Refuge Manager Changes Testimony On Witness Stand
by Aubrie Bosworth and Shari Dovale
The manager of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge south of Burns, Oregon, testified in the Protest Trial being held in Portland, Oregon. Chad Karges took the stand on the second day of testimony, spending most of the day being questioned by the government and defense attorneys.
Karges told of how he was concerned for the safety of his 16 employees after seeing a caravan of cars pass his house after a rally on Saturday, January 2, 2016.
He instructed his employees to “not report to work until they were instructed” by him. However, he stated contradictory dates for these instructions.
He admitted to telling to 2 maintenance workers to leave the refuge and go home on December 31st, a full 2 days before the rally took place in Burns.
Though he first said that he learned of Bunkerville through internet stories, he admitted to reading ‘government reports’ after the incident in 2014, which held weight in his decision to empty the refuge of workers.
He attempted to say that his information came from rumors, or common knowledge, throughout the town of Burns. But, it seems to us that it would not be reasonable to empty a facility of workers based on rumors.
He told of how he went to the refuge on Friday, January 1st, to remove a laptop computer from his office for a meeting he was attending. He testified that all the doors were locked at the refuge, but on cross examination, it was revealed that he never personally checked any door other than his own office. He relied on what he believed to have been true, based on general behavior of the employees.
He also testified that when Linda Beck asked him if she could go to the refuge on Saturday, January 2nd, to retrieve paperwork from her office, Karges specifically told her not to go. He was concerned for her safety, even though no specific threats had been made by the protesters, and the rally had not even taken place at that time.
He was not concerned for his own safety, demonstrated by his personal visit on Friday, January 1st. But, based on rumors within the town, he became concerned for the safety of his employees.
He also testified that $400.00 had been taken from the safe, but later confirmed that he did not know of this personally. Again, he testified to what someone else had told him.
So, this man testified to quite a lot of hearsay, statements from others, and reports from a 2014 grazing rights incident, to not allow his 16 employees to go to the refuge. He was the only one to tell the employees to not go to work. The defendants never spoke to them and never kept them from working.