Very informative and impressive post you have written, this is quite interesting and i have went through it completely.
By Lindsay Toler
By Lindsay Toler
By Mitch Ryals
By Danny Wicentowski
By Lindsay Toler
By Lindsay Toler
By Danny Wicentowski
By Anne Valente
Drink all day and rock all night
Law come to get you if you don't walk right
— Robert Hunter
The Ozark region of southern Missouri is not renowned as a hotbed of psychedelic rock. Heritage-wise, the rolling hills and winding rivers have proven conducive to jug bands and dexterously plucked banjos, not jam bands and fifteen-minute guitar solos. But every summer since 2004, thousands of tie-dyed hippies have descended on the Ozarks as though it were Haight-Ashbury circa 1967.
This annual Summer of Love revival in the heart of hillbilly country is largely the work of Jimmy Tebeau. An ebullient 43-year-old who sports a chest-length red beard and a thick tangle of dreadlocks, Tebeau is the bass player and frontman of a St. Louis-based Grateful Dead tribute band called the Schwag. When the Dead's legendary lead singer Jerry Garcia died in 1995, the act, which had formed three years prior, was suddenly a hot ticket. In the summer of 1997, Tebeau organized the first Schwagstock music festivals, a series of weekend events headlined by the Schwag and staged at campgrounds in the Ozarks. The shows were popular — drawing upward of 7,000 people five times per summer — and Tebeau saw an opportunity to expand.
"The [campground] rent started becoming twice the amount of total cost of a land payment for one year," the singer explains. "It only made sense to buy a campground and customize the property to cater to this regular series of events."
About 150 miles southwest of St. Louis, near the tiny town of Salem, Tebeau found exactly what he was looking for: a 352-acre tract, bucolic and picturesque, with access to the Ozark National Scenic Riverways. From 1929 to 1986, it had been the site of a youth summer camp called Camp Zoe. In order to muster a down payment on the $530,000 parcel, Tebeau refinanced his home mortgage and borrowed money from family members. Relocating to his new spread along with his wife, Tiffany, and their two children, Tebeau resolved to resurrect the old campsite's name, wooing concertgoers with a mix of music and the great outdoors.
"It's just kind of a fun concept," says Andy Coco, whose band the Dogtown Allstars has played several Schwagstocks. "I really enjoyed being in the middle of nowhere and having a body of water to jump in and stuff like that."
Tebeau hosted a variety of events at Camp Zoe, including the Pagan Spirit Gathering, the Bluegrass Jam, biker rallies and Gateway Burners, a gathering inspired by Burning Man. He estimates that the camp has attracted more than 150,000 visitors since 2004.
With the crowds came the party.
James Mullins, a disc jockey at KDHX (88.1 FM) who volunteered to work the public-address system and spin records between sets at several Camp Zoe events, says the Schwagstock festivals in particular developed a reputation for debauchery.
"It's a stereotype that all people that go to this are heavy into drugs," Mullins says. "So there were folks that, word-of-mouth, were saying, 'Hey, go to Schwagstock; it's a hippie festival — anything goes.' I think there were probably some folks that were going for that. Not that that's why Schwagstock happened, but I'm sure some folks were thinking that."
Local entertainment lawyer Emmett McAuliffe, Tebeau's attorney and a personal friend, says goings-on at the campground were no different from what transpires at any other music festival or large gathering.
"You have problems in society at-large — drug use, violence, drunken driving, et cetera," says McAuliffe. "When you get people assembled for a recreational event, those problems are not going to disappear. As a matter of fact, you expect them to get a little worse — because it's the weekend, after all."
McAuliffe adds that Tebeau went to great lengths to keep things under control, including hiring security guards and installing lighting in high-traffic areas around the campground.
"Camp Zoe did everything that all other festivals and amphitheaters do for security, and perhaps more," the attorney says. "[Jimmy] has got a four-year-old and a two-year-old. The last thing he would want is a bunch of drug-crazed weirdos camping out on his front doorstep."
Tebeau's efforts notwithstanding, several festival attendees and performers say that in recent years the scene at the campground had gotten out of hand. One musician, who asked that his name be withheld because he does not want to jeopardize his relationships with members of the jam-band community, tells of car break-ins and thefts from campers' tents.
"There was kind of a weirdness about it, that it was getting a little dirty," says the musician. "The feeling among some of my friends was that Schwagstock was becoming slightly dangerous. Some of the kids were more runaways than they were credit-card hippies."
Concertgoers and musicians weren't the only ones concerned about the happenings at Camp Zoe.
The bacchanals eventually attracted the attention of law-enforcement officials.
Carrie Goebel went to sleep this past Halloween in her own version of paradise. She woke up to a nightmare.
The 46-year-old artist from Warrenton spent the last weekend in October 2010 camping out at Camp Zoe's Spookstock festival. "The weather was great; there were lots of good costumes," Goebel recalls. "Little kids were trick-or-treating from campsite to campsite. It was a good time. It was a great weekend."
But on the morning of Monday, November 1, Goebel and several hundred fellow Spookstock holdovers awoke to find a small army of law-enforcement officials invading the campground.
"I was making coffee, and I look over, and there was a pickup truck full of police officers, and in the back was men in camouflage," Goebel recounts. "They were going from tent to tent, telling people to get out. There was a hazmat team and police cars from Salem and Rolla. I wasn't there when the [police] dogs came, but they wrote down my driver's license info in a notebook and then filmed me leaving. I didn't know what to do. I felt like I was being terrorized."
