An Oregon judge says he will bill Ammon Bundy up to $70,000 a day to reimburse Harney County for security costs related to the ongoing occupation of a wildlife refuge.
Local schools reopened Monday for the first time since Bundy and other militants seized a visitors center Jan. 2 at the Malheur National Wildlife Preserve and demanded the transfer of federally owned land to the county, reported KTVZ-TV.
Bundy and other militants used a backhoe owned by the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife to remove fences separating federal land from property owned by a local rancher.
#Oregonstandoff breaches fence between government and private ground. https://t.co/s74SMJtWka— Anna King (@Anna King)1452545323.0
Bundy said the militants had rifled through files at the occupied building looking for evidence of wrongdoing, but he insisted they had not accessed computers -- although public radio reporters witnessed them doing that. WATCH: Teen chokes up at town meeting asking Bundy to leave, says ‘I shouldn’t have to be scared in my own hometown’ Some of the Fish and Wildlife employees have been relocated from their homes "out of an abundance of caution" in case their personal information, including home addresses, had been accessed by the militants. They have also changed a sign outside the wildlife refuge to identify the occupied building as the "Harney County Resource Center," although it's not clear how the notoriously cash-strapped militants paid for the new sign.
"At least the gov't gives us a vote; I didn't get a vote on that sign" #Oregonstandoff https://t.co/J3njMJlLcz— Dave Killen (@Dave Killen)1452570949.0
Sheriff David Ward, who has said he agrees with the militants' views but not their tactics, has set up concrete barriers and other security measures around his office and the courthouse after the militants or their supporters threatened him and other county officials.
Ward issued a statement Monday vowing that he and other law enforcement officials "will not be intimidated," and he repeated his call for the out-of-state militants to leave the area.
"There's an hourglass, and it's running out," Ward said as cheers erupted at a public meeting Monday night. "Go home."
Harney County Judge Steve Grasty also spoke at the meeting, where he said the occupation had cost taxpayers an estimated $60,000 to $70,000 each day it has dragged on.
County Judge Steve Grasty says he intends to bill Ammon Bundy for $60k to $75k in daily county costs due to occupation.— Les Zaitz (@Les Zaitz)1452569859.0
"We're going to send Mr. Bundy the bill," said Grasty, who criticized Republican lawmakers for meeting with the militants over the weekend. The judge also called on residents not to offer assistance to the roughly two-dozen militants, who have been joined in recent days by out-of-state militia groups. "No matter how you feel, do not bring food and supplies up to the refuge," Grasty said. The militants have been widely mocked for first calling for snacks, and then issuing a wish list of items such as flavored coffee creamer, tampons and cigarettes. They have apparently received some unwanted gifts, such as sex toys, as seen in a Facebook video posted by Jon Ritzheimer, an Arizona veteran who is taking part in the occupation. "It was really mind-blowing to me that people would actually spend their money (on this)," Ritzheimer said. "This box right here, $17.90 (for shipping). They spend and waste their money on all this hateful stuff to send out here to us and buy this ridiculous stuff. This one was really funny -- a 'bag of dicks.' Rather than going out and doing good, they just spend all their money on hate and hate." He then angrily shoved all the unwanted gifts off a table and onto the floor. Ritzheimer urged fellow "patriots" to join them in Oregon for "history in the making," and he offered a message to his family. "Please look at this as a deployment, only this time I'm actually serving my country rather than being sent over seas to line the pockets of corrupt politicians," he said. "It is our sacrifice as a family that will make this country great again, not some election."
It's sad that there are people who would spend this kind of money on this rather than spending it to do good in the world. I'm done living in fear of an oppressing force. I'm going to uphold my oath to the Constitution and sleep great at night knowing that I did everything in my power to ensure what our founding fathers did for us will not be lost. To my family, I love you very much and I am sorry I can't be there with you. Please look at this as a deployment, only this time I'm actually serving my country rather than being sent over seas to line the pockets of corrupt politicians. It is our sacrifice as a family that will make this country great again, not some election. And we are not alone. I am among some of the most honorable, and selfless people I have ever met. People who are dedicated to making the same sacrifice for this country. Read the constitution people. Get educated and don't let your rights be taken. If you're a Patriot and you feel the calling in your heart then all I can say is follow your heart. Don't let the fear consume you. We all have lives but if we don't make the sacrifice what kind of country are we leaving for our children. The status quo can't go on any longer. We either take a stand against tyranny or we fail. Come be a part of history. And I am so proud that our country has become civilized enough that we can bring about change and right this wrong without any bloodshed. America is blessed.
Posted by Jon Ritzheimer on Monday, January 11, 2016