A longtime anti-government activist’s house was sold at a public auction Tuesday, potentially ending Clark County’s years-long effort to collect back property tax payments from the man.
The county’s treasurer’s office sold the property for $63,099. David Darby, who hadn’t paid taxes on his Amboy property since 2008, owed the county nearly $23,000. If the sale goes through, the treasurer’s office expects to recoup Darby’s unpaid taxes from the new owner, along with other fees associated with the auction. The property has a total taxable value of $154,712.
The high bidder, Richard Grady of Vancouver, has until 4 p.m. today to pay the treasurer’s office, or else the property will be put up for sale again, according to the treasurer’s office.
Despite the sale, Darby has said he has no intention of vacating the 4.7-acre property, where a manufactured home rests on blocks. But with the auction completed, Treasurer Doug Lasher said the county’s involvement with Darby is conceivably over.
“We’re done with it,” he said. “This is (now) a private matter between Mr. Darby and the new owner.”
The online auction of the property came on the heels of a court ruling.
Darby, a onetime local militia leader, proclaimed himself a sovereign citizen in 2008 and 2009. Sovereign citizens believe they’re exempt from paying property taxes and other fees. He stopped paying property taxes in 2009, leading to a years-long legal dispute.
Since 2012, his case has been tied up in Clark County Superior Court. In August, a judge authorized the county to sell the property at auction. The county typically sells foreclosure properties once a year, in February. The county plans to auction another 52 properties during its annual winter sale.
Darby said he plans to appeal the judge’s ruling and doesn’t plan to budge from his property.
“The county may think they’re done with me, but they’re not,” he said.
The Clark County Sheriff’s Office has said it would only forcibly remove someone from a property with a court order.
“A deputy responding to such a call would view this as a civil matter and suggest the new owner contact an attorney to seek a civil remedy,” sheriff’s office spokesman Sgt. Fred Neiman said.
Darby expressed remorse for the property’s new owner, saying Grady will have to jump through legal hoops to obtain the property. Grady could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
“I’m not feeling bad about this at all,” Darby said.