Far-right activist Ammon Bundy has claimed to have approximately $50,000. He actually controls ten times that much, according to a hospital that is suing him.
Bundy, who made his name in a pair of armed standoffs against the federal government, is being sued by an Idaho hospital group, after a Bundy-led mob falsely accused the hospital of being a nexus for child sex-trafficking. Bundy repeatedly failed to participate in the hospital’s defamation lawsuit, leading a jury to order a $52 million verdict against Bundy and his co-defendants this year. Now the hospital is suing Bundy again, this time for allegedly hiding assets to avoid paying his share of the $52 million.
On Monday afternoon, Bundy appeared in court for the first time in his legal battle with St. Luke’s Health Systems. During the court appearance (which came days after a weekend arrest on contempt charges stemming from the hospital’s first lawsuit against him) Bundy insisted that he was the victim of an “an absolute political prosecution.”
Speaking during the hearing for a temporary restraining order, Bundy claimed St. Luke’s is “attacking me because I exposed them.”
In fact, St. Luke’s employees claimed in their first lawsuit that Bundy and his associates, including the far-right group People’s Rights Network, had put doctors and the hospital at risk with wild conspiracy theories falsely accusing them of trafficking children. Bundy was previously arrested and pleaded guilty to trespassing in the hospital’s ambulance bay, during a protest that temporarily put the medical facility on lockdown.
But throughout the hospital’s first lawsuit, Bundy remained adamant that he would not pay any of the plaintiffs, even suggesting last year that he would engage in another armed standoff.
“They’re suing me for defamation. They’re probably going to try to get judgments of over a million dollars and take everything they have from me,” Bundy said in a December video. “And I’m not going to let that happen. I’m making moves to stop that from happening. And if I have to meet ‘em on the front door with my, you know, friends and a shotgun, I’ll do that. They’re not going to take my property.”
“Yeah, this is a deal, you’re not paying full price for it, but you don’t owe me anything, this is it.”
Shortly before filming that video, according to a new lawsuit from St. Luke’s, Bundy took steps to prevent the court from seizing his house. That allegedly included selling the million-dollar home to his former gubernatorial campaign treasurer for a quarter of its value and continuing to live on the property for a cut-rate rent.
Around November, Bundy asked Aaron Welling “if he (Mr. Welling) wanted to purchase the Real Property from Bundy and Lisa M. Bundy, and that he needed him to do it quickly,” reads the latest lawsuit, which quotes from a deposition by Welling. “Mr. Welling also testified that Bundy knew Mr. Welling was not paying full price for the Real Property, and that Mr. Welling himself knew it was worth ‘probably close to a million.’”
Welling bought the home for $250,000 this year, court records show.
During the deposition, Welling recalled that Bundy “did say to me, he’s like, ‘Yeah, this is a deal, you’re not paying full price for it, but you don’t owe me anything, this is it.’ He made sure that was really clear, because I said I didn’t feel comfortable with it at first. I said that’s a little low, but he said it helped him out.”
According to the lawsuit, Bundy and his family continued to live in the house, while Bundy told the media his savings were too modest to cover St. Luke’s demands. “I have a few cars that I own,” Bundy told the Idaho Capital Sun this spring, adding that he also had some tools and approximately $50,000 in cash.
St. Luke’s lawyers claim the house sale was a sweetheart deal. The property was assessed late last year as being worth between $1,000,000 and $1,100,000. A rental agreement, included in the latest lawsuit, shows that Bundy and his family agreed to lease their house from Welling for the next five years for a discount rate of $2,620 per month, while continuing to manage the estate’s orchard.
Bundy has failed to disclose other holdings, St. Luke’s lawyers allege. “Ammon Bundy owns or controls, through various entities, other real property estimated to have a collective market value in excess of $5,000,000,” their lawsuit alleges.
Some of those funds are allegedly stashed in cryptocurrency.
“Upon information and belief, since the filing of the 2022 Bundy Lawsuit, Ammon Bundy has diverted, hidden, and concealed donations of cash and/or crypto currency intended for PRN to benefit himself and others involved in the smear campaign central to the facts underlying the 2022 Bundy Lawsuit,” the latest suit alleges.
The suit also suggests he has funds stashed in an Idaho credit union, citing a Facebook post he made in 2020, when he lauded the credit union for relaxed masking policies during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A Gem County, Idaho judge issued a temporary restraining order against Bundy on Monday, temporarily prohibiting him from making other large cash and property transfers. Bundy is also facing civil contempt charges from his failure to appear in the first lawsuit. He was arrested on those charges this weekend, and left jail on a $10,000 bond.
Ironically, Bundy’s Monday court appearance—a first during his St. Luke’s feud—was not legally required. Hearings for temporary restraining orders often take place without the subject of the restraining order, a judge noted.
Still, a lawyer for St. Luke’s expressed optimism at seeing Bundy in the courtroom.
“It’s great today that he’s in court and we can start exploring these things in front of a judge,” the lawyer said.