Crime

3% of Idaho founder charged after process server says he threatened her with gun

Brandon Curtiss speaks to reporters at the Malheur National Refuge outside Burns, Ore., in January 2016. Curtiss, president of 3% of Idaho, joined a group of armed men who set up a security perimeter during the standoff at the refuge.
Brandon Curtiss speaks to reporters at the Malheur National Refuge outside Burns, Ore., in January 2016. Curtiss, president of 3% of Idaho, joined a group of armed men who set up a security perimeter during the standoff at the refuge. The Associated Press

Brandon Curtiss, sued after he failed to turn over rents and other payments on properties he managed for clients, was charged last month in Payette County after a confrontation with a woman serving him papers for an Ada County lawsuit.

The incident happened Aug. 9 when the process server for Tri County Process Serving of Boise went to a Fruitland home rented by Curtiss in the 400 block of N.W. 9th St. The woman said she knocked on the front door. Moments later, Curtiss came from around the back side of the house and confronted her.

“Get the (expletive) off my property. I have a gun and I’m going to use it,” the woman said Curtiss told her, according to an incident report filed by Officer Brian Wallace of the Fruitland Police Department. “I’m going to (expletive) shoot you if you don’t get off my (expletive) property.”

Curtiss, who was about 25 feet away from the woman, had his right hand on the butt of his handgun, with the snap of his holster undone, she said. As Curtiss was yelling at her, he pulled the gun partially out of the holster, she told police.

After telling Curtiss she would leave, the woman left the papers, concerning a lawsuit filed in Ada County by Woodside Properties, on the porch.

As she got into her vehicle, Curtiss approached and tried to hand her back the papers. He ended up shoving them under her windshield wiper. The woman turned on the wipers and the papers fell onto the ground as she pulled away.

“I was fearful for my life,” the woman told police after driving to the Fruitland Police Department.

She spoke to Wallace, who said she was crying.

“While I was speaking with (the victim), I could visibly see she was upset. (Her) speech was rapid, shaky and cracking. (Her) hands were shaking and she appeared to be distraught,” Wallace wrote in his report, released to the Statesman on Thursday following a public records request to the Payette County Court.

Fruitland Police Chief J.D. Huff later spoke by telephone with Curtiss, 43, who said he had “no trespassing” signs posted on the property and that the woman illegally trespassed.

He said he was talking with his child when he saw a woman peeking through the front window, Huff wrote in a supplemental report.

“Curtiss said he became very angry and went around the back of the house to ... confront the woman,” Huff wrote.

Curtiss said he yelled profanities at the woman and demanded that she identify herself. He said the woman dropped her papers on the doorstep and retreated to her vehicle.

He admitted telling the woman he was armed and “was going to use it if she didn’t get off his property,” Huff wrote.

Curtiss said the woman spun her tires as she drove away, spraying him with rocks.

Curtiss was charged Jan. 9 with aggravated assault and was arraigned Jan. 23. He is scheduled to return to court March 6 for a preliminary hearing before Magistrate Brian Lee.

In the Ada County case brought by Woodside Properties, the company won a default judgment of $5,219 on Jan. 12 against Curtiss and his dissolved companies, Curtiss Property Management and Liberty Property Management.

Curtiss came under public scrutiny after he portrayed himself as a successful Meridian property manager in a story that appeared in the Oregonian during last year’s standoff at the Malheur Wildlife Refuge. Curtiss, founder and president of 3% of Idaho, joined a group of armed men who set up a security perimeter near the refuge.

After that story ran, business clients of Curtiss contacted the Idaho Statesman to say Curtiss failed to deposit rent money he had collected.

Early last year, Curtiss filed for bankruptcy, listing assets of $13,230 and debts of $235,000.

The Idaho State Police have been investigating Curtiss after at least 17 property owners who say he owes them money filed complaints with that agency and the Idaho Attorney General’s Office.

Then last September, former members of 3% of Idaho accused Curtiss of improperly spending money from its bank and PayPal accounts. Curtiss denied the charges and said an audit report would be issued exonerating him. Such a report was never issued.

That same month, Liberty Property Management was fined $7,200 after failing to carry workers compensation insurance for its employees.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Curtiss was not detained and taken to jail, but was served a court summons after the charge against him was filed. An earlier version of this report was unclear on that process.

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