Twin Cities Media Scooped Again: Sovereign Citizens Edition
Posted by Phoenix Woman on August 25, 2013
I was just thinking the other day that if I had depended solely on the local mainstream media (what Sally Jo Sorensen over at Bluestem Prairie calls the “rocking chair media”) for my news of my own state, I never would have known that Rod Grams’ aide Peter Hong was called “Senator Hong” on Capitol Hill because he served as the otherwise helpless Grams’ minder and babysitter.
And now I find that, once again, our local mainstream talent has been scooped on a local story, this time by the New York Times:
MINNEAPOLIS — One of the first inklings Sheriff Richard Stanek had that something was wrong came with a call from the mortgage company handling his refinancing.
“It must be a mistake,” he said, when the loan officer told him that someone had placed liens totaling more than $25 million on his house and on other properties he owned.
But as Sheriff Stanek soon learned, the liens, legal claims on property to secure the payment of a debt, were just the earliest salvos in a war of paper, waged by a couple who had lost their home to foreclosure in 2009 — a tactic that, with the spread of an anti-government ideology known as the “sovereign citizen” movement, is being employed more frequently as a way to retaliate against perceived injustices.
Over the next three years, the couple, Thomas and Lisa Eilertson, filed more than $250 billion in liens, demands for compensatory damages and other claims against more than a dozen people, including the sheriff, county attorneys, the Hennepin County registrar of titles and other court officials.
Stanek finally got the liens undone, but not before they affected his credit rating.
This story would not have surprised the late great Karl Bremer, the proprietor of Ripple in Stillwater and one of the five best journalists in the state at the time he died last year. He not only had the Sovereign Citizens angle down cold, he showed that Bradley Dean “Bradlee Dean” Smith, the infamous toxic-rock hate preacher, Minnesota conservative fixture, and occasional ally of Minnesota Republican politicians, was and might still be a part of that movement:
The FBI and several states are taking the “sovereign citizen” movement a little more seriously these days. You might remember our own local “sovereign citizen”—Bradley Dean Smith, aka “Bradlee Dean,” of the Annandale-based hate “ministry” You Can Run But You Cannot Hide International. Dean, who was the subject of a Ripple in Stillwater investigation in 2010-11, renounced his “allegiance to the world” to become a “sovereign citizen” in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Smith’s “citizenship” in the Kingdom of Heaven was issued in November 2003 [PW notes: actually September 30, 2003, as Karl previously noted] and expired in November 2010 [PW notes: Actually, September 30, 2010, as Karl previously noted], according to his online Embassy of Heaven ID:“On file is a signed statement by Bradley Smith renouncing allegiance to the world and declaring citizenship in the Kingdom of Heaven.
“We are fellow citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven, the Government of God,
which was handed to the Apostles by Jesus Christ at the Last Supper (Luke
22:29), We fulfill the Great Commission by traveling from place to place using
old and modern conveyances. Our government is not of this world, and we expect
to be held accountable to the laws from which we come. Our conduct is not an
offense if it not an offense in the Kingdom of Heaven.”While Smith’s escapades with the Embassy of Heaven might sound loopy, the FBI has taking a more jaundiced look at the sovereign citizen movement recently.“The FBI considers sovereign-citizen extremists as comprising a domestic terrorist movement, which, scattered across the United
States, has existed for decades, with well-known members, such as Terry Nichols, who helped plan the Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, bombing,” says a September 2011 bulletin from the FBI’s Counterterrorism Analysis Section.“They could be dismissed as a nuisance, a loose network of individuals living in the United States who call themselves “sovereign citizens” and believe that federal, state, and local governments operate illegally. Some of their actions, although quirky, are not crimes. The offenses they do commit seem minor: They do not pay their taxes and regularly create false license plates, driver’s licenses, and even currency.“However, a closer look at sovereign citizens’ more severe crimes, from financial scams to impersonating or threatening law enforcement officials, gives reason for concern,” the report continues.
The FBI bulletin cites several instances where sovereign citizens resorted to violence and notes:
“Although the sovereign-citizen movement does not always rise to violence, its members’ illegal activities and past violent—including fatal—incidents against law enforcement make it a group that should be approached with knowledge and caution. It is important that law enforcement be aware of sovereign citizens’ tactics so agencies can warn the public of potential scams, spot illegal activity and understand its potential severity, and be prepared for and protect against violent behavior or backlash through intimidation and harassment.”
Tax-dodging, law-court-abusing, violent bigots.
And Bradlee Dean was one of them, at least up until 2010, when he let his membership lapse as he was seeking to boost his appeal outside of right-wing megachurch circles. His efforts to become known to the world at large hit their high point in May of 2011 when he was invited to give the opening benediction by the then-majority Republicans at the State Capitol; the bad taste his antics left in everyone’s mouth was one of many things that contributed to the Republicans losing control of the state legislature in 2012.
Hey, Twin Cities Media! Aren’t you tired of getting scooped on the juiciest local stories?
Well, aren’t you?
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