In August, a US marshal-hosted auction failed to attract a single bidder for the 100-acre property that was once owned by Ed and Elaine Brown, who were based there during a nine-month standoff with federal officials in 2007. Minimum bids for the home were set at $250,000. US marshals are now working out the details for the next auction, while warning that the property could contain landmines or other hidden explosives.
Ed Brown retreated to the home in January 2007, after a judge convicted him and his wife of hiding $1.9m in income from 1996 to 2003. Elaine Brown joined her husband in the standoff in April 2007, after the couple were ordered to serve a 63-month sentence. In October 2007, the Browns were arrested without incident.
In 1997, Brown told the Internal Revenue Service he would not pay taxes until the agency could prove it was a legal practice. Courts rejected his argument that collecting taxes was illegal.
In 1994, Brown told the New Hampshire Sunday News he believed in a wide-ranging conspiracy, involving politicians including Bill Clinton, George Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev, to “deprive Americans of their liberty”. He predicted a violent “revolution” in the US.
The couple, armed with assault rifles and pipe bombs, entertained like-minded visitors during the standoff and even held a picnic, which ultimately led to their arrest.
Undercover US marshals, pretending that they were supporters delivering goods from Elaine Brown’s dental practice, were invited into the house. Ed Brown initially kept an assault rifle trained on the marshals as they unloaded items, but lowered the weapon once he became comfortable, according to court documents. The group shared beer and pizza before additional marshals were called in to make the arrest.
Following the couple’s arrest, a court said the property was host to “a vast supply of explosives, firearms, and ammunition, including rifles, armor piercing bullets, pipe bombs, and bombs nailed to trees”.
If the house is sold, proceeds will go to the municipalities of Plainfield and Lebanon, which are owed part of the unpaid taxes. In January 2012, the US first circuit court of appeals rejected an appeal by the Browns.