New Rehberg Scandal: Public land is my ‘Privately owned land’

Here’s a new video making the rounds of yet another controversy involving TEA Party Congressman Dennis Rehberg, who is worth millions and owns vast swaths of land, developments, and other investments.

For the past few weeks, hunters and public access advocates have been trading “can you believe it?” emails about Rehberg’s private property signs posted on state trust land (aka public land) he leases near his Billings ranch goat farm.  To bowhunters who can’t be restricted to trails and consider this public land prime hunting ground, these signs basically say: STAY OUT.

In fact, at least one of Rehberg’s signs is brazenly posted only a couple feet away from a “STATE LAND” sign!

I have a feeling the signs will be coming down soon.  At least someone had the sense to get some pictures first.

Of course, Rehberg is no stranger to securing sweet land deals for himself, then screwing everyone else.  Way back in 2004, the Lee State Bureau reported that a section of public land leased by Rehberg closest to his subdivision “is surrounded by private property and so far, no one has been able to get in.”  And:

“When the Rehbergs subdivided the development, they left a 10-foot strip of their own land between the state land and the lots in Rehberg Ranch Estates. Although they can see the state land from their backyard, they cannot cross the 10-foot strip for fear of trespassing.”

Yep, as with his political career, Dennis Rehberg’s land deals are all about serving himself–even when it ain’t his land.


48 Comments on "New Rehberg Scandal: Public land is my ‘Privately owned land’"

  1. Wasn’t this the same guy that said he owns the rims? There was a video of it going around a while back. I sense a pattern here. He thinks he’s entitled to something that isn’t his. Then he says if you take a pell grant you’re a welfare case. What a prick.

  2. With a landing strip ten feet wide and his mustache
    He reminds me of a 70’s pornstar, screwing everyone

  3. I thought he looks like Eddie Munster….

  4. Here’s what the state law says:

    Posting of state land with orange paint or signs such as “No Hunting” or “No Trespassing” are illegal. Lessees may post state land with blue paint to signify no unauthorized use. However, if such land is legally accessible, and has not been closed or restricted to recreational use by rule or by DNRC, recreational use by individuals with a proper recreational use license is permitted.

    I don’t see any “orange” or offending words on the sign. Change ‘owned’ to ‘leased’, what part of the message is inconsistent with state use restrictions? Is it the “…please stay on the existing trails” part? Or is it the convenient access provided part?

    Much ado about nothing here.

    • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers | August 31, 2011 5:15 PM at 5:15 PM |

      Owned, leased, leased, owned! Makes no difference at ALL to craig! Wow. Just wow. HEY, words mean what you WANT them to mean, right craig? The world according to craig. Sheesh. Welcome to bizarro world, or sometimes called Tea Land! What was your degree in again, craig? Tea semantics?

      • What matters to me is the state’s sign proclaiming ownership and limiting use to archery for recreational hunters. IF those words give you trouble… well, so be it.

        • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers | August 31, 2011 5:49 PM at 5:49 PM |

          No, the words that give me trouble, craig, are quite OBVIOUS to everyone except you. Now, let me ask YOU a little question. Is it common for YOU to claim to OWN things you do not? Sorry, craig, but it’s kind of a no brainer. Dopey is claiming OWNERSHIP to land he does not own. And MOST folks consider that stealing. I take offense at that, and that is EXACTLY what Gibson is mad about too. You DON’T claim to own things that belong to ALL of us in Montana. That’s a big no no. Dopey should be smarter than that. Or at LEAST more ethical. But that’s a discussion for another thread.

          • Larry posting of the additional sign did not in any way change the state’s claim “State Land.” Don’t know the specifics here if indeed these signs are Rehberg’s and were made for this piece of property. Perhaps they were left over from another parcel. The sign does not identify ownership. It just erroneously calls the leased land “private owned property.” The sign goes on to ask nicely for people to stay on established trails. It further identifies to those close enough to read it who were the parties that made access available. Again much ado about nothing. Any bow hunter would know what to do when approaching the fence. Anyone else should take their “use” restriction complaints up with the state who established the use rules.

            • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers | August 31, 2011 6:15 PM at 6:15 PM |

              When in doubt, OBfuscate! Right craig? Throw enough verbiage, (some people call it horsesh*t) at the issue, and HOPE LIKE HELL folks will lose interest! Sorry, craig, but it’s REALLY not that complicated. And I SUSPECT that it’s gonna add to Dopey Reeburp’s problems.

              Remember Clinton and the Pubbie attacks on him? When they had NOTHING else, they went after his “character”. Well, there is NO ONE in Montana more deficient in THAT department than Dopey! (except maybe Scam Hill)

              But what the hell, I report, Montanans will decide. Which is worse, boinkin’ mermaids while married or trying to steal public lands? I’ll vote for trying to steal public lands.

              • Larry you and I are in agreement: “it’s REALLY not that complicated.” As I said, this is much ado about nothing.

                • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers | August 31, 2011 7:08 PM at 7:08 PM |

                  Well, guess there’s just no accountin’ for what goes viral! And I suspect that this video will. When ya got a rep to begin with, it’s damn HARD not to look like a perp. Suin’ the Fire Dept. was NOT the most brilliant thing for a politico to do. Hence, what you consider minor, MOST Montanans, especially we outdoorsmen, think is major based on Dopey’s record. This AIN’T a court of law where the judge can strike previous dumbass behavior from the record. Dopey’s past is very, very PUBLIC record.

                  It’s kinda nice of him to shine the light of scrutiny on himself! Makes things that much easier for Tester. That’s all.

                  Here, let me put it this way. If Dopey gets drunk and RUNS down Main St. in Billings stark nekkid, YOUR argument would be that he’s just “airing his differences” with Tester! Shoot, nuthin’ wrong with that. Easy to misinterpet. And I would agree.

                  • we might suspect by now…
                    that everybody recognizes denny raybum has reached his conman burns pinnacle…
                    soon to retire from the harm he has done.

                  • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers | August 31, 2011 9:30 PM at 9:30 PM |

                    I was actually thinking the exact same thing today, rleeh. Sen. Corndog Buns ran his course. Incumbency can shield the venal, corrupt, and stoopid for ONLY so long. And then it’s so long.

            • Shouldn’t have been Posted cuz he didn’t own it Period!

  5. He has been doing this for years-shutting down public land to trail users with is bright “danger” signs. Probably this isn’t the first time he’s been called on it, but who knows. People are afriad to mess with a millionaire Congressman because the average Joe doesn’t know the limits of this guys power (and intellect).

    • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers | August 31, 2011 7:32 PM at 7:32 PM |

      Afraid to mess with millionaire Dopey Reeburp? Not me. In order to have power, one must first have BRAINS! And unfortunately, Dopey was born with a large inheritance and a small brain. Hell, even the folks in his subdivision ranch mess with him all the time. And well they should. They got SCREWED! Dopey’s the kind of guy that will get away with WHATever he can until he gets stopped, like we’ll do next election. He’ll be a full-time goat rancher once again.

  6. First this is the same guy who sued his local fire department for not sitting at his ranch night and day on the 4th of July Weekend back in 08 when a lighting storm (which is an act of nature) caused a fire on his “ranch” and I say the word ranch because Pizza Ranch is more of a ranch then this guys housing development subdivision, but the word ranch looks good on campaign materials. Be that as it may he is shutting off use of a public resource to the public at large. Also this is the same guy that votes in congress to continue leasing land to ranchers to graze livestock at a rate that is cheaper then local property taxes. So its cheaper for a rancher to lease federal land to graze a cow, then for a rancher to own land to graze a cow, or to go rent private property to graze a cow. Also this reminds me of the deal with his mentor Conrad Burns and his buddy up in the Crazy Mountains when they wanted to trade federal forest service land and block public elk hunters, from getting to elk herds, so that an outfitter could get all the gravey. It was a great deal that would have really sticked it to the average joe hunter in Montana. And it was part of what cost Conrad his job back in 06. Maybe we can make some more hay with this and save Jon Testers job in 2012 with this same issue, its amazing how the more things change the more they stay the same.

