I was recently asked by the USDA Office of Inspector General to give an accounting of criminal conduct by US Forest Service employees. This was my response.
While the Office of Inspector General is investigating the Payette National Forest for criminal conduct, it's important to remember that this is America. All parties are innocent until proven guilty......*to be continued 😉*
Thank you for your response to the complaint I submitted to the USDA Office of Inspector General hotline.
While my complaint may have primarily focused on Clem Pope, he didn't burn down hundreds of cabins on public land and private property unassisted.
Management of the Payette National Forest has directly assisted him multiple times, or looked the other way as he and others clearly stepped outside of the law. I have been investigating criminal activities, misconduct by the Payette National Forest since 2007. It is very hard for me to keep this brief, but I will touch on the highlights below.
Several items of historical significance and monetary value were unlawfully removed or stolen by Payette National Forest Service employees during project number PY2001-1569 as outlined in a report by then Forest Archaeologist Larry Kingsbury.
Current Payette National Forest district ranger Anthony Botello refuses to take corrective actions or to discipline employees involved. He openly has stated Larry Kingsbury's report is "false" and appears to be aiding and abetting Payette National Forest Service employees directly involved in intentionally violating Section 106 of the National Historical Preservation Act which Larry Kingsbury's report references.
I have uploaded excerpts of that report online here for convenience:
BILL TIMM'S CABIN
Bill Timm graduated from Stanford University with a degree in mining engineering, alongside president Herbert Hoover in the 1880s.
He was one of the first assayers for the US Assay office in the town of Roosevelt. He worked as postmaster for the canvas post office in Roosevelt.
He, like Hoover, dabbled in politics, once holding the title of "Senator". He left his mark on Roosevelt by building the only remaining cabin in Roosevelt from that era.
After doing his job in pointing out deficiency in the Payette National Forest's willingness to comply with the National Historical Preservation Act at Chamberlain Basin, Larry Kingsbury himself did fail to conduct a fair an adequate archaeological study to aid in the preservation of Bill Timm's cabin.
His cabin was constructed in 1903 in the historic Roosevelt Mining District, which is on the National Register of Historical Places in its entirety. Kingsbury seemed angry at Jack Walker, claim owner for "doing backhoe work" on a mining claim, which is out of the scope of a forest archaeologist's job description.
Whether he failed to conduct a fair an unbiased study while angry at Jack Walker is immaterial.
With little effort including a site visit and interviews with people who have historically visited the cabin, I was able to ascertain that Larry Kingsbury's stated build date for the cabin of "1969" was completely arbitrary and false.
Sandy McCrae, once part owner of mines at Thunder Mountain, stated that he visited the cabin in the early 1950s "frequently". So did Roxie Hines and dozens of other townsfolk from that era.
Jack Walker claims he was a good friend of Timm, and had been visiting the cabin since the 1940s. He says he bought the cabin directly from Bill Timm, who died "in the 1950s or early 1960s".
Larry Kingsbury provided me with a photo of Bill Timm, from the Stibnite Miner. Sandy McCrae states that photo is from 1949.
Incredibly, even though Bill Timm died in the 1950s, Larry Kingsbury is still insistent that Bill Timm "did not build it until 1969". Adding that makes it "non-historic" and should "be removed"(burned to the ground).
I have excerpts of that report posted here:
JIM AND GERRI ADKINS CABIN
In the early 1990s, Clem Pope, Jim Egnew, Fred Dauber, Sonny Lasalle, Jane Wurster and other prominent leaders for the Payette and Boise National Forest travelled to Stibnite, Idaho, and began openly harassing mining employees.
The above mentioned forest rangers were especially upset that Robert Stockton and his wife had cleaned up, partially renovated and moved into a cabin built by the Boy Scouts of America, which was located on private land in Stibnite.
In front of more than a dozen witnesses, Fred Dauber and Sonny Lasalle ordered Robert Stockton to "vacate the premises immediately" because "we"(Forest Service) are "going to burn it down".
Firsthand account of watching Payette National Forest management "letting" the Boy Scout Cabin "accidentally" burn. Other witnesses said they saw prominent Payette National Forest officials intentionally set the Boy Scout Cabin on fire, then used the existing wildfire as a cover story. Many Stibnite structures "accidentally" burned in similar fashion. But in the case of Jim Adkins home, the Payette National Forest paid a contractor $6,550 to set it on fire, as documents show which were obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.
Don Bork, mine manager, took offense to a group of forest rangers bullying one of his employees and ordered them off of private land. They reluctantly complied, but immediately began retaliatory attacks such as withholding unrelated mining permits. Jane Wurster repeatedly stated, in front of multiple witnesses: "if it were up to me, there would be no more mining or logging in the United States".
