St. Luke’s has won significant battles recently in its fight against far-right activist Ammon Bundy.
The health system, which won a defamation case against Bundy and one of his associates this year, has taken ownership of his Emmett property and succeeded in getting Bundy’s websites removed from the internet.
Ever since an Ada County jury ordered that Bundy, Diego Rodriguez and their entities had to pay $52.5 million in damages for defaming St. Luke’s and some of its employees, the health system has been pushing hard to collect money. It has also been trying to get Bundy and Rodriguez to remove false, defamatory online statements about St. Luke’s and its staff as part of a judicial order.
This week, St. Luke’s made gains on both fronts.
When Bundy refused to begin making damage payments, St. Luke’s was able to go after his assets instead. St. Luke’s asked 3rd District Judge Brent Whiting to undo the sale of Bundy’s home, alleging that he sold it illegally last year to put an asset beyond a creditor’s reach, which is considered a fraudulent conveyance under the law.
Aaron Welling, a close associate of Bundy’s, purchased the property — and all the furniture and appliances in it — through his corporation White Barn Enterprises for $250,000 last December, according to court records.
Land Advisors Organization, a Boise real estate agency, stated in court filings that the house and property were worth at least $1 million. Bundy and his family continued to rent the Emmett house and live there until last month, according to court documents.
Now, it’s not clear where Bundy is.
Bundy’s wife, Lisa Bundy, made statements on social media last month suggesting that her family was moving, and those following her wished her goodbye.
“Mr. Bundy and Mr. Rodriguez continue to defy orders, hide assets, and now they both are in hiding,” St. Luke’s attorney Erik Stidham told the Idaho Statesman in a message. “St. Luke’s and the individual plaintiffs will continue to pursue their rights to collect the jury verdict and enforce the Court’s injunction. Mr. Bundy’s fleeing and hiding will not deter collection and enforcement of the injunction.”
Bundy could have tried to fight the fraudulent conveyance claims in court, but failed to appear for hearings and filed case documents incorrectly — twice. The judge found him in default, meaning he essentially forfeited his case, and the sale was ruled fraudulent.
Welling, who has been cooperative with the court, agreed to hand the Emmett property over to St. Luke’s, according to documentation filed Friday afternoon. The transfer was described as part of a “settlement agreement,” according to the document. The property is now officially in St. Luke’s hands.
Stidham told the Statesman that it was “clear Mr. Bundy had left” because the house was “stripped bare” when St. Luke’s conducted a home assessment in Emmett in November. Bundy violated a judge’s order by removing the home’s furnishings and other contents that were part of the sale, according to Stidham, who said St. Luke’s intends to move for contempt charges and sanctions.
Bundy, Rodriguez lose online platforms
When it came to the defamatory statements online, St. Luke’s not only succeeded in getting those removed, but was able to get entire websites run by the defendants to be stricken from the internet.
Web hosting services removed sites run by the Bundy-founded People’s Rights Network, Freedom Man Press (run by Rodriguez) and Bundy’s campaign website. He ran for governor as an independent last year.
A new People’s Rights Network website was available under a different domain name Friday afternoon. Stidham said his legal team was working to get it removed as well.
YouTube also removed dozens of videos containing misinformation from the defendants.
Stidham confirmed to the Statesman that St. Luke’s attorneys had requested these actions be taken.
“After review of your legal complaint, the content in question has been blocked from view on the country domain,” the YouTube Team wrote St. Luke’s legal team in an email shared with the Statesman.
Bundy and Rodriguez began making defamatory statements about St. Luke’s, its CEO and some medical professionals after leading protests at hospitals in Meridian and Boise in March 2022 over a child welfare case involving Rodriguez’s 10-month-old grandchild.
The defendants were found to have posted multiple lies about why the baby was taken into custody. They posted videos and blogs saying the hospital was working with the Idaho government to take children away from Christian families to be sexually abused and given to gay couples, according to court documents.