Bring in the militia, but leave the guns behind. That's the plea from a Wisconsin family about to lose their farm as they fight back in an unconventional way.
There's no argument: the family is behind on their mortgage to the tune of about a quarter million dollars. But the legal arguments they're making to keep their farm are interesting, to say the least.
Driving the back roads of rural St. Croix County, Wisconsin, we come upon the scene that greeted the local sheriff Tuesday: a roadblock with tons of farm equipment sitting in the middle of a long driveway -- an eviction interrupted.
The woman who refuses to leave her farm is Bonnie Tennessen.
"It's a fun one, yeah," she said. "We caught the mortgage company in fraud."
Now, she's asking for backup from the underground militia, posting this request on a militia website asking: "is there anyone in Wisconsin willing to help us stand-off the county sheriff? He is threatening to bring out the SWAT team."
"We were not asking for anyone to come out with guns, we weren't trying to start a civil war," Tennessen said.
They didn't get any volunteers, but the sheriff said he wouldn't have been surprised.
"We have noticed an increase in what I call sovereign citizens -- people who want to denounce their citizenship in the U.S. and govern themselves," said Sheriff John Stilts.
On the eviction documents at the courthouse, Tennessen scribbled in red ink "the law does not apply." But her legal arguments are a bit obtuse.
"The sheriff's department -- a lot of people don't understand -- doesn't have any right to seize non-federal land under the Constitution," Tennessen said.
Furthermore, Tennessen claims the bank doesn't have the constitutional authority to separate her title from the mortgage, and bundle that mortgage with others and resell it -- a controversial, but common practice.
"It's against the law of the constitution to separate the two -- they have to stay together," she claimed.
The patient sheriff says he's willing to hear her arguments.
"I am there to try to make sense of it and in some cases I have a job to do," Stilts said.
Wearing a kitty sweater, Bonnie Tennessen hardly seems like a revolutionary. And the truth is as familiar as it is simple.
"Long story short, we fell behind," she said.
She's just a woman trying to hold on to her farm, anyway she can.
"I'm very concerned with what's happening in this country, people walking all over other people because they don't know any better," Tennessen said.
The farm has already been sold at a sheriff's auction to another bank, but Tennessen claims she sold it to her brother in a quit claim deed sale prior to the auction. The sheriff says he wants to take a look at all the documents and check them out before taking the next step.
A spokesperson for JP Morgan Chase declined to comment.
KDFW FOX 4
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