Only later did Goebel learn that the raid was the culmination of a four-year-long investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Missouri State Highway Patrol into alleged drug use and sales by Camp Zoe concertgoers.
At the time of the raid, no one — including Tebeau — was charged with a crime. Yet federal prosecutors are attempting to seize the campground in civil court, using a statutory process called asset forfeiture.
According to a document filed November 8 in U.S. District Court of Eastern Missouri, over the past several years at Schwagstock "undercover agents observed the open sales of cocaine, marijuana, LSD (acid), ecstasy, psilocybin mushrooms, opium and marijuana-laced food products by individuals attending the music festival and made multiple undercover purchases of illegal drugs." The federal prosecutors allege that Tebeau and other Camp Zoe staff members were "in the immediate area" when the drug deals transpired and "took no immediate action to prevent the activity."
The prosecutors state that "undercover purchases have been made as recently as September 2010" — presumably during Schwagstock 45, which took place September 17 and 18, 2010 — and that the investigation dates back to 2006 and includes evidence from "surveillance, undercover operations, source information, bank records and interviews." Camp Zoe, they allege, was "knowingly opened, rented, leased, used or maintained for the purpose of manufacturing, distributing or using controlled substances."
Dan Viets, a Columbia, Missouri-based defense attorney who is representing Tebeau and Camp Zoe in conjunction with McAuliffe, says the feds' allegations are baseless. (Tebeau declined the RFT's interview request and directed all questions about the Camp Zoe case to his attorneys.)
"It's a terrible thing to think that the government could just march in and take someone's money, take someone's property," says Viets. "We haven't seen a bit of evidence to back up their claims. They can't blame the property owner just because some people who are present break the law any more than they can blame the city because crimes take place in city parks. That obviously would be fundamentally unfair."
The government isn't just trying to seize Camp Zoe. The feds also froze Tebeau's assets, including more than $188,000 in a personal bank account.
"They took all of his money," Viets says. "Whether they get to keep it is another matter, but they seized it. It is incredible what the federal government can do to people or a business based merely on allegations with no evidence whatsoever. When they take all your money, it's pretty hard to hire a lawyer. They know that, and they're depriving a citizen or a business owner of his right to counsel."
As Viets notes, the legal process has only just begun. Unless and until a judge rules otherwise, Tebeau controls the land, which is also the site of his private residence.
"The property is still in Jimmy's hands," Viets says. "The property hasn't been taken; it's just the threat of forfeiture. It's like suing somebody and asking for a million dollars. You don't have to hand over that million dollars until the judge says so."
Experts in civil forfeiture cases say Tebeau and his attorneys face an uphill battle. The way federal laws are structured, the burden of proof is on Tebeau, not the government.
Unlike in criminal cases, where prosecutors have to prove guilt "beyond a reasonable doubt," federal forfeiture proceedings require only "a preponderance of evidence" that connects personal property to a criminal enterprise. Hearsay evidence — for example, testimony from a federal agent who says a paid informant told him a car or home figured in a drug transaction — can be used to justify forfeiture, even though it would likely be inadmissible in a criminal case, says Eapen Thampy, cofounder of the nonprofit group Americans for Forfeiture Reform.
"These laws are designed to be complex and very complicated," Thampy says. "There's lots of ins and outs, but the long and short of it is they're designed to hinder people from defending themselves, and to take their property."
Asset-forfeiture laws are nothing new. They have been used since the nation's infancy to confiscate goods from smugglers who were intercepted on the high seas. Missouri's own statute dates back to 1870. Forfeiture experienced a renaissance with passage of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act of 1970, as federal prosecutors adopted the strategy to cripple organized-crime networks by stripping them of their ill-gotten gains. Eight years later Congress broadened the law to include drug violations.
According to the Department of Justice website, asset forfeiture "enhances public safety and security...[by] removing the proceeds of crime and other assets relied upon by criminals and their associates to perpetuate their criminal activity against our society."
Seconds Richard Callahan, U.S. attorney for eastern Missouri: "It's another tool in the toolbox. Forfeiting is a key part of the attempt to achieve justice."
For the agencies that wield it, forfeiture also represents an ever-fattening cash cow: Whatever they rightfully seize, they are permitted to keep.
Legislation passed in 1984 called the Comprehensive Crime Control Act added provisions that allow federal agencies to share federal forfeiture proceeds with local police departments.
That seemingly insignificant tweak caused the number of forfeiture cases to skyrocket nationwide.
According to a 1992 study undertaken by the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank headquartered in Washington, D.C., federal forfeiture revenues increased by 1,500 percent — from $27 million to $644 million — between 1985 and 1991. By 1996 forfeiture topped $1 billion for the year, and in 2008 law-enforcement agencies nationwide reaped $3.1 billion in cash and property seizures.
In the Camp Zoe complaint filed in December, federal prosecutors estimate that the sprawling music venue and campground is worth $600,000. If a judge rules that the land was tied to illegal activity, the land will be turned over to the government, which will likely auction it off to the highest bidder.
And if everything goes according to the feds' plan, the DEA will lay claim to 20 percent of the proceeds and hand over the rest to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, an exchange the government calls "equitable sharing."
Had the Shannon County prosecutor pursued the case and achieved the same result, the windfall would boost the bottom line of an entirely different entity: the public-school system.
