Saturday, December 20, 2008

Paddle No. 70

Has my respect.

About 100 people were in the auction room, bidding on the 144 parcels on the block.

The BLM alleged that a "nuisance bidder," who acquired leases near Moab, had no intention of actually buying the parcels. Salt Lake City police detained the bidder, carrying paddle No. 70, and questioned him.

Kathleen Sgamma, director of government affairs for the Independent Petroleum Association of Mountain States, said the bidder was communicating with the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance during the auction.

SUWA attorney Steve Bloch denied that was the case.

BLM spokeswoman Terry Catlin said the detained bidder admitted "buying" more than 10 parcels worth up to $5 million.

At midday Friday, the agency was trying to decide whether to re-offer those parcels, but noted some of the losing bidders already had left.

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