BOISE – More than 30 members of an Idaho militia group say they’ve resigned after the group’s president spent $2,900 in donations on personal items rather than using it to help four Idaho men facing charges from a 2014 armed standoff with government agents in Nevada.
The 36 members in mainly leadership positions of Idaho 3% announced the resignations Tuesday in a letter obtained by the Idaho Statesman.
The former members say that PayPal and bank account statements show that Brandon Curtiss used the money for unauthorized car accessory purchases, including about $300 on automotive parts that allow diesel engines on pickups to produce thick clouds of smoke.
The group says other purchases included iTunes music downloads, car washes, camping at an Idaho state park, food at restaurants, and other charges.
Curtiss said Tuesday he’d issue a statement but hasn’t done so.
One of the four Idaho men facing charges is Scott Drexler of Challis.
His daughter, Chelsea Hamel, said the PayPal and bank statements show that “a lot of money had been donated and our families never received anything from Brandon with the exception of the occasional $50.”
She said the four men received only $429 from the militia group’s donation efforts over the summer.
Drexler, Todd Engel of Boundary County and Eric Parker and Steve Stewart of Hailey are charged with conspiracy, assault on a federal officer, use of a firearm, obstruction and other counts stemming from the April 2014 armed standoff with federal officers who were thwarted from taking cattle belonging to senior patriarch and Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy in Bunkerville, Nevada.
They’re scheduled to go to trial in federal court in Nevada early next year.
“There stands before this patriot community an issue that must be laid to rest in order for us to render unto our brothers and their families the support that they need,” the resignation letter reads before listing financial dealings for which the group says Curtiss is responsible.
The list includes charges that added up to about $570 for having an account that was often overdrawn.
Curtiss has filed for bankruptcy three times since 2001. An Ada County court ordered him to pay a Portland couple about $70,000 after he failed to turn over rents and deposits owed on a rental property he managed for the couple.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox
Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.