Missouri legislators created the so-called School Building Revolving Fund in 1998 in response to reports of widespread abuse of the forfeiture system by law-enforcement agencies.
The measure, however, has been almost completely ineffective. Local officials know that if they want revenue from a forfeiture, all they need to do is punt the case to the feds.
A variety of sources — including attorneys, activists and reports from the office of the Missouri state auditor — tell Riverfront Times that agencies routinely do precisely that: tap into the federal asset-forfeiture process in order to snare a percentage of the spoils, shutting out the school fund.
Steven Kessler, a New York attorney who has authored two books on forfeiture law, says several states have laws that require local forfeiture money to be used for education and that the "equitable sharing" system is routinely exploited by law-enforcement agencies as a way to pad their coffers. Kessler says judges rubber-stamp transfer requests from prosecutors and local police, rendering state-implemented safeguards impotent.
"This has become a fundraising tool," Kessler says. "The state law enforcement, seeing the adopted forfeiture program that the feds have, said, 'It's too difficult to get funds under our state forfeiture laws. Why don't we get the case, turn it over to the feds, and we get 80 percent of funds — and we don't do anything!'"
Callahan, the U.S. attorney for eastern Missouri, helped write Missouri's asset forfeiture-reform law in 1993 while serving as the top prosecutor in central Missouri's Cole County. He says his office has guidelines regarding which transfers they will accept from local law enforcement.
"The only time we're going to engage in forfeiture is if there was, or is going to be, a federal investigation or prosecution, or if federal officers were the source of information that led to the seizure," Callahan says. "I understand the federal system does provide incentive for money and the state law does not, but I'm naive enough to believe that we in law enforcement are there because we're trying to do good, not because we're trying to pad our budgets."
Riverfront Times obtained the Missouri state auditor's reports on asset-forfeiture activity covering the years 1999 to 2009. The reports indicate that while hundreds of thousands of dollars have changed hands between federal and local agencies, Missouri's public schools have seen only a small percentage of forfeiture proceeds.
In 2009, according to the auditor's report, Missouri law-enforcement agencies confiscated $5.6 million in assets. Of that total, 49 percent, or $2.7 million, was tied to cases that were kicked up to the federal level and retained. Assuming that every in-state agency was awarded the standard 80-percent cut (those transactions are not included in the auditor's reports), Missouri law enforcement reaped roughly $2.1 million via "equitable sharing." The schools, meanwhile, received a scant $30,673. (Of the remaining 51 percent of the total assets seized, the lion's share — $2.3 million — involved pending cases. The rest was either returned to defendants or classified as "disposition not reported.")
Those numbers don't necessarily point to abuse of the system, Callahan argues. The kinds of investigations that lead to hefty seizures are often conducted with the help of the DEA and prosecuted in federal court, where strict sentencing guidelines apply, he says. The U.S. attorney suspects the imbalance also may be due in part to a 2001 law that penalizes prosecutors who fail to report forfeiture proceeds to the state auditor.
"The bottom line is, I don't have an explanation," Callahan concedes. "But I think it could be a matter of reporting. That could be a possibility. You'd have to look at the three counties that contributed most [St. Louis County, St. Charles County and Jackson County] and the seizing agency to see if there's a change in reporting. Or the numbers reflect that there's more money in drugs and more attention being paid [by law enforcement]."
A DEA spokesman declined to comment on the agency's asset-forfeiture policy. The director of the Missouri Office of Prosecution Services did not respond to a request for comment.
Another convenience favoring the federal process: The Missouri reforms require that forfeiture cases be accompanied by a felony charge against the property owner. Federal law, on the other hand, allows agencies to seize property without filing criminal charges.
"It raises a lot of interesting issues about how can a state constitution provide additional protection for citizens that the federal government has to respect," says Dave Roland, an attorney for the nonprofit legal-advocacy group Freedom Center of Missouri. "Missourians tried to protect themselves against this situation, but, because the federal government gets to play by its own rules, those protections are not coming to fruition."
Callahan says it is "very rare" for the U.S. attorney to pursue an asset-forfeiture case without filing criminal charges against the property owner. In December state prosecutors in Shannon County charged Tebeau with six felony counts of tax evasion for allegedly failing to file sales-tax returns and pay sales tax owed to the state. Federal prosecutors have yet to file any charges in the Camp Zoe case.
McAuliffe calls the tax charges a "minor issue" that has no bearing on the forfeiture. "We believe that the sales-tax issue is largely a mix-up with our accountant," the attorney says. "We think the timing of the charges was just basically a case of the state looking up and saying, 'Hey, there's this federal seizure going on, we better get while the getting is good!'"
Just after midnight on October 29, 2008, the Missouri State Highway Patrol pulled over a 1989 Ford van on Route 19 in the town of Eminence. The driver, a 23-year-old from De Soto named Joseph Wayne Bay, gave the troopers permission to search his vehicle despite the fact that he was hauling a load of drug-filled Halloween treats.
In an official statement issued a few days after Bay's arrest, the highway patrol said the search turned up "a large quantity of individually packaged marijuana-laced 'rice crispy treats,' a large quantity of marijuana-laced chocolate candy cups, several margarine tubs containing liquid infused with marijuana, several jars of liquid containing psilocybin mushrooms, and a small quantity of opium."
Bay was charged with four felony counts of possession of a controlled substance and one count of possession of drug paraphernalia. He eventually pleaded guilty to one of the possession charges and was sentenced to three years' probation, according to court records.
