- Associated Press - Sunday, April 13, 2014

TEXARKANA, Ark. (AP) - Attorneys for two men who are owed $30 million from a civil judgment against convicted evangelist Tony Alamo say properties owned by Alamo’s ministry have been stripped by his followers since a federal judge ordered that the properties be sold to help pay the debt.

“Plaintiffs have learned that certain fixtures such as air conditioning units, ceiling tiles, doors, sinks, commodes and insulation are being removed from the properties,” according to a motion filed on behalf of two men, the Texarkana Gazette reported (http://bit.ly/1iJbH5E ) Sunday.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry Bryant ordered the sale of Alamo properties in Fort Smith and Fouke to partially satisfy the debt. Bryant granted a request that U.S. marshals take control of a church in Fouke.

“The Alamo compound in Fouke is now secure and under the protection of the U.S. Marshals Service. Anyone who enters the property or attempts to remove items from the property is subject to arrest and prosecution. We are also working with the Marshals Service to lock down a number of properties in Fort Smith,” attorney David Carter said.

Alamo and his followers have shown little or no regard for court orders in the past. If they continue to strip fixtures from any of the properties, they risk facing criminal charges,” he said.

Carter and fellow attorney Neil Smith Irving argued, and Bryant agreed, the properties are actually held for Alamo’s benefit and profit. Some real estate in Fort Smith has been sold already, and others there are scheduled to be auctioned at the Sebastian County Courthouse steps May 22.

A jury found that Alamo ordered that the two men be beaten, starved and denied education when they were being raised in the ministry.

Alamo, 79, whose given name is Bernie LaZar Hoffman, is serving a 175-year prison sentence after being convicted in 2009 of taking young girls across state lines for sex.

Alamo’s followers have fought the property sales, claiming in previous hearings that the properties belong to all members collectively, but acknowledging that church membership and the supposed shared property ownership attached to it can be terminated with an order from Alamo.

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Information from: Texarkana Gazette, http://www.texarkanagazette.com