No bidders for possibly booby-trapped land

Prospective bidders were not allowed to tour the properties due to possible booby traps.
Jim Cole/Associated Press
Prospective bidders were not allowed to tour the properties due to possible booby traps.

CONCORD, N.H. — No one bid for the compound of a tax-evading couple convicted of amassing an arsenal of weapons and holding federal law enforcement officials at bay for months.

The auction of Ed and Elaine Brown’s fortress-like home on 100 acres in Plainfield was held Friday in US District Court in Concord. The minimum bid was $250,000.

Elaine Brown’s dental office in a prime Lebanon commercial zone was also being auctioned with a minimum bid of $507,500; it didn’t attract bidders either.


Federal marshals had arranged 16 folding chairs in a courtroom at the federal courthouse in Concord. They remained empty, serving as a stark reminder of the lack of interest as Deputy Chief US Marshal Brenda Mikelson went through the motions of asking for minimum bids on both properties before the auction ended two minutes later.

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Prospective bidders were not allowed to tour the properties, in part because the US Marshals Service raised the possibility that explosives or other booby traps could be buried on the residential property.

They also cited the hordes of Brown supporters the 2007 standoff attracted.

As the Browns kept federal marshals at bay for nine months, they welcomed a parade of antitax and antigovernment supporters including Randy Weaver, whose wife and son were killed along with a deputy US marshal in a 1992 shootout on Weaver’s property in Ruby Ridge, Idaho.

The Browns were ultimately captured by undercover agents posing as pizza deliverymen.


Marshals said Friday that they can hold a second auction in the future.

The court has ruled that the Browns and any heirs have no claims to the properties or any assets from their sale. If the properties ever sell, the first entities to be paid would be the municipalities of Plainfield and Lebanon, which are owed back property taxes.