Wickedness Stupidity bushco:
“Just before Christmas, an economics student in Utah figured out a way to help the environment by messing up the mechanics of an auction. The Bush administration had Bureau of Land Management auction offer a last minute auction to sell off 150,000 acres near Arches National Park.
“Tim DeChristopher, 27, just started bidding when the government tried to auction off the land. That threw a wrench into the whole auction. He went home — after a brief visit with police — owning 22,000 acres of land and owing $1.7 million. But he also pushed the price up for oil developers. So much so that the whole auction results are now in question. The AP says buyers were given 10 days to decide if they paid too much. I don’t think that offer applies to DeChristopher himself. They may have to have a do-over for the whole auction — but that would be under the Obama administration.”
“DeChristopher didn’t start off his day hoping to stand in the way of Bush’s last minute sale to the oil industry. Instead, he went to his scheduled final exam. …one of his exam questions was whether this very auction was fair since only the oil companies were bidding. That got him thinking.
“DeChristopher went straight from the test to the auction. He passed the protesters and went inside, wanting to do something more, but not knowing what. Then a woman asked him: ‘Are you here to bid?’ That gave him the idea.
“Patrick Shea, who is representing DeChristopher, says that when he ran the BLM under President Clinton he required bidders to show they could afford their purchases. The lack of a requirement was part of the “rush” of the Bush administration to sell the land before leaving office, Shea says. It looks like once again deregulation has not turned out to be the capitalist’s best friend.”
“DeChristopher says the most surprising thing was that he bought some of the land at $2.25 an acre. ‘That’s shocking — that we can sacrifice our public lands for as little as $2.25 an acre.’ There is some talk of environmental groups buying DeChristopher’s land. His first payment of $45,000 was due Monday.”
The hero auction wrecker, by Carol Vinzant, WalletPop, December 30, 2008 (more on Mr. DeChristopher)
If there’s a legal defense fund for my new hero, Tim DeChristopher, I’d like to toss a few bucks his way. What a guy!
By the way, what’s the deal with no money down auctions of public land, bushco? Don’t you jerks know that even housing auctions require a $5K cashiers check to even get in the door? Serves you creeps right.
Advantage DeChristopher! Sorry about the legal problems, dude, where can I send a check?
Update 123108: “Tim DeChristopher announced Wednesday afternoon that he would pay the U.S. Bureau of Land Management $45,000 to hold the 13 lease parcels he won in a Dec. 19 sale. His aim is to fend off drilling at least until President-elect Barack Obama takes office and new officials are in charge of the federal Interior Department and Bureau of Land Management.
“‘This would be the most effective way of ensuring we could protect the land at least until the new administration came in,’ DeChristopher said.
“The 27-year-old economics major faces possible federal felony charges after winning bids totaling about $1.8 million on 13 lease parcels that he admitted he had neither the intention nor the money to pay for.
“But since committing what he called an act of civil disobedience, DeChristopher has heard from hundreds of individuals around the country willing to chip in to keep drill rigs off the land and DeChristopher out of prison.
“So far, would-be benefactors have pledged $14,000, he said. ($14,050 now)
“DeChristopher, his lawyers and other advisers reckoned that if there were a specific reason for the fundraising, rather than just an ill-defined defense fund, enough money would roll in to allow him to write a $45,000 check to the BLM within the next couple of weeks.”
Land auction monkeywrencher has a new plan
Fundraising. DeChristopher hopes to run out the clock, by Patty Henetz, The Salt Lake Tribune, December 31, 2008
Agency auctions off moral high ground, by J. Scott Christianson, Columbia Tribune, December 30, 2008
Another good Tim DeChristopher story, more details.