The date of Bay's arrest coincided with Spookstock 7 at Camp Zoe, just a few miles north of Eminence. Highway patrol records reveal that Bay was hardly the only person busted on Highway 19 during the weekend of a Camp Zoe event.
Since 2007 state troopers have conducted fourteen "safety checkpoints" at a busy intersection six miles north of Tebeau's spread — and, not so coincidentally, they did so on days when a high volume of traffic was headed to events there. They arrested or cited a total of 2,388 people, including 171 who were charged with felony drug possession and 782 for misdemeanor drug possession. The rest were on the receiving end of a variety of charges ranging from felony weapons possession to speeding.
Sgt. Marty Elmore, spokesman for the Missouri State Highway Patrol district that includes Shannon County, where Camp Zoe is located, says the roadblocks were not part of the larger investigation into suspected illegal activity at Camp Zoe. He acknowledges, however, that they were timed to festivals at the campground.
"Any time we know there are going to be a lot of people going in and out of a place for some kind of special weekend, we'll always try to have a presence in that area, if no other reason than for traffic issues," Elmore says. "We did plan to have special operations that coincided with those events, because there was a lot of people. That's not to say everybody who was arrested at the checkpoints was necessarily going to Camp Zoe or coming from there. I wouldn't want to draw that correlation."
Asked to provide data about arrests at each roadblock at the junction of Route 19 and Highway A since Camp Zoe opened in 2004, Elmore points to an online archive of the department's news releases. The documents detail a significant number of arrests and citations at each roadblock — in fact, only one of the mass stops netted fewer than 100 arrests.
A checkpoint over the weekend of May 23, 2008 — during Schwagstock 37 — resulted in 268 arrests, including 23 for felony drug possession and 107 for misdemeanor drug possession. (In addition, 50 people were cited for not wearing their seatbelts, 15 for driving without a license and 1 for "careless and imprudent driving.")
"We had so many drug arrests [that] when I sent [the press release] off to Jeff City, the clerk said, 'You've got a typo,'" Elmore recalls. "She said, 'There's no way you had 200-and-however-many arrests at this checkpoint.' I said, 'No, that's accurate.'"
Tony Rothert, legal director of the ACLU of Eastern Missouri, says he has received several complaints each year about the Shannon County checkpoints.
"We're opposed to those roadblocks and think they violate the Fourth Amendment," asserts Rothert. "The courts have outlined some times when roadblocks are allowed, but even then they have to be neatly tailored. They can't be general searches for illegal activity."
In recent years members of Greater St. Louis National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws set up signs a few miles ahead of the roadblock warning motorists that their vehicles would be searched. Terri Zeman, codirector of the NORML chapter, says group members handed out ACLU "bust cards" containing information about search-and-seizure rights and warned drivers to wear seatbelts and have proof of car insurance ready.
"We all thought [the roadblocks] were ridiculous," Zeman says. "It's just a terrible waste of time. There's something to be said for drunk-driving checkpoints, but these were clearly targeted at people going to Camp Zoe."
Last summer Shannon County sheriff's deputies arrested two NORML members who erected the roadside signs and charged them with "placing [an] unauthorized sign/signal device on/in view of highway," a misdemeanor.
Tebeau's attorney in the Camp Zoe case, Dan Viets, represents the two NORML members as well. "The charge is baseless," he says. "It is harassment by the Shannon County sheriff's department, who apparently doesn't like people being told of their constitutional rights."
Viets calls the roadblocks "a police-state tactic" and says the high number of drug arrests is not indicative of drug activity at Camp Zoe. "If they started doing [roadblocks] at any large gathering, they'd find people with some prohibited substance," he argues. "The more enforcement activity they concentrate in that area, the more people they'd catch. If they set up outside a Cardinals game, they might catch people too."
According to Tebeau's attorneys, the singer asked Shannon County deputies to help patrol Camp Zoe during festivals, but the request for help was denied. Instead, Tebeau hired a private company. (The owner of the firm B&D Security declined to comment for this story.)
"[Jimmy] tried to nip any drug situation in the bud," says McAuliffe, Tebeau's attorney and friend. "He actually invited local deputies to come and be security guards in the camp. Any bust would have been easy pickings in there if there was a big problem — but they never took him up on that."
Chief Deputy Dewayne Skaggs of the Shannon County Sheriff's Office says the agency didn't have the resources to dispatch deputies to patrol Camp Zoe. What's more, Skaggs says, the additional help was unnecessary.
"They knew if they needed us, we were right around the corner, and we could respond," says the deputy. "That security staff did a really good job — or a decent job — at maintaining their own place. If it was something where it got to where they couldn't handle it, or if somebody got violent, of course they'd call us, and we'd deal it. But for the most part, they handled it internally, and we never had a lot of problems. I think the biggest problem was trespassers."
Sergeant Elmore says the highway patrol tends not to post officers on private property.
"That's not something we'd typically do," the trooper explains. "If we believe that a particular location has an inordinate amount of that kind of [drug] activity and thousands of people present in a small concentration, we'll be hesitant to send a couple troopers in there by themselves, simply because of the gross disparity in number of folks. We're not going to send them into the lion's den."
The Camp Zoe situation has music-festival organizers worried that they too might be held accountable for illegal activity that could transpire during their events.