The Forest Service later burned the Boy Scout Cabin, power plant living quarters, and over 25 buildings on private property at Stibnite, Idaho.
The Forest Service openly denies destroying such buildings, although I personally witnessed them. And Freedom of Information Act requests have turned up very little documentation for the removal of more than two dozen structures by the US Forest Service in the historical mining district of Stibnite, on the National Register of Historical Places.
However, I was able to obtain a receipt for payment due to a contractor for "removing Jim Adkins house", the last intact home in the historic district of Stibnite.
The house was on private property. He constructed a toolshed on unpatented claims as part of Stibnite Mine's Plan of Operations. When Stibnite Mine went bankrupt in 1998, Jim Egnew and Clem Pope ordered the Adkins home be burned to the ground while Jim Adkins was undergoing open heart surgery in Boise, Idaho.
Section 106 of the National Historical Preservation Act was not followed. In fact, in a phone interview with Larry Kingsbury in 2009, the archaeologist for the Payette National Forest told me he had "no knowledge" of any of the Stibnite homes being burned to the ground. Which I found hard to believe, given the exceedingly high numbers of structures burned to the ground by forest rangers at Stibnite.
Which I have partially documented here:
PAYETTE NATIONAL FOREST USURPS NEPA STUDIES REQUIRED BY FEDERAL LAW:
Once I began documenting and recording the unlawful destruction of cabins on private land and public land, the Payette National Forest did something very strange: they closed the only access road to my private property and began openly harassing myself, my family, my guests and my friends.
I had attended nearly every single road closure meeting the Forest Service offered during the public scoping periods for the Big Creek and Yellow Pine Travel Plan. Strangely, Suzanne Rainville, supervisor for the Payette National Forest, tried to convince me "we closed your access road under the Big Creek and Yellow Pine Travel Plan. You must have missed it". So did Sue Dixon, Joe Harper.
Anthony Botello, Krassel District Ranger for the Payette National Forest finally admitted that my driveway was closed under the "Yellow Pine and Eugeren Hazardous Fuels Reduction Project", which I, nor anyone else in Yellow Pine had ever heard of. In fact, County Commissioners Frank Eld, Ray Moore and Gordon Cruickshank stated they were not informed of the project by the US Forest Service. Neither was Jason Gould, tribal leader and former president of the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Council (CRITC).
The Star News didn't publish public notice of the public scoping period required by NEPA and the 36 CFR.
Further investigation revealed that the Payette National Forest violated federal law and protocols as outlined in the Forest Plan for including "states, indian tribes and the nearest affected community" by holding public meetings 156 miles away in Boise, Idaho....which isn't even within the boundaries of the Payette National Forest. Nor "the nearest affected community" which is absolutely ludicrous. And a deliberate attempt to exclude the community that the Payette National Forest is supposed to serve.
I have documented that blatant infraction of public trust here:
The Payette National Forest has gotten into bad habits of closing public roads with zero input from the public. In the case of closing my driveway, which I believe was retaliatory, the Forest Service held public scoping meetings 150 miles away to deliberately exclude all members of the "affected public". However, Anthony Botello, Keith Lannom and other high level officials have become more brazen: skipping public comment periods altogether. Then calling their detrimental road closures "categorically excluded" even though they began closing roads without public input even before the passage of the 2014 Farm Bill.
I have documented such unlawful road closures here:
Jim Egnew, Clem Pope did unlawfully remove and destroy five cabins on the National Register of Historical Places at Cabin Creek. The Office of Inspector General has looked into the incident at Cabin Creek, but due to lack of witnesses, deemed the incident "likely an accident". With the repeat violations of the National Historical Preservation Act by these two, and others, involving the unlawful destruction of the Murder Cabin on Kenny and Marvin Jones' claim, dozens of historical buildings at Stibnite, Cinnabar, the Mile High Ranch, Dewey Moore Ranch, Willey Ranch, Davis Ranch, etc, etc,
I thoroughly believe that the five buildings burned to the ground by Jim Egnew and Clem Pope at Cabin Creek was "no meer accident".
Especially since Marvin Jones says he saw Jim Egnew, Clem Pope unlawfully burning the bunkhouse to the ground at the Sunnyside Mine on private property, shortly before Jim Egnew and Clem Pope burned down the Murder Cabin on Kenny and Marvin Jones claim. Which was in the same time period five cabins at Cabin Creek "accidentally" got burned to the ground in fires intentionally set by the Payette National Forest rangers. To be fair, they claimed they were "burning garbage " when the flames suddenly got away from the group of professional forest fire fighters.
I attest that the above statement is accurate and true to the best of my knowledge and abilities. I am prepared to testify under oath in the event that criminal charges are brought forth against US Forest Service employees I believe have been operating outside of the law and have knowingly and willfully violated their oaths of office and the public trust.
A concerned citizen of the United States of America