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27,800 head of cattle unaccounted for in Corsica foreclosure case

The Douglas County courthouse. (Republic file photo)

CORSICA—A report filed this week shows a man involved in a Corsica foreclosure case sold the same cattle to as many as four parties and has not accounted for more than 27,800 head.

Fifty-three interested parties have now been identified in the case against Robert and Becky Blom. An interim report filed March 5 by receiver Lewis Dirks indicated that as of Feb. 14, only 15 percent of the cattle which 29 parties claimed to have under the Bloms' feedlot were currently being held between four lots, and some parties had received checks that bounced.

"At the time of the hearing on February 14, 2019, I had not determined a reason for being short so many head of cattle," wrote Dirks in his report, stating that he had originally planned to start sorting out which cattle belonged to whom by looking for brands.

But the day after the hearing, Dirks wrote, he was approached by someone who said he had seen the same invoice in both his own and another party's paperwork.

"Investigation revealed that Robert Blom had collected money on the same group of cattle from multiple individuals," Dirks wrote. "I now have some groups of cattle being sold to as many as four different individuals."

As of Feb. 14, Dirks reported that between the 29 interested parties he had spoken to at that point, 32,758.6 head of cattle were believed to be under Robert Blom's feedlot. (The rationale for the 0.6 head is not included in the report). With 4,953 head reported as currently being on one of four feedlots, that leaves more than 27,805.6 head unaccounted for at the time Dirks' report was submitted.

Dirks said that while he was at the Blom feedlot on Feb. 8, he was told that up to 35 truckloads of cattle had been removed from the feedlots the previous day, although he has not seen paperwork to verify how many head of cattle that might have included.

He wrote that he had documentation that cattle had been moved back and forth between Robert and Becky Blom's feedlot and the feedlot run by their son, Taylor Blom.

"At this time, I have no explanation as to why cattle were moved back and forth," Dirks wrote.

The owners of two feedlots have filed liens on the cattle in their lots and told Dirks they had not been paid for feed and yardage for December and January, resulting in outstanding bills totaling $416,795.78.

Dirks estimated that with the cost of keeping cattle on those feedlots and caring for them, every additional week cattle are not sold will incur $84,000 in expenses. He wrote that although he planned to liquidate the cattle at the end of February, objections and a lack of paperwork prevented him from doing so.

Also identified in the interim report are claims from two people who said they paid Robert Blom a total of $526,000 to cover the purchase of corn to feed their cattle.

The case was brought by First Dakota National Bank on Feb. 8 with a complaint stating the Bloms had overdrawn their account by more than $1 million and owed a principal amount of more than $6.7 million.

"At this time, I have no idea how large this payable account will become," Dirks wrote.

There are not currently any upcoming hearings scheduled in the case.

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