"It has gotten our attention," affirms Brian Cohen, organizer of LouFest, an indie-rock festival that debuted last summer in Forest Park. "All festivals take on some degree of liability. That's why we hire security, medical personnel, et cetera. But the potential penalties in this case seem to put it in a different category. LouFest and Schwagstock are two very different animals, so it's hard to know what impact this could have on us. But we're definitely watching it."
Roland, the Freedom Center of Missouri attorney, calls the Camp Zoe seizure "a shot across the bow" for individuals who host popular events on private land.
"My home state is Tennessee," Roland says. "What about Bonnaroo? The folks who own that property need to be very aware and very concerned. With any large gathering of young people, there's probably going to be some illegal activity, and if that's taking place, it appears that property could be subject to forfeiture."
Of course, the Camp Zoe case is not the first time federal authorities have attempted to crack down on hippie-friendly festivities. Last year, for instance, agents from the U.S. Forest Service arrested dozens of attendees at a Rainbow Gathering in New Mexico. Garrick Beck, a Rainbow Gathering collaborator in that state, says he's not worried about asset forfeiture because the group always congregates in federally owned forests. But Beck does believe the threat of forfeiture will be an effective scare tactic in the years to come.
"What you've got here is a situation where federal law enforcement is seeking to harass a culture by targeting people who are not directly involved in the drug sales or distribution," he says. "I think that is the essence of the problem that this group is facing. It wouldn't surprise me if federal officers try to use that in other instances to scare people from attending or promoting other counterculture events."
According to attorney Dan Viets, the November 1 raid on Camp Zoe involved about 80 federal agents. Says Viets: "They didn't find so much as a roach" on the property.
"There were several dozen federal agents from all the alphabet soups — IRS, DEA, ATF — backed up by local cops who came onto the property with federal subpoenas," Viets reports. "They basically asked for business records, which they got."
The DEA and U.S. Attorney's Office declined to comment on the specifics of the ongoing investigation.
An official statement published on the campground's website says "one patron was arrested for previous warrants unrelated to Camp Zoe" and notes that the seized money "was to be used to pay staff, artists, security, production (lights & sound), trash pickup, etc. for the festival weekend. It was also to be used for the basic bills for Camp Zoe to get the business through the winter."
McAuliffe says the campground will remain closed for the duration of the forfeiture proceedings and that Schwagstocks will return next summer at other yet-to-be-determined venues in Missouri.
"Jimmy has lived on the Camp Zoe property with his family for over six years," he says. "Lately they have been staying in the St. Louis area. It remains to be seen if Jimmy and his family can move back to Camp Zoe.
"This is a travesty," McAuliffe adds, noting that Camp Zoe generated — and paid — more than $200,000 in tax revenue in the seven years it was open. "To me [Jimmy] was being a good guy by taking a campground that was undeveloped and sitting there fallow and turning it into a vibrant economic asset for Shannon County."
Camp Zoe supporters organized a benefit concert on Christmas night at the Roberts Orpheum Theater featuring Tebeau's band the Schwag. The event raised roughly $4,500. A monthly series of "Throw for Zoe" fundraisers commenced with a January 29 show at the Roberts Orpheum, and Tebeau is accepting donations via the Camp Zoe website to contribute to a legal-defense fund and cover bills over the winter. Viets and McAuliffe are working the case pro bono. Because asset forfeiture is not their specialty, they've brought on St. Louis attorney Scott Rosenblum to represent them in the federal case.
What makes matters complicated, McAuliffe says, is the fact that Tebeau and Camp Zoe are not typical targets of asset-forfeiture investigations.
"We don't fit the forfeiture profile of jewelry, luxury cars, a crib and maybe a restaurant front-operation," McAuliffe says. "It was always about the music and the health/aesthetic aspect of the Ozarks for [Jimmy]. That is why he moved his family there. I'd be very surprised to see any evidence that at some point he decided to say, 'Hang it. I'll become a drug kingpin.' That would have put his entire plan in jeopardy — everything he had worked and borrowed for."
Very informative and impressive post you have written, this is quite interesting and i have went through it completely.
Crap cover band that preyed on teens for their parents hard earned money in exchange for crap drugs. Let him rot. At least those hacks wont be taking all the good dates in local venues anymore, and free up some spots for some ORIGINAL bands.
The Missouri state constitution states: that we the people are guaranteed the right to the gain of their own industry! The bible states: that we shall reap what we sow!The government has become Jesse James with a badge, and has made an industry our of stealing our industry!Pharmecutical drugs were not mentioned in the artical, yet pharmecutical drugs have become the biggest abused drug, yet the pharmacist and drug companies are not held accountable for their products actions!Drug use is rampet in prison, and it is mostly brought in my staff members, but if prisons can not be kept drug free, than how was camp Zoe? Seize all of the prisons, bars, pharmacutical pushers ect. also!!! Or give Jimmi back his assets! No more double standards! No more hypocracy! No more thievery in the name of justice! No victin: no rime!!! No more lies!!!
What a travesty of justice. Are all bars and clubs now subject to this kind of forfeiture? I am completely uninvolved with this property of festivals, but this makes me furious. No crime charged, no drugs found on the property? This is the kind of thing which caused America's founder's to fllle England and start this country. The guard has got to change, this is unacceptable in my country, the USA. I am done running in fear from lifestyle crimes and I encourage everyone to feel the same. Oliver North was convicted of selling thousands of pounds of cocaine to finance the Contras, with minimal consequences. Come on Justice Dept. time to play fair , you are ruining this country! Drowning in the tears of your citizens and countrymen.
