Ammon Bundy, known for his involvement in a 2016 occupation of a national wildlife refuge in eastern Oregon, posted a video on his Facebook page Thursday concluding that Clearwater County Sheriff Chris Goetz did nothing wrong when he evicted Charles “Nick” and Donna Nickerson from their Orofino property.
In a nearly 15-minute self-filmed video, Bundy, who lives in Emmett, Idaho, detailed the research through court documents and papers provided by the Nickerson family he and other companions from southern Idaho did since Wednesday morning. Bundy said they concluded that the documents do not back up the Nickersons’ claims that they were defrauded and denied due diligence by the banks and the courts, and that the sheriff enforced terms that the Nickersons agreed to when they signed the contract.
“It is our determination that the Nickersons did not uphold their obligation to the contract and the forceful removal (by the sheriff) was warranted,” Bundy said. He added that he and his partners “communicated many hours with the Nickerson family. We feel we have done our due diligence to the family and the matter altogether. If we are wrong, as moral men, we pray that God and the family will forgive us. And now we are going home.”
The Nickersons and their extended family were evicted Tuesday by a contingent of Clearwater County Sheriff’s deputies and Idaho State Police following a yearslong court battle in which the Nickersons claimed they were being wrongly foreclosed on even though the courts decided they had shown no proof they had made payments on the property for several years. The 50-acre piece of land and several buildings were returned to the mortgage company, PHH Inc., during a sheriff’s sale in 2017. An eviction order was signed by 2nd District Judge Gregory FitzMaurice in September.
Bundy could not be reached for comment by the Lewiston Tribune.
Donna Nickerson, whom Bundy described in the video as “controlling,” and said that concerned him and his partners, said by phone she had no statement to make.
Bundy was alerted to the eviction Tuesday night and traveled to Orofino early Wednesday morning to check out the situation. He made previous statements on his Facebook page that, depending on what he and his partners found, more people may be needed to come to Orofino to help defend the Nickerson family.
Responses were varied, including pledges of support from people around the country and warnings from Clearwater County residents for Bundy and his followers to stay away and allow local people to resolve the matter.
Goetz expressed appreciation that Bundy posted his findings quickly Thursday to let people know what he had found. The sheriff also said the mortgage company had agreed to release all the Nickersons’ personal possessions back to them. It was put into storage after it had been removed from the property.
For the time being, Goetz said, it appears that the Nickerson family is camping alongside Crow Bench Road, which overlooks the property.
“I’m not sure what their long-term plans are,” the sheriff said.
Bundy’s video can be viewed on his Facebook page: www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1115723640.
Kathy Hedberg may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or (208) 983-2326.