    • Farmboy, all that rage and fury have you stumbling right by the State sign which announces ‘State Land Recreational Use Restriction’. The hunting use allowed by the state appears to be archery only.

      • Craig its public land as John Gibson said “we are not steping on private property rights but at the same time whats public is public.” Now the state DNRC probley restricts this as bow hunting for safety reasons, because it is so close to a major population center that they dont want a rifle bullet going threw somebodys window or house. I get that, but what Rehberg or Snappy Jack Cattle has done here is they have set their own restrictions on State land and they have no right to do that. They are guests of the public estate, same as Joe Hunter, or Jane Birdwatcher, or Billy the Hiker. They are putting their restrictions on my public land. Unacceptable. And as for Congressman Rehberg being powerful, he gets his power from those he governs, he is elected and he works for the people of Montana, he is essentially a hired hand. Now come January 2013 he will be just another average citizen with a few bucks in the bank more then me but still he will be nothing special, just an ex congressman.

  7. Denny’s hypocrisy knows NO bounds………he always want it both ways, and screaming for cuts to FEMA while ‘smiling and smoozing’ at public works projects (which he and the tea baggers vote against) and claiming yet more credit………amazing.

  8. I’m with Farmboy. This kind of stuff shouldn’t be tolerated. And where the hell are the media on this? COME ON. This is public land. This states reporters are pathetic.

    • The Media is being held hostage by the AD Buyers, the best example was during the BP spill. They bought all that ad time for commercials saying how hard they were working to clean up the spill, but the Stations and papers knew if they published ANYthing true about BP they would lose the ads… They sold out.

      Here the Coal and Oil companies etc, want Denny to be Senator…..

  9. Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers | August 31, 2011 7:54 PM at 7:54 PM |

    UH oh! Add LIAR to Dopey Reeburp’s OTHER values that he values! HEY, the dude’s a values dude! He’s got’em, and lyin’ his ASS off is one of’em! And he’s got a family, so he’s a family values kinda guy!

    See the vid of Dopey valuin’ his value of lyin’ his ass off! It’s called the Boy Who Lied Wolf While Lyin’ His Ass Off!

  10. Well, this looks pretty pathetic on Cowgirl’s part, too.
    You can hardly read the REST of the sign, which has questions or comments and contact information from the Billings Dert Jerx.
    Never mind that Gibson has his own agenda here, being a “hunter and angler” fellow-traveler.
    I couldn’t read the phone number, but if there is any press coverage of this, it dang well better cover the Dirt Jerx angle.

  11. Substance! I have long maintained that the essence of public land dispute is thenhand of private powerntaking control of the commons. Cloud it be more clear?

    Well done CG!

    • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers | September 1, 2011 7:44 AM at 7:44 AM |

      Drunk much?

    • That’s your bailiwick. That post was what I call jobs-speak, or the keypad on the IPad substituting it’s own words for mine as I type. It’s iincredibly annoying but I’ve not had access to a real keyboard in three weeks.

      The words were meant ot complliment CG on a very good post – the essnence of the public land debate is the power of private landowners to take control of the commons for their own private profit. This is what Rehberg is doing and she is right to call him out on it. For once she nailed him on a real issue. Kudos.

  12. Jobs speaks. Dammit!

  13. This cracker needs to be sued for access laws of public land. If he has any chained and locked I’d just cut it off and go in anyway. We need to vote this thief out of office he is just using his position to steal from the public. Bye, bye Dopey

    • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers | September 1, 2011 7:47 AM at 7:47 AM |

      Steal AND sue. Dopey is as litigious as he is felonious! And THIS from the party that hates lawyers! Dopey sure LUVS him some LAWyers when he wants to screw over the public. Funny how that works. Teatard logic at it’s finest.

      • These guys all love lawyers and using their money to access the Courts when its to their benefit. But when the tables are turned and consumers or the little guy in general has a need suddenly its all about stopping the frivolous lawsuits. Rick Hill’s case in front of the Montana Supreme Court is the perfect example of their bullshit hypocrisy.