This is so terrible, Camp Zoe was my heaven on earth one of the only places to go and feel completely safe and happy. My heart goes out to Jimmy and his family.
the sad reality of it is if illegal things are brought into a festival it was probably the police that brought the stuff in themselves just so they could say it was going on, but that is the way of the world folks, the people happy inside their boxes taking their pharmies because they are just so depressed or sore from a 20 year old injury, these are the people that make the decisions for the rest off us. Enough is enough. SAVE ZOE! nOW GET UP AND GET DOWN, YOU'LL NEVER STOP US COPPERS.
Camp Zoe was also home to another well-known "drug party" called Underground Sound. It used to be held at Salt-Petre Cave near Murphysboro, IL. Every year they had several drug overdoses. One year they had a stabbing, and another year somebody was chased into the woods by a mob. I understand it will now be held at Hog Rock Ranch in Illinois again. Which is where they had the Juggalo festival. Another notorious event with stabbings, drug overdoses, and rapes.
I'm a pretty open minded person, and can appreciate all cultures, sub-cultures, and art forms. However, I am appalled at the ignorance displayed by some of these so-called festival organizers who show no regard for human life or the law. I think they would rather pad their pockets than take the proper measures to insure the safety, and well-being of the public.
I've been to Camp Zoe for a Schwagstock, and it was just a drug fest. I don't think I met a sober person a part from myself, my friends, and some of the security.
fuck the feds. save camp zoe. i hate america. if i was given a plane ticket outta here id be goneeeeeee
I have a few things to say:
First of all, I have seen the Schwag perfom and they are incredibly talented musicians, worthy of playing the songs of one of my favorite bands, the Grateful Dead.
Secondly, the seizure of property, even if the owner has not been convicted of a crime, is a terrifying and totally unconstitutional violation of Tebeau's rights. Don't think it could happen to you? When one person's rights are violated, all of ours are.
That being said, let's be honest here. Of course Tebeau knew illegal drugs were being used at his Camp Zoe. If he didn't, he's a complete and total idiot. Is that a crime? I really don't think so. When I attended a Schwag event, there were tons of drugs being sold right out in the open. EVERYONE knew exactly what was going on.
I think it was a really bad idea to buy a camp out in the middle of Central Missouri. Did he really not think that Barney Fife would not try to clamp down on a band that plays Grateful Dead songs? From the arrest records, it seems the Missouri Highway Patrol was on to something, weren't they? Remember Missouri is really two states: Missourah and Missouree. The two tend to not mix very well.
My advice, if he manages to save Camp Zoe is to sell and find somewhere else, like Sauget, to have a camp to play. They might want to watch out for the pollution, but I think it could work.
Good job staying up on the story, bad job staying up on your sources. Do you even realize you just published my photo without my consent or giving me credit? http://www.facebook.com/pages/...
I had my life ruined and most everything I owned stolen by these "do-gooder" hippies directly tied to the"Schwag Family". Let them rot in jail. There's nothing peace or love about those people, trust me. They screwed me over worse than I thought imaginable.
The pattern for most fed agencies seems to be easy targets that do not end up ina courtroom with complex financial schemes and tuned in defense attorneys that worked for the feds before private practice. Now if you had hundreds of loaded weapons, numerous 911 calls to your property, rampant drug use with armed employees, and a dead body from drug overdose, that occurs in a wealthy St. Louis suburb, you would not face this mess...oh that might be because of who you are...a beer baron or an outdoorsman. And as the Feds spent millions in NYC to round up aged mafia wiseguys, the feds will never even dream of trying a RICO investigation on the Wall Street Cartels, insider trading mob, or financial ponzi/ hedge schemes so complex and that milked the entire world economy. In part those things are way expensive to investigate, the defense teams can confuse an average jury and the culprits have generally secreted their cash overseas. The cops and prosecutors are doing their job, and in the end, a conviction and asset trade is a notch in the belt for promotions ..
so let me get this straight. jimmy's land is worth $600,000, his bank account is worth $188,000, the price of seein jimmy cry because he lost his land? priceless.
I'm suprised it's taken this long for the riverfront times to do a story on the dirty drugstock that has taken place several times a year for over a decade now. I remember going to schwagstock back when Jimmy's little redhead kid was running around, then several years later I saw him at "spookstock" with dreads high on exctasy. The whole "love" and "family" deadhead mythology is just a rediculous white on white family fluff nonsense distraction. Year after year there were less true counter culture "hippies" and more frat boy jocks with tie dyes bragging about how much acid they've taken. The last time I went I couldn't walk five feet without different 13 year old girl asking were the weed was at. I tottally support a movement to legalize drugs and love music and nature and peaceful gathering. But these douche bags have been making $45 a head from hundreds of kids who aren't even dead fans looking to get all trippy dippy. I could understand why an unoriginal cover band of a cover band would do whatever they could to continue making a living as they aged, but when your a parent of kids who are involved with the drug scene, you might want to start making more responsible decisions about the "family" you so fakely pretend to be all about. Don't get me wrong, never sell out, never give up on your dreams for money, don't even cut your hair, but don't get rich providing a place for children to do dangerous drugs and then pretend to be about love and karma and family. I could continue, but I think I made my point...
