Cass County, Michigan, prosecutor Scott Teter sure knows how to rub salt in an open wound. Teter, the man who presided over the events that led like a Greek tragedy to the deaths of Rainbow Farm owners and long-time marijuana activists Tom Crosslin and Rollie Rohm a year ago (http://www.drcnet.org/wol/202.html#rainbowfarm), took the occasion of this year's looming Labor Day weekend anniversary of their killings to announce that the property would be auctioned off under conditions designed to ensure it could never again be used as a place of fun, music, pot smoking and anti-drug war agitation.
Crosslin and Rohm were shot to death by law enforcement officers during a stand-off at Rainbow Farm last Labor Day weekend, an event that was obliterated from the public consciousness eight days later by the events of last September 11. Crosslin and Rohm had retreated to the farm as a last resort after Teter moved to revoke their bail in a pending criminal prosecution because they organized a pro-marijuana rally at the farm. Both men faced years in prison beginning that day; instead, they returned to their long-time home and began burning buildings they feared were destined to be seized by Teter.
After the men's deaths, Teter indeed initiated a civil forfeiture action. But he told the South Bend (Indiana) Tribune last week that he had cut a deal with the estate of Rollie Rohm's son Robert, now 14, who was taken from Rainbow Farm by state agents last summer and has been placed in foster care despite the requests of his grandparents to raise him. The 43-acre property would be divided into parcels and auctioned to the highest bidder, with the proceeds going to Robert Rohm, Teter said, pronouncing himself "very pleased with this agreement."
And no wonder. It ensures that Rainbow Farm will not rise from the ashes -- now or ever. According to Teter, the deed to each parcel will include a restrictive covenant that the land may never be used as a campground or entertainment venue again. Also, any potential buyers must be vetted by county officials, who may block the sale if someone they consider an unseemly person (such as a Rainbow Farm friend or sympathizer) attempts to buy the land.
"We can conduct background checks on the buyer if necessary," Teter said. "Basically, we did not want the campground to be reopened under any circumstances. We didn't want a repeat of what happened there before."
Teter may be pleased, but relatives and supporters of the two dead men are not. Rollie Rohm's stepfather, John Livermore, told the Tribune the county had always been after the land and that an auction will bring "only pennies on the dollar," thus victimizing Rohm's son once again. And former Rainbow Farm manager Doug Leinbach told the Tribune he had received e-mail from Robert saying he doesn't want the farm to be sold. "He says it's the only thing he has to remember his father," Leinbach said.