  14. Look at all the fanboys coming out of the woodwork to try to cover for Rehberg on this. When you see this happening, you know the Rehberg camp knows this story is damaging. They probably have Iverson out threatening editors not to do stories on this. Rehberg doesn’t get held do the same standards as the states other electeds I guess.

  15. Ive got a question, a few months ago a big stink was made in the Lee Newspapers about Governor Schwietzer not allowing public hunting on his newly accquired ranch at Avon, why was there such a stink about that and not even a peep about Rehberg? So the press can question Schwietzer but not Rehberg? Come on.

  16. Here’s the latest on Congressman Denny Rehberg’s control of some 2,394 acres of State School Trust Lands. For the past couple of decades many of us in the surrounding neighborhood have sought public access to certain school trust lands on the northwest outskirts of Billings only to be denied by the local DNRC Area Office. For years, Rehberg had an atypical Closure Designation placed on Section 20, T1N, R25E south of State Highway 3 adjoining the Indian Cliffs Subdivision for his exclusive grazing use. However, persistence has paid off after lots of letter writing and a couple of public hearings, and now Section 20 is accessible to the public for recreation in a shared relationship with livestock grazing subject to a few limited restrictions. The closure classification was officially overturned by the DNRC on August 25, 2008. The land is not opened to motorized vehicles, firearms or trapping, but archery hunting is allowed. If you wish to access this land, you are required to purchase a State Land Recreational Use License from the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks. Such a license is required for accessing all State Trust Lands opened for public recreational use.

    The latest ploy by Rehberg and company has been to post the land in question with a misleading sign indicating that Section 20, lying south of State Highway 3 is “Privately Owned Land.” Not true, it’s State Trust Land. On July 29, 2011, I personally photoed and emailed the local DNRC Area Office about this misrepresentation of ownership, and asked if the sign would be removed. I have not received any feedback from the DNRC regarding their position. The DNRC has their own State land signs posted on the property which are accurate and sufficient for identification.  

    Rehberg has been the primary leaseholder on the land in question for decades, and it’s all about his control of the land, hoping someday that the State Land Board will sell same to him for development. The misleading posted land is now subleased or otherwise operated by the Snappy Jack Cattle Company in some further association with a Billings dirt bike coalition. I would argue that only the State has the right to grant privileges and limit usage within the land boundaries. Other parties have no rights or privileges to grant anything period, nor do they have the right to limit usage. In my view, the State Land Board should not allow any subleaseing to third party tenants.

    I attended the public hearing on June 18, 2008, when the limitations of use were discussed at the DNRC Area Office. The newly posted “Privately Owned Land” sign states, that access is restricted to existing trails, and that violators will be prosecuted for trespassing, if found off trail. This intimidating language is contrary to the DNRC land use limitations. The tenant has no right to further restrict access. It is my understanding having purchased a Recreational Use License, that I have access to any and all portions of the land in question, subject only those limiting conditions cited by the DNRC. I strongly object to this land being posted by the tenant as Privately Owned Land. What say you?

    Another and more important issue is the extremely poor condition of the land. One only has to look at other private lands along Highway 3, and the school lands stick out like the perpetual sore thumb. What say you on that? DNRC can’t blame prairie dogs entirely. The land has been severely overgrazed and thus its cattle carrying capacity is reduced which in turn means less money for state schools. The cheatgrass is now the dominant species, and is highly abundant on the land in question. Cheatgrass is an invasive weed having a negative impact on the land. Cheatgrass has moved in and has overtaken the native grasses. In my view, the DNRC should retire the land for a few years until it’s once again suitable for livestock grazing based on a sound seasonal grazing period (months), and allowing only the proper number of AUM’s. An effort should be made by the DNRC to control the cheatgrass on these State lands.

    • George, if you’re willing to send me a copy of the photograph you took of Dennis’ sign, I’d love to publish it online at Left in the West and A Chicken is not Pillage. I haven’t a doubt that, with your permission and attribution, MTCowgirl would publish it as well. What you’ve written here has real bite, and deserves as many eyeballs as possible.

