Congressman sues Montana town, then claims to OWN its favorite park and trail system known as “The Rims”

Montana’s only Congressman Dennis Rehberg, one of the richest members of Congress, is really taking it out on his constituents this week.

Rehberg is a mega-millionaire playboy and land developer who pretends to be a “rancher” but has instead subdivided the ranch he inherited to get even more cash.  The monetary lawsuit, says that the fire department “breached its duty” during the July 2008 fire.

Our Congressmen Dennis Rehberg is suing firefighters and resident taxpayers wants to be paid by firefighters and taxpayers for the loss of trees and brush in another part of his families property he intended to develop. The lawsuit has made Rehberg a national joke. It’s made Montanans very unhappy.

But, as if that weren’t enough, new video has recently come to light in which Rehberg claims that he OWNS the town’s favorite park and trail system in Montana’s largest town of some 80,000 people.

This guy has to go.

I’ll use an example on my own ranch. I have the joy and the heartache of owning the first ranch outside the city of Billings. I actually own the rims all over the city. So when you’re driving up Shiloh Road, you are looking at my Rims. Now I know there are people that don’t believe or knew I own the Rims, but I just been paying taxes on it for five generations…

Rehberg has subdivided what used to be his family ranch into a massive, high-end subdivision in the area, but I’m pretty sure that “the rims” as Billings folks call these cliffs and trail system are a park. Click the link in the last sentence to see a photo.


19 Comments on "Congressman sues Montana town, then claims to OWN its favorite park and trail system known as “The Rims”"

  1. This is so arrogant. How come this guy has been in office for so long? I don’t get it.

  2. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers! | July 7, 2010 8:28 PM at 8:28 PM |

    Well actually, I think I understand what Dopey is saying. He DOES indeed own a long portion of the rims beyond Zimmerman Trail all the way out above the country club. How do I know? Well, I tresspassed on Dopey’s property for nearly twenty years when there was nothing out there. It was WONDERFUL country back in the early seventies. No houses. No people. No NUTHIN’! Just me and my running buddies and my old dog Spud. We used to climb up the rims by the country club and run all the way back to Eastern Montana College along Dopey’s rims.

    Dopey is correct. Those ARE his rims! (he’s refering to the portion that he owns) And I’m sure that people do INDEED tresspass just as I did for the twenty odd years I lived in Billings. And he’s right, times have changed. When I left Billings in ’91, houses were already appearing up there in the Indian Cliffs subdivision. How do I know? Well, let’s just say one day I ran through a back yard that wasn’t there the last time I ran, and a hysterical woman came out and used words that even I had never heard before!

    So you see, what’s happened here is that this area that Dopey owns has for SO long been used as a place to recreate, drink, hike, and have fun, that people just NATURALLY thought it was public. Well, it’s not.

    Does Dopey have a right to be angry with tresspassers? I think he does. But a good natured, rational, community-loving developer would have done the obvious thing and INCLUDED a public trail in his subdvision. But this is not who Dopey is. He’s money hungry, and he’s anti-community.

    But I do have to say that before it was developed, the Rehburp property which I considered my own, was some of the prettiest land in Montana. If Dopey would’a just shared it with the people of Billings instead of suing the beejesus outta them, he’d be a hometown hero. I guess that he’s just too far gone down the greed road to see what an ass he’s made of himself.

  3. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers! | July 7, 2010 8:32 PM at 8:32 PM |

    p.s. The exact same thing happened in the South Hills south of Billings. Since Billings was first founded, the south hills was were everyone went to party and ride their motorcycles. Suddenly, overnight, it was a subdivision, and conflicts arose when traditional users of the area found themselves no longer welcome. How do I know? Well, that woman that screamed at me on Dopey’s place must have a sister that lives in the south hills.

  4. I have heard that it was a great mountain biking trail too before Rehberg closed it off. It just strikes me as he does this on purpose…I mean did he just buy a strip of land near the rims or open land and then block off public access, meaning he would have to pay taxes on it, but doesn’t own it?

    What do you make of this??

  5. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers! | July 7, 2010 8:51 PM at 8:51 PM |

    I’m not sure, Cgirl. I’ve been gone a loooong time and Billings has changed dramatically. I really haven’t been back much. (maybe twice) Billings has, IMHO, become a little California. I liked it when it was a cowtown better. That would’a been the pre-mountain biking days. God it was a great place back then when the town pretty much ended at 24th.

    But I’m not really sure if Dopey owned the land all the way to Zimmerman Trail or not. I don’t think he did.

    Billings was AWFUL in protecting the rims. One time, the guy that owned the rims from Sky Ranch to Zimmerman Trail offered to sell his portion of the rims for a song to Billings. Well, being the morons that they were, the city rejected his offer. Billings deserves what it gets I guess. It is a rightwing, anti-union, repubbie stronghold. And probably always will be. Hell, I’m damn SUPRISED that they have any kind of trail system at all.

    As I mentioned, we created our own trail system way back when. There were miles and miles of rims and countryside to roam. It was great. The Indian Caves weren’t even a park then. Just another place to hike and drink.