Don't diss the Summer Camp. I saw a kid with Dead wings and he asked me about Schwag. Never seen the Dead. BOOO. Kids are grimy and dirty and thats why the Feds dont bust Bonnaroo or Waka. The kids aren't AS grimy and dirty at Bonnaroo or Waka. (Well, the first 2 years.) The first year I described Zoe as, " a ghetto in the woods." And I can only imagine how shitty it got. The point being, maybe the reason people are offered dirty drugs at other festivals is because they got their wings at Shwagstock.
I'd just like to say that if you gather any large group of people together you will always find drugs, violence, and stupidity. To con-dim a place like this where people have made it such a safe place to go. I mean they even have their own medical staff that has EMT's, and other medical professionals. I know from speaking with these people they treat this as a job, a time to be professional, not a time to be on whatever drug and slap band-aids on people. Compared to a lot of the other raunchy smaller festivals I've been to campzoe is number one in cleanliness to! Around the clock porter potty maintainer, cleaning of the hand washing stations, which have foot things so you don't have to touch anything to get your hands / face properly cleaned. I have never seen such care at a festival before.
People there are always nice, always giving, always accepting. I never before saw any violence there til spring jam 09, but that was quickly taken care of by security and those who were hurt in the fight were taken to the medical area known as safe stock. This fight I saw was between some kids (in my opinion, they were realistically prob 19-20) and obviously werent very stable people and obviously weren't treating the situation as a mature person should. Just in the bar scene, a bar or club gets popular it starts getting a flow of different people, then those people tell their friends, their friends tell theirs and so on, and eventually you start getting problems with people bringing in drugs, but to take this wonderful place away from those of us who enjoy the land, the beauty, the sinking creek, the community feeling from all of those who really care about this place. Why do that to us? What have we done so wrong? We assemble in peace, and we will always assemble this way, and there will always be other places that people like us will get together and enjoy the music, the vibes, and the company of one another. You can take the land but you will never take the spirit of what is really there.
I'd also like to add another thing about the staff at campzoe, my hubby and I went there in july heat when there wasn't a festival going on and we were litterately the only people there aside from the people who live and work there. Atleast twice a day we one of the staff members would come by and check on us, make sure we had enough water, were staying cool and were enjoying our selfs. These people have been nothing but friendly folk, so why punish us for the stupidity that we have not caused. It is not out fault that people who see this place as a drugged out party come here with whatever substance they enjoy. Just keep this and other stories similar to this in mind, because you will be hearing A LOT more of them. viva le zoe!
Keegan Hamilton, I think people are still confusing the Keegan commenter with you, though that is not the kind of comment you would make in reference to your own story.
This is indeed a travesty, harassment, and above all, pure and simple greed by law enforcement to line their pockets. Nothing has been said about Jimmy supporting us clean and sober people at these events. I was only at Zoe once, for Big Summer Classic, and found the place to be quite mellow and less chaotic than say, Summer Camp where hoards of drunken weekend "hippies" gather each year to litter, puke, vandalize and spill beer on everyone. Jimmy even set aside a special area called "Camp Traction" for about 100 clean and sober folks and family campers. I hear that that was a regular thing at Zoe. It was well organized and very clean. I also will say that EVERY not most, but EVERY private venue I have been in, bars, concert halls and even Busch Stadium, would qualify for asset forfeiture from the amount of "illegal activity" I have witnessed in them! This is simply Easy Rider all over again. The line in the movie when "George" (Jack Nicholson) tells Dennis Hopper that the rednecks fear him because he represents freedom, the freedom they can't have, it scares them, and they do bad things. Zoe was a good thing and the laws of this country contradict the very "Constitution" that supposedly makes it such a wonderful Free nation available for dreams like Jimmy's..... to have a cool place, out in nature to play music.... plain and simple. Now, to all the little assholes who don't understand that music and dealing dope are not even on the same plane, way to go! You just might have fucked it up for everyone! Music festivals are for music... (if you want to hoot up, that's your business) they're not a place for you to make money dealing, your place is on the street where you will live and die by the rules there. Way to go assholes!
Keegan, the story you shared in your comment is just as I see it. Seeing something happen to this respected, positive, beautiful home, that is Camp Zoe, is heartbreaking. I just finished reading your RFT story, thank you for writing and sharing this story.
I wish the best of luck to Jimmy and all those behind Zoe supporting them. Many are following closely and are all supporting the Zoe family.
Went to high school with Jimmy and have known him and his family for over 25 years. He is a wonderful man and great friend. It is a travesty of justice what the FEDS are doing to this man. My question is why is the local Sheriff allowing these Federal Jack Booted Nazi' to rob the people of Shannon County. When will the local citizens demand accountability from their elected servants? By the way can any Federal agent be legitimate when their Commander in Chief cannot even produce a Birth Certificate, which I had too to renew my drivers license. Thieves that is all they are. Good to see Rosenbloom get in on this. He is the lawyers last hope.
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Gee, I wonder if the Feds are going to be busting any NASCAR races soon. I hear some pretty crazy shit goes down on the infield.
Part of what Joe was doing was an attempt to avert the exact thing that has finally happened. Do you honestly think Joe made his money at Zoe? He is a businessman. I would hate to think I had to bail out my employer if they had such a horrendous thing happen to them. In the end, it's none of our business.
Jimmy needs our help, and although most of us are poor folk, we should do whatever we can to help him and ensure these heinous laws get changed! And yes, I am one of the many in the 40-60 and beyond group that went to events at Zoe. One of the things I loved about the place is that there were many of us old folks around. More than I have ever seen at other festivals. When young people made stupid decisions, there were lots of us around to take care of them and teach them the TRUTH about drug use. Where will that place be now?
