In December of 2008, The U.S. Bureau of Land Management under the presidency of George W. Bush tried to auction over 150,000 acres of land in Utah, land that surrounded Canyonlands, Arches and other landmarks, to oil and gas companies.
Many environmental groups activated, protested, and tried to block the auctions and debate their legality. The auctions were rushed in order to be completed before the Obama presidency began. The bureau broke it’s own rules and did not complete climate change studies and other environmental impact studies before pushing the auction. Because of the speed of the auctions and federal backing of the sale… protest groups were unsuccessful in stopping the auction.
A 27-year-old student went to the auctions, registered as a bidder and used paddle #70 to place bids, winning on over 22,000 acres of land for over one and a half million dollars, and driving the prices up on many, many other acres until the auction was stopped as people became aware of what he was doing.
He had no intention of paying for the auctions he won. He had no means to do so. He committed fraud, and by doing so, forced the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to postpone the sale of the land until after the new administration took command. At that time the new head of the interior overturned the leases on all of the land and deemed the auction illegal.
Today the oil and gas companies have been unable to develop the land and the acres remain pristine.
Today, that student, Tim DeChristopher was sentenced for two years in jail for his actions.
This one goes out to you Bidder70.
Thank you, Tim.