Court: Cattle in foreclosure case will be inspected, sold


By Ellen Bardash, The Daily Republic (SD) 

Mar 27, 2019


ARMOUR -- More than 15 attorneys representing two dozen parties gathered in the Douglas County Courthouse Wednesday morning for a motions hearing in the multi-million-dollar foreclosure case against Robert and Becky Blom of Corsica.


Though a decision to inspect and ultimately sell the cattle involved was made after nearly three and a half hours, Judge Bruce Anderson said that none of those attorneys, their clients or himself were able to answer all the questions that arose during the hearing.


“This is possibly the biggest stinkin’ legal mess I’ve ever seen,” said Anderson, who later said that the case has taken and will likely continue to take so much time and attention that he would consider having a retired judge preside over it.


The motions hearing addressed controversy among the parties about whether or not the cattle that have not yet been moved should be sold.


Those that wanted sales to move forward stated that keeping the cattle on the feedlots is not only incurring significant costs, but is putting the cattle at risk, as they have started to slip and fall in the mud, increasing the possibility for injury or death.


Receiver Lew Dirks, who was appointed by the court at the beginning of February to investigate the case and has a credit account with First Dakota National Bank that is used to cover expenses while the case is pending, said he’s already used over $100,000 and that expenses like feed and yardage are costing an estimated $84,000 each week the cattle remain unsold.


The parties in opposition to selling the cattle immediately argued that the animals need to be investigated before the sale to identify which belong to whom. One of the attorneys present said that selling the cattle would be good for the bank, but no one else involved.


Anderson’s decision was to allow for a 20-day inspection period, during which a brand inspector and interested parties can mark down which of the cattle on the feedlots they believe are theirs and what, such as tags or brands, makes them think so.


Dirks is responsible for organizing a schedule of when each pen of cattle will be evaluated. He estimated at the hearing that, based on past experience, it would take a week of 10-hour workdays to get through all the cattle.


After that 20-day inspection window ends, Dirks will start liquidating the cattle…


... one set of cattle that were sold 7.88 times (in some sales only a fraction of the group were sold). An earlier court proceeding estimated that more than 27,800 cattle were unaccounted for...