AUGUST 25, 2017 11:23 AM
The founder of an Idaho patriots’ group will avoid jail if he serves a short stint on an inmate work crew for pulling a gun on a woman who served him with a court summons.
Brandon Curtiss, 43, who was then president of the 3% of Idaho, was living in a rental home in Fruitland, in Payette County, when an employee of Tri-County Process Serving, of Boise, knocked on the front door. The papers provided Curtiss with legal notice that he had been sued in Ada County by a client of his Meridian property-management firm.
Moments later, Curtiss, armed with a handgun in a holster, came from around the back side of the house and confronted the woman from about 25 feet away.
“Get the (expletive) off my property. I have a gun and I’m going to use it,” the woman said Curtiss told her, as he pulled the gun partly out of its holster, according to a Fruitland police report. “I’m going to (expletive) shoot you if you don’t get off my (expletive) property.”
After telling Curtiss she would leave, the woman left the summons on the porch.
The incident occurred Aug. 9, 2016. Curtiss was charged with felony aggravated assault. That charge was dismissed last month in exchange for Curtiss pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge of disturbing the peace.
Payette County Magistrate Robert Jackson sentenced Curtiss to 180 days in jail but suspended all but 40 days. The judge told Curtiss he would credit him for two days of jail for every day he spent on the work crew. He gave him a year to complete the 20 days of service.
Jackson also placed Curtiss on unsupervised probation for two years, fined him $300 and ordered him to complete an anger management course. He also ordered Curtiss to send a letter of apology to the victim, which court records say Curtiss did.
The lawsuit by Woodside Properties was one of several legal entanglements that Curtiss found himself in as his “3 Percenters” took part in events opposing Muslim refugees in Twin Falls, supporting ranchers whose conviction on arson charges prompted the takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, and other causes. The group said it promoted “freedom, liberty and the Constitution.”
He collected rent for landlords but kept the money
Woodside Properties, owned by Hugh and Gail Giguiere, said Curtiss failed to turn over rents he collected for managing properties they owned.
Curtiss lost that lawsuit. In January, Ada County Magistrate Roger Cockerille ordered Curtiss and his companies, Curtiss Property Management and Liberty Property Management, to pay Woodside $5,219. However, no payments have been made, according to online court records.
That case echoed one in 2015 in which an Ada County judge awarded $19,726 plus $48,823 in attorney fees to another couple from whom Curtiss kept rental payments he had collected for them. No payments have been made in that case, either.
The Idaho State Police have been investigating similar claims against Curtiss by other clients.
He took money from his 3% group, members say
Curtiss also took money that didn’t belong to him from the 3% group, according to former members. Last fall, 36 members, many in leadership positions, resigned after accusing Curtiss of spending the group’s money on unauthorized car accessories, car washes, meals and other expenses. The money was supposed to assist four Idaho men arrested in the 2014 standoff with federal agents at Cliven Bundy’s ranch in Nevada.
Curtiss said he did not misappropriate any of the money collected from fundraisers for the men. He promised that an independent auditor would examine the group’s books and the results would be made public. That never occurred.
Rick Tuha, a Nampa attorney who represents Curtiss, did not respond to a request for comment.