Father and son owners of Finders Keepers have sued the U.S. Department of Justice for details of an FBI search for legendary Civil War gold.
Treasure hunters who believe they found a large locker of legendary gold from the Civil War in Pennsylvania are now looking for something as elusive as the buried loot itself: government records of the FBI’s excavation.
Finders Keepers has filed a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice over its failure to advance documents about the FBI’s search for the legendary gold, which took place nearly four years ago at a remote bushveld in northwestern Pennsylvania. lie.
The FBI has since dragged its feet on the treasure hunters’ Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for records, their attorney said Wednesday.
“There was a behavioral pattern by the FBI that was very worrying,” says Anne Weismann, who represents Finders Keepers. She questioned whether the agency was “acting in good faith”.
A message was sent to the Justice Department asking for comment on the case, asking a judge to order the FBI to hand over the records immediately.
Finders Keepers’ owners, the father-son duo of Dennis and Kem Parada, have been searching for years for what, according to legend, was a 1863 consignment of Union gold lost or stolen on its way to the US Mint. Philadelphia. The duo focused on a place where they say their instruments have detected a large mass of metal.
After meeting with the treasure hunters in early 2018, the FBI brought in a contractor with more sophisticated tools. The contractor has located an underground mass that weighs up to nine tons and has the density of gold, according to an FBI affidavit that was sealed last year at the request of news organizations, including The Associated Press.
The Paradas accompanied the FBI to the site in Dents Run, about 220 km (135 miles) northeast of Pittsburgh, but says they were confined to their car while the FBI dug up.
The FBI has long insisted that the March 2018 digs be emptied, but the agency has consistently thwarted Paradas’ efforts to obtain information.
The FBI initially claimed he had no files on the investigation. Then, after the Department of Justice ordered a more thorough review, the FBI said its records had been released from public disclosure. Finally, in the wake of the treasure hunters’ appeal, the FBI said it had located 2,400-page records and 17 video files that could possibly turn it around – but that it would take years to do so.
Finders Keepers has asked the Department of Justice for expedited processing, which could be granted in cases where there is widespread media interest involving questions about government integrity. The Department of Justice denied the request – and had to assign the FOIA request to a staff member for processing from last month, according to the lawsuit.
“From the outset, it looks like the FBI is doing everything in its power to prevent the question from being answered as to whether they actually found gold,” Weismann said.