THANK YOU, Riverfront Times, for keeping this issue in visable. BUMP!
Not all festivals are like Zoes Schwagstocks. Lets not get to self righteous here. Everyone had to know this was a bad scene laden with excess. I hate the way the Government stole the land. But I will not subscribe to the Zoe Campground was a victim stuff. They played their role.
Everytime I went to Zoe I'd see Joe Grasso marching up and down Shakedown telling folks what they can and can't do. He seemed nazi like with his walky talkies, marching around acting like he owned Zoe. He's a so-called millionaire, concert promoter, and friend of Jimmy's. IF JOE is so rich then why is Jimmy having benefits, fund raisers, and basically begging for money to help save himself? Here's a link to Joe Grasso's mansion including pictures. Look at where he lives and you tell me how he's sooooo rich and Jimmy's losing everything he worked for.http://stlouis.blockshopper.co...
Honestly? I have a story to tell.
Schwagstock was my first festival. Not knowing what to expect, I was slightly shocked to see the ease of finding drugs at Camp Zoe. But then, I started getting more into the scene.
When I went to a rave in somebody's loft above a (get this) Christian Book Store, the amount of drugs surprised me. There were people sitting in the corner or crowding the window with sweat streaming down their faces. The bathrooms reeked of vomit, much of which could be seen on the floor and in the bathtub. The host's bedroom was in constant use, and I saw drawers casually strung open and looted. People were snorting cocaine, molly, and 2CB from the counter and digging for cigarette shorts in the ashtray.I then went to Summercamp, a sponsored music festival in Chilicothe. There was a checkpoint at the front where items were searched, but by the end of the first night it was more of an inconvenience than anything. The people checking your luggage would be sitting back, drunk or high, waving you through. I quickly found the access to drugs was equal to that at Camp Zoe, only here they had EVERYTHING. Zoe mainly kept to the 'hippie' drugs, while at Summercamp I was offered black tar heroin, amphetamines, and all types of ecstasy. I was puked on at one point, and people were passed out everywhere. One guy passed out behind our car in the parking lot and started convulsing when we tried to wake him.
At Camp Zoe, my tent was on a main road. I had 200 dollars in my wallet which blew apart when I tossed it in the tent, and I forgot to close the flap. So our tent is strewn about with 10s, 20s, 50s. But when I returned I found all of the money was there. The only thing I had stolen from me at Camp Zoe was a few beers from our cooler, which were replaced with different brands (we had Heineken, one bottle replaced with one Budweiser etc.) At the rave, a man tried to start a fight with me because he claimed I budged in line. Later, when I put my coat on a chair to run to the bathroom, I found my pockets had been searched and 20 dollars taken.
It's funny. Parents try to shut down Zoe because "of the children". I really didn't see many people there under 18. The main age group was 18-30, with some who were 40-60. Besides the occasional family, children were hard to come across.Not with Summercamp. There were kids everywhere, making ghost noises outside of our tent and shooting us with marshmallow guns.
Personally, I believe the seizure of this camp is not for the usage of drugs. The drugs are a facade. Sure, people were getting high and tripping and yes, occasionally somebody did too much and started acting stupid. But nobody fought, nobody argued, everybody got along. The camp follows an 80-20 rule and, as always, the government will prosecute for that 20.
SAVE CAMP ZOE!
at least this seizure/adjudicated theft is being given the light of day by well written stories like this. that is what these NWO cockroaches fear the most along with their network of rats, moles and other assorted vermin.
Concerned citizen, you are really showing your downhome ignorance here. What a load of crap. You were the only sober people at the festival? Did you go home that night and polish of a 12 pack ofBud, while you were so accurately judging all the people at this MUSIC festival. To call it a drug festival is out of line and and shows what an idiot you are. Yes people in Missouri take drugs. That will never change. Get used to it or be judgemental and stupid for the rest of your life.
Gluboy, Scene laden with excess? Excessive hippies living like they deserve to live. Too excessive for you? Great, don't show up. Don't like violent movies? Don't go see them. This is a personal freedom and you have a a choice. Everyone does. To make the festival grounds owner responsible is outrageous. I'm just guessing here but I would bet your fridge is full of excessive amouts of Budweiser and junk food. To each his own. btw: the gov't didn't steal the land, they stole his PERSONAL funds in his bank acccount. And since you probably don't get out much, most festivals are even more excessive than Schwagstocks. Ever been to Marti Gras? Too excesive for you?
"the government will prosecute for that 20." Look out, that 20 or 10 or 5 percent can get a lot of places in the same trouble. Please rally to stop this. If the government was truly interested in stopping drug use rather than seizing property, the concerts at Zoe could have been stopped years earlier.
I know Jimmy from the shows he has played at my place and at local bars, and the time he taught my son guitar. My experience with Jimmy has been nothing but positive and he was the opposite of greedy. He always came across as a True Grateful Dead Believer who lived the music he played. But I have never been to Zoe and know nothing about what happened there firsthand.
I have been there many times and i enjoyed my weekend every time with a community of happy helping caring people. I was there when Rockso the Clown won the Saturday night costume contest at Spookstock before the unnecessary show of force by law enforcement showed up. I love that land those people and the unforgettable times i spent with friends there. KEEP THE LOVE LIGHT SHINING, SAVE CAMP ZOE