Father and son homeowners of Finders Keepers sued the US Department of Justice for particulars of an FBI seek for legendary Civil War-era gold.
Treasure hunters who consider they discovered an enormous cache of fabled Civil War-era gold in Pennsylvania are actually on the prowl for one thing as elusive because the buried booty itself: authorities data of the FBI’s excavation.
Finders Keepers filed a federal lawsuit towards the United States Department of Justice over its failure to supply paperwork on the FBI’s seek for the legendary gold, which befell nearly 4 years in the past at a distant woodland website in northwestern Pennsylvania.
The FBI has since dragged its ft on the treasure hunters’ Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for data, their lawyer mentioned Wednesday.
“There’s been a pattern of behaviour by the FBI that’s been very troubling,” mentioned Anne Weismann, who represents Finders Keepers. She questioned whether or not the company is “acting in good faith”.
A message was despatched to the Justice Department searching for touch upon the go well with, which asks a decide to order the FBI to right away flip over the data.
Finders Keepers’ homeowners, the father-son duo of Dennis and Kem Parada, had spent years in search of what, in keeping with legend, was an 1863 cargo of Union gold that was misplaced or stolen on its technique to the US Mint in Philadelphia. The duo targeted on a spot the place they are saying their devices detected a big metallic mass.
After assembly with the treasure hunters in early 2018, the FBI introduced in a contractor with extra subtle devices. The contractor detected an underground mass that weighed as much as 9 tons and had the density of gold, in keeping with an FBI affidavit unsealed final yr on the request of stories organisations, together with The Associated Press.
The Paradas accompanied the FBI to the location in Dents Run, about 220km (135 miles) northeast of Pittsburgh, however say they had been confined to their automotive whereas the FBI excavated.
The FBI has lengthy insisted the March 2018 dig got here up empty, however the company has constantly stymied the Paradas’ efforts to acquire info.
The FBI initially claimed it had no recordsdata concerning the investigation. Then, after the Justice Department ordered a extra thorough evaluate, the FBI mentioned its data had been exempt from public disclosure. Finally, within the wake of the treasure hunters’ attraction, the FBI mentioned it had situated 2,400 pages of data and 17 video recordsdata that it may probably flip over — however that it will take years to take action.
Finders Keepers requested the Justice Department for expedited processing, which may be granted in instances the place there’s widespread media curiosity involving questions concerning the authorities’s integrity. The Justice Department denied the request — and, as of final month, had but to assign the FOIA request to a staffer for processing, in keeping with the lawsuit.
“From the outset, it seems as if the FBI is doing everything it can to avoid answering the question of whether they actually found gold,” Weismann mentioned.