DEVELOPING STORY: Sheriff’s Department, Deputy, County Attorney Sued For Not Accepting Bids In Gold And Silver At Foreclosure Sale In Pennsylvania

EDITOR’S NOTE: We previously have reported that some members of AdSurfDaily Inc. and AdViewGlobal are part of a subculture that views the Federal Reserve and banking in general as illicit operations. Some members, for example, have been involved in the credit-repair industry and have been parties in lawsuits against the government and/or individual banks and bankers. Part of the Utah “Indian” litigation grew out of banking lawsuits, for instance. We also have reported on a case in which a member sued a bank to reverse a mortgage foreclosure, filing a bond purportedly consisting of “twenty one dollars in silver coinage.”

Some of the elements in the story below will sound familiar to readers who have been following the ASD case. The plaintiffs in the case cited below said their bids to purchase properties with gold and silver at a Sheriff’s sale in Pennsylvania were rejected, and they now seek more than $1 million in damages against public officials.

A county solicitor, sheriff’s department and deputy have been sued in federal court in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania amid allegations they defamed three bidders at a sheriff’s sale who wanted to pay for properties with gold and silver.

Meanwhile, the wives of two of the plaintiffs have joined the lawsuit, saying stress caused by libelous remarks by the county have or will cause them “to lose the companionship, consortium, society and services” of their husbands.

One of the husbands/co-plaintiffs — Michael Proetto — “requries psychiatric care,” according to the lawsuit.

Victor Balletta, another husband/co-plaintiff, “purchased firearms for protection,” according to the lawsuit.

Michael Reis is another co-plaintiff in the case.

Named defendants were Karl Longenbach, solicitor of Northhampton County — although Longenbach’s name was not specifically referenced in the complaint caption; Christopher Spadoni, the assistant county solicitor; the Northhampton County Sheriff’s office; and Dave Ruberry, a deputy sheriff whom the plaintiffs said presided over the October 2008 Sheriff’s Sale.

The county has denied wrongdoing.

Balletta, Proetto and Reis said they attended a Sheriff’s sale in Easton, Pa., on Oct. 10, after registering and advising the county “they had gold and silver currency that they wished to bid,” according to the lawsuit.

The plaintiffs “bid successfully on approximately nine (9) properties,” they said in the lawsuit, but Ruberry “ignored Plaintiffs’ bids, instead accepting other bids predicated on credit. In contrast, Plaintiff’s were prepared to pay their entire bid at the sale, with gold and silver.”

Proetto brought his gold and silver in a “bulging sandwich bag,” according to The Morning Call of Allentown.

Bids were refused, according to the plaintiffs. They seek damages of more than $1 million for alleged civil-rights violations and other violations.

Balletta, Proetto and Reis claimed the defendants made libelous remarks about them, falsely linking them to anarchist groups, extremist groups and “paper terrorism.”

The Morning Call, which was not named a defendant, “printed the defamatory statements made by the Deputy and Solicitor,” the plaintiffs said.

Subsequently, the plaintiffs were “threatened; approached by extreme/radical groups mentioned in the Article; have lost business opportunities; have had their [families endangered]; Proetto  requries psychiatric care; and Balletta purchased firearms for protection,” the plaintiffs said in the lawsuit.

Read the lawsuit.

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9 Responses to “DEVELOPING STORY: Sheriff’s Department, Deputy, County Attorney Sued For Not Accepting Bids In Gold And Silver At Foreclosure Sale In Pennsylvania”

  1. The statute in Pennsylvania specifies that a payment of 10% of the final bid be made at the sale in “cash, money order or certified check” with the balance due in 30 days. So, if they had enough gold and silver coins to equal 10% of the bid at face value of the coins, the bid should have been accepted. I doubt that is how it happened though. Also, their claim that the other bids were not acceptable I think is based upon the premise that “federal reserve notes” are “credit instruments” and therefore not acceptable. I’ll dig into this a little. I have a feeling that they didn’t have the high bid, unless you take as a given their own rules about the validity of federal reserve notes.

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  2. I did a little digging. The plaintiffs did not have the highest bids, they are saying that the banks that bid higher than them did not have “lawful money” and thus those bids were not legal. Seeing as the banks who won the auction were in effect paying themselves, well, it’s just silly.

    As a side note, when you see the infomercials that hype buying property for “pennies on the dollar” I’d point out that while this is technically true, in practice, whenever a bank holds a mortgage on a piece of property, the bank will send someone to bid the amount of the mortgage, so they either get the property (no one else bids) or they get their money (someone bids more than them and they get paid from that bid and the “houses for $300” are few and far between.

