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SHERIFF BILL BIVENS CALLED TO ACCOUNT FOR CONFISCATION OF CHURCH PROPERTY REPORTED TO THE FBI
(May 23, 2011) — The following press release was received today from the Monroe County-based Christian Citizens Against Corruption:
Contact: George Raudenbush, (423) 761-9518, Christian Citizens against Corruption (tnccc.com)
MONROE COUNTY, Tenn., May 23, 2011 /On Tuesday June 8th 2010 Monroe County Sheriff Billy Ray Bivens ordered the seizure of a 45 ft. semi tractor trailer/workshop used exclusively for Christian youth mission work.
According to church representatives, the trailer was filled with over $100,000 of tools, equipment and supplies belonging to youth mission groups throughout the United States. These church and school groups have been serving the people of Appalachia in East Tennessee, Western North Carolina and North Georgia, since 1999.
“The seizure of the trailer and its contents on June 8, 2010 and the continued retention of the Trailer and its contents thereafter, along with the loss of any property within the trailer while in the possession of the Defendants, was intentional and without any legal authority and constitutes conversion of and trespass to the property of the Plaintiffs by the Defendants, it violated the Plaintiffs’ right to be free from unreasonable seizure protected by the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, applicable to the Defendants pursuant to the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution.”
“The Defendants’ conduct was intentional, willful, malicious, reckless, and/or so grossly negligent as to warrant the imposition of punitive damages, and the Plaintiffs seek an award of punitive damages in the amount of not less than $100,000”. (case # 3:11-cv-00220 filed in U.S. District Court at Knoxville by Keith L. Edmiston, Attorney (http://www.gribblecarpenter.com) for the Plaintiffs).
Mr. Gary Church, a senior counsel member with the organization Appalachian Youth Missions (www.appalachianyouthmission.org) and plaintiff in the federal lawsuit stated, “I contacted the FBI after the sheriff did not respond to our many attempts to get him to return the church property. A special agent with the FBI called me saying they had spoke to the sheriff telling him the seizure was not right. The sheriff has not returned our property, so we were compelled to file a lawsuit.”
Sheriff Bill Bivens has been surrounded by controversy ever since he took office five years ago. Reports of murder, extortion, missing property, organized crime, jury rigging, public corruption (http://www.thepostemail.com/2011/05/17/defense-turns-michael-ellingtons-murder-trial-into-an-inquisition-regarding-the-corruption-of-monroe-county-sheriff-bill-bivens-and-his-deputies/), and human trafficking have continually appeared in the national news media concerning the sheriff and public officials in Monroe County, Tennessee.
Editor’s Note: On December 23, 2010, The Post & Email reported that the property seized by Sheriff Bill Bivens had been reported as a criminal complaint to the Knoxville, TN FBI office.