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An Unseemly Tax

On November 18, 2012, in Uncategorized, by Scott Alexander Meiner

Meghann Cuniff, of the Idaho Statesman, highlights the troubling prosecution of retired Air Force Colonel William Oldenburg–including the seizure and attempted forfeiture of Oldenburg’s assets. Oldenburg complains [and one can see why] that he is being prevented from hiring effective counsel. Of equal concern, the same prosecutorial agents empowered to starve Oldenburg of effective counsel are permitted to negotiate plea deals directing extracted forfeiture proceeds to the very departments participating in the forfeiture:

But William Oldenburg, the 65-year-old owner of two businesses targeted in the Spice raids, said the government’s actions have crippled his ability to hire a lawyer of his choice.

And he says it happened without justification: He has yet to be convicted of a crime and plans to fight the 11-count grand jury indictment at a trial scheduled for Nov. 27. Oldenburg, who retired from the Air Force as a colonel after nearly 30 years of service and has no criminal record, estimates the government has seized more than $2 million in assets from him, including control of dozens of rental properties his lawyer says he acquired during his military service. He describes himself as a taxpaying citizen who follows the law. He’s out of jail awaiting trial, and his stores remain open.

“This is more of the government attempting to disrupt the hard work of a retired Air Force colonel than actually punishing somebody for selling drug paraphernalia,” said Oldenburg’s court-appointed lawyer, Dennis Charney of Eagle. “The government has taken somebody who was pretty well off and could have afforded an attorney and has instead required the taxpayers to pay for his attorney. It’s ridiculous.”

(Excerpted from Meghann Cuniff, Treasure Valley business owner questions Spice forfeiture case, The Idaho Statesman, 18 Nov. 2012.)


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