By Dan Christensen, FloridaBulldog.org
The day before the FBI arrested Roger Stone during a pre-dawn raid at his rented, canal-front home in ritzy Las Olas Isles, the presiding U.S. magistrate authorized a pair of sealed search warrants.
One of those warrants was served Friday morning as agents took President Trump’s longtime political advisor into custody following his indictment on seven felony counts arising from Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigation of alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. The charges: obstruction of official proceedings, making false statements to investigators and witness tampering.
“Twenty-nine FBI agents showed up at my home, pounded on the door. I opened the door to pointed automatic weapons,” Stone told Alex Jones of InfoWars. “I was handcuffed. There were 17 vehicles in the street with their lights on. They terrorized my wife and my dogs. They executed a search warrant to search the premises.”
What the FBI obtained during that search, and any other location agents in South Florida agents may have searched, isn’t known. At the same time in New York City, agents executed a warrant to search Stone’s Upper East Side apartment.
A copy of the New York warrant was obtained by CNN, but not “Attachment A” which shows what they were looking for. The inventory of what was seized in New York was filed under seal with the court clerk.
The indictment was handed down on Thursday. Mueller’s office asked the court to seal it until Stone could be arrested.
“Law enforcement believes that publicity resulting from disclosure of the indictment and related materials on the public record prior to arrest will increase the risk of the defendant fleeing and destroying (or tampering with) evidence,” a court paper says. The nature of that evidence was not disclosed.
Stone could not be reached for comment.
The two-story, four-bedroom, 3,850-square-foot Fort Lauderdale home at 447 Coral Way now occupied by Stone and his wife, Nydia, is owned by Mark A. Papp of Gainesville, GA. The Broward Property Appraiser values it at about $1.6 million.
Papp said he was not contacted by the FBI, and called the Stones “wonderful tenants.” He declined to say how long the Stones have lived at the home or disclose the rent they pay. Zillow’s rent estimate is $11,116 a month. An expired online advertisement said the monthly rent was $7,800.
“They are just wonderful people and we were sorry that they have gotten pulled into this witch hunt,” Papp said.
The Coral Way address is the latest in a string of high-end, waterfront home rentals for the Stones in Broward and Miami-Dade. A good reason for that is likely the $1.48 million in outstanding federal tax liens against the couple on any property they might own.
The liens, recorded against the couple in both Broward and Miami-Dade, are for unpaid income taxes, penalties and interest assessed against the Stones for the years 2006-2011. Some of the liens have been outstanding since 2010.
The basis for the assessed, unpaid taxes against the Stones is not known. IRS records are subject to strict confidentiality laws.
Six years ago, Stone told Florida Bulldog his attorneys were in talks with the IRS to resolve the matter.
Also not known is why the IRS has not moved more aggressively to collect the back taxes it claims the Stones owe from as long as a dozen years ago.
Here is what the IRS tells taxpayers will happen if taxes are not paid on time:
“There are stiff penalties for not paying your taxes. With monthly late fees and interest charges, the amount you owe can grow exponentially in size, making it even more difficult to pay,” says a notice posted at the U.S. Tax Center.
“The longer your taxes go unpaid, the bigger the consequences – leading all the way to asset seizure and even incarceration.”