Wis. Man in Standoff Over Unpaid Taxes
VIOLA, Wis. (AP)
A landowner with "strong anti-government attitudes" barricaded himself in his rural home Thursday and fired shots at SWAT officers trying to search his home and arrest him, authorities said. No one was injured.
The dispute started Monday when Richland County sheriff's deputies tried to serve Robert Bayliss, 60, with a lawsuit seeking to evict him for failure to pay property taxes back to 2001 on his home and 18 acres, Richland county counsel Benjamin Southwick said.
The county took ownership of the land in November because of the unpaid taxes, Southwick said.
Rifle shots were fired at officers who went to the property Monday, said Darin Gudgeon, the Richland County emergency management director. On Thursday, SWAT officers used an armored vehicle to try to serve the search and arrest warrants but encountered shots and ended up in a standoff, Gudgeon said.
No one has been hurt, he said.
"We are still trying to open up lines of communication," Gudgeon said Thursday. The landowner was alone and had barricaded himself inside the home, he said.
Bayliss was known as "a person who had very strong anti-government attitudes and beliefs" and who would carry a rifle and show it, Southwick said.
He owes $5,647 in delinquent taxes and interest on the land and has not paid the taxes for seven years, according to the county treasurer's office.
Viola is a town of about 700 people 70 miles northwest of Madison.
In October, a New Hampshire property where two tax evaders holed up for months refusing to serve prison sentences was cleared of explosives and seized by the federal government. Ed and Elaine Brown are serving five years in prison.
Copyright © 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.