    But this conflict is happening all over Montana. That’s why it’s important to get as MUCH public land for recreation as we can before it’s all gone. Once it’s all bought up, that’s it. It’s no longer like the old days when Dopey’s ranch was more mine than his. And that’s sad. Hell, I spent more time out there tresspassing than HE did.

  6. What I love is that he talks about himself as a RANCHER, when in fact he inherited his wealth and some land, and handed it over to a developer.

    • kristie – you’re right. we can’t even call him a real estate developer, as he surely did as you suggest. I guess he is a “career politician” and nothing more…

  7. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers! | July 7, 2010 9:14 PM at 9:14 PM |

    Cgirl, I read that article in the IR. Wow! was THAT interesting? Unfortunately, nothing like that EVER makes it into the coporate GF Fibune.

    Now, I kinda understand what the Rehburps are saying. You see, the “rims” in Billings are synonymous with drinking, wild parties, public drunkeness, crime, fires, sex, and people regularly falling off due to drunkeness. In fact, if you excuse the crudity on you new site, as one old-time cop explained it to me, the rims have always been “pecker point” and always WILL be. (cop language, not mine) And he may be right. Strange things did INDEED happen up there frequently.

    So, Billings being Billings, the public is capable of some very peculiar behavior up there.

    Now, I’m not saying that the Rehburps are right, but they do seem to have a legitimate cause for concern. I’m NOT sure that public trails amidst their subdivision wouldn’t cause some problems, especially at night.

  8. Why is it there REpublican “ranchers” are all hat, and no cattle?

  9. Its really amazing this guy has been in office for as long as he has. Between this piece and his lawsuit against the City of Billings, he’s really been screwing the citizens. Guess that’s nothing new.

  10. It’s seems that this is the one “action” he has taken in who knows how long. And it’s against the people of his own home town.

  11. Denny doesn’t need me to defend him on this, but the fact is, he is just one of many people who own land on top of the Rims. There is a county park, Zimmerman, and a city park, Swords, on top of the Rims, but the rest is privately owned. Zimmerman borders Denny’s land, and he and a few other landowners got pretty upset 10 or 15 years ago when mountain bikers started cutting their fences.

    I used to bike and walk up there a lot myself, but I can see why a person would not want his fences cut, especially if he’s got goats, which Denny did at the time.

    If you’re going to criticize Denny for owning land on top of the Rims, you’ll have to criticize everybody in the state who owns property on a river, creek, lake, mountainside, etc. Hell, maybe my little city lot should be open to public use.

    All I’m saying is, there’s lots to criticize Denny for without beating up on him because he happens to own property.

    • For the record, Ed, Cowgirl didn’t criticize Dennis for owning property. She criticized him for the hubris in his statements.

      And for the record, I do criticize “everybody in the state who owns property on a river, creek, lake,” when they claim ownership of what they have no right to.

    • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers! | July 8, 2010 4:30 PM at 4:30 PM |

      Ed, I agree. I think that lefties get sidetracked beating him up on owning a beautiful ranch. There are too many legitimate things to beat him up on, like suing the fire dept. Hell, if I owned that ranch, I just might be a Repubbie too!………just kidding. And really, when you think about it, it’s a beautiful ranch to me, but to others, it’s just sage, scrubby pine, and an occassional rattlesnake. It’s kinda a logical, natural direction for Billings to grow. I would prefer houses up there to the fertile land west of 24th. Not THAT’S a crying shame to lose the best farmland in the state to development. Send folks up north on the Rehburp’s prairie. Nuthin’ to dislocate up there except a few rattlers. BTW Ed, good to see you writing here. I have missed your input on the blogs.

  12. Wulfgar: Read the headline, especially this part: “then claims to OWN its favorite park and trail system known as ‘The Rims.'”

    Cowgirl appeared to be laboring under misapprehension that all of the Rims were some kind of pulbic park, and that Rehberg wrongly claimed to own this “parkland.”

    As for your last comment, I think I see what you’re saying — that it’s wrong to own land on a river and then try to stop people from using the river. But the land above the high-water mark? That’s private property.

  13. In his own words, in this video, Rehberg says “I actually own the rims all over this city.” Just saying.

  14. There is a lot of misinformation presented before me in this blog. I live atop the “Rims” in Indian Cliffs subdivision and have for 19 years. The Rehbergs own much of the “rims” (land) on either side of our subdivsion. Rehberg may have used his political clout to annex into the city of Billings a small portion of his land(Rehberg Ranch) near the airport, but developement of this land is overdue. For the past 50 or more years, expansion of Billings has mostly been in 2 directions; east and west. This is some of the most fertile farm land in all of Montana!

    Much of the “rims” is owned by the city and has been continuously improved as a park. Yes, 30 years ago the “rims” had a reputation for high school beer busts and as a “lover’s lane” (ah, the good-ole-days), but due to public pressure, both the private land owners (Rehberg) and the city have squelched that activity.

    I have friends that live in Rehberg Ranch. They have legitimate justification for sueing the city. Billings’ firefighters put out a range fire near Rehberg ranch and abandoned it. Later, the wind came up and the fire re-ignited risking their property and safety of their families. This neglegence was in contradiction to fire department policy which is to leave a truck and crew at the fire scene until there is no chance of re-ignition.

    Yes, Billings tends to be predominantly republican. Thank you. Hopefully, we can keep it that way!

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