playing the regal music with verbal dialog to “come and experience the process” by attending the meetings. Apparently, experiencing the process means come in and shut up.
In addition to claiming tyrannical control by functioning as the executive, legislative and judicial branches, the Commissioners are in charge of keeping the citizen who might dare to question or express their opinion in an open forum of intimidation.
I’m a good citizen, work hard, own a house and property and pay my taxes. Why then, did FBI Special Agents visit my private shop Tuesday?
It was retribution, pure and simple — an attempt to intimidate me because I use my 1st Amendment right to free speech by writing letters to the local newspaper, illuminating the morally bankrupt local government.
Here we go again, or rather, it just keeps on going.
The Internal Revenue Service, the same agency that took lavish trips on the taxpayers’ dime and discriminated against conservative groups that applied for tax-exempt status, is up to its old tricks of threatening criminal charges against people who for years have sought to work out their back tax issues.