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  3. Patrick, perhaps I am not as learned as some who frequent your journalistic portal, but I fail to see why the plaintiff’s included numerous pages of comments made by non-parties to the civil suit as what they said in an online comment is immaterial and hearsay, not to mention semi-anonymous as they are but a screen name.

    Do I think the Plaintiff’s are nut jobs? Absolutely!! Have they been “wronged”? Nope! They are lucky they have not been robbed for all the “gold” they have on hand. I read the news article and it said one defendant “speculated”, another said they “May” be opportunists, or that the “believed” they were “travelers” of anarchist groups. I, too, speculate and believe they have ulterior motives. Perhaps we can get added as Exhibit P.

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  4. A couple of stories:
    http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/news/index.ssf?/base/news-0/1246680342265940.xml&coll=3
    http://www.mcall.com/news/local/all-5gold2.69786312aug06,0,565522.story

    The second one says:

    In the suit, the men say county officials defamed them by theorizing about their motives. County officials referred to them in an Oct. 28 Morning Call article as ”opportunists” involved in ”paper terrorism” or as ”members of anti-government groups such as Sovereign Citizen, Posse Comitatus or Liberty Dollar,” the suit says.

    The phrase “Sovereign Citizen” has been associated with the Arby Indians, but some readers may not be be familiar with the Liberty Dollar organisation.

    The Liberty Dollar was raided a year or two ago, accused of running some sort of illegal operation. May have been a ponzi scheme or something similar. Some people may remember some stories in the press when some “Ron Paul” silver dollars were seized. I remember why they were raided, they accused of setting up a system where some people could avoid paying tncome tax.

    It’s been a while but I read a few months back that the owner, Bernard Von NotHaus, did an interview either high on wacky baccy and/or advocating it’s use.

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  5. What does commenting that the men may be “opportunists” or whatever have to do with them not being able to do their duties with the wives?? Are they that touchy that the mere mention of opportunism or affiliation with other “sovereign” nutjobs would cause them to suffer from ED? Isn’t that what loss of “companionship, consortium, society and services” entail? It’s a good thing these citizens weren’t around in the days of the American Revolution, if a few words cause them this much emotional damage. It’s a good thing no one has called them any bad names or they may have struck down with explosive flatulence.

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  6. Tony H: The Liberty Dollar was raided a year or two ago, accused of running some sort of illegal operation. May have been a ponzi scheme or something similar.

    Here’s a source for info about the Liberty Dollar operation from an ant-scam site called Quatloos.com: http://www.quatloos.com/Q-Forum/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=4654&st=0&sk=t&sd=a&hilit=Liberty+Dollar

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  7. Another feature of the subculture that views the Federal Reserve and banking in general as illicit operations, are people who seem to love guns. I did a search on the phrase “companionship, consortium, society and services” and one of the first hits was this story
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27897639/

    I have to ask – what possible reason would someone need to have a gun to a football match? Are 5 year-olds so violent at kicking a ball? Or was it in case the ref called off-side in error?

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  8. Tony H: Another feature of the subculture that views the Federal Reserve and banking in general as illicit operations, are people who seem to love guns. I did a search on the phrase “companionship, consortium, society and services” and one of the first hits was this storyhttp://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27897639/I have to ask – what possible reason would someone need to have a gun to a football match? Are 5 year-olds so violent at kicking a ball? Or was it in case the ref called off-side in error?

    It keeps the peace in the line for slushies.

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  9. Don’t know about the rules in Norhthampton, but in Adams County where the Well Armed Bunker Comlex-East is located, the rules for a sheriffs sale are

    UPSET SALE: TERMS OF SALE: In the case of all properties selling for one hundred dollars ($100.00) or less, cash in the form of currency of the United States must be paid in full at the time the property is struck down. In the case of properties for which more than one hundred dollars ($100.00) has been bid, the sum of one hundred dollars ($100.00) cash in the form of currency of the United States must be paid with the balance being paid by a check or other satisfactory payment when the property is struck down. If the balance of the purchase price is not paid for any reason (for example, if a check is not paid), the one hundred dollars ($100.00) cash paid shall be forfeited as liquidated damages.

    JUDICIAL SALE: TERMS OF SALE Cash in the form of currency of the United States if the purchase price is $50.00 or less. For properties selling for more than $50.00, $50.00 in the form of currency of the United States and a check or other satisfactory payment of the balance when the property is struck down. If the balance of the purchase price is not paid for any reason (for example, if a check is not paid), the one hundred dollars ($50.00) cash paid shall be forfeited as liquidated damages.

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