      You are right to object to Dennis’ behavior. This is your land. Mine too.

      • Great idea Rob. With your permission, George, I’d be happy to do the same.

        • Just thought I’d let you guys know that we took those signs down. There was a miscommunication in our bike club and we were only supposed to put those signs on the fence crossings that went into private land. One of those “too many cooks in the kitchen” deals. The signs are gone now. Also, we built the crossing ramps that are next to the signs. Nice, eh? We were working with the fella who is running his cattle on the land so that we could ride our bikes and hike on there while his cattle were on there. It’s a bummer that an advocacy organization is mad at another advocacy organization when we have the same goals. Denny didn’t even know about those signs.

    • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers | September 1, 2011 3:43 PM at 3:43 PM |

      Great article, George. Dopey’s sense of entitlement is showing, and it’s UGLY! Just who the hell does that little gubmint suckin’ pipsqueak think he is?! The Prince of the Rimrocks thinks he inherited OUR land too! What a slimeball! And then, to lease it out again! What a freakin’ jerk! But you’re right, George. It don’t WORK that way even if your last name is Reeburp!

      We need a good reporter to take this story on and ask just WHAT makes Dopey Reeburp different than the average citizen. Is it the fact that Dopey has been suckin’ off the gubmint for the last twenty odd years? Is THAT how one gets such a sense of entitlement? Is he a welfare queen? Is Dopey the rural equivalent of the mythical black welfare mom who has more kids to get more money? Dopey has more COWS to get more money????

      Shame on Dopey! The Prince needs to be taken DOWN a notch or two.

  17. George-this is very interesting. My first question is when did you first report this to DNRC? They probably move at the speed of government, but I would hope the would at least respond at some point….If not, that’s a problem.

  18. Wouldn’t be surprised if Rehberg had intimidated the local officials into backing off by threatening to sue them or harm their careers if they took action. Pressure can be applied very subtle ways when you are a millionaire congressman–ways that aren’t able to be documented.

  19. This whole issue has been taken way out of text!! I’m an avid mountain biker who has been riding the trails, both on the State Land Trust land and on private land, and have been working with the leasee whom leases from both Rehberg and the State Land Trust on keeping open the trails that cross the privatly owned land that is adjacent to the State Trust Land (near Indian Cliff sub division). Our local bike group are the ones who posted the signs, not Rehberg. If fact we have only worked with the leasee, not Reberg, on the way the signs read. I don’t know if Reberg ever even know that there were signs at all, we never were in contact with Reberg. I apologize to whom ever was mis informed by the mis wording of the signs concerning the State Trust Land. We removed the signs as soon as we realized that the wording was not correct and mis leading. Our intent was not to limit access to state land but to allow access to the adjacent private land and to protect the leasee intesests concerning the private sections of land the trails cross(fences, staying on trails, etc.). We included on the signs contact infomation so if any one had any issues or coments, but we received no feed back until now. I think that calling whose responsable for the mis worded signs would have been a much better solution to the problem than posting You Tube videos and internet blogs/gossip, unless of course they wanted to sling some political mud about ( I guess it is that time of year). Once again I’m sorry to all involved, the signs have been removed and our bike group will continue to try and work with the private land owners who have so graciously let us on their land.


    • changes nada about ray-bung the man.
      he is still who we think he is.

    • Larry Kralj, Environmental Rangers | September 13, 2011 4:06 PM at 4:06 PM |

      Interesting. Thanks for the clarification, Brian. Now, I’ll have to digest all that. But one question. Did you guys realize that what you were doing might be misinterpreted in any way? Maybe a nice note to bike riding trail users would have been in order, for the sign itself is very threatening and confusing. Maybe a bike picture or something? Or maybe, Bike Riders, stay on trails as a courtesy when riding on private property. ANYthing to indicate the use you were refering to.

      But thanks any way for your explanation. We must be careful when we attempt to much in a sign I guess when dealing with public land. Private land, no one gives a crap. But public land is very different. (as you’re finding out)

  20. @cowgirl Please respond so that we know you have read Mr. Thompson’s reply.

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