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Anti-Government Farmer Took Crop Subsidies

April 26, 1995

CASS CITY, Mich. (AP) _ James Nichols may have avoided taxes, returned his Social Security card, renounced his U.S. citizenship and refused to carry a driver’s license.

But he still wanted _ and got _ federal farm assistance.

Nichols and his brother, Terry, were charged Tuesday as conspirators with Timothy McVeigh, suspect in the Oklahoma City bombing, in the construction of explosive devices in Michigan. McVeigh was not charged in the Michigan case, and the Nichols brothers are not charged in the Oklahoma bombing.

On June 2, 1992, James Nichols mailed a certified letter to the Sanilac County clerk’s office. He said he was ``no longer one of your citizens or residents of your de facto government and is a non-resident alien, non-foreigner, STRANGER!″

But last month, the farmer from Decker, Mich. complained to his state representative that he wasn’t getting all the federal farm disaster aid he thought he was due.

Nichols got $36,522 in payments between 1986 and 1994 for wheat, feed grains and disaster aid, according to a source in the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the figure was likely to increase as the department continued to search its records.

Private sources familiar with the Agriculture Department subsidy payments told the AP that one person in the 3600 block of North Van Dyke Road, where Nichols lives, received $89,950 in farm subsidy payments from 1986 to 1992. The Kansas City Star reported earlier that Nichols had received that amount.

A Michigan state representative, Kim Rhead, said Nichols attended a meeting last month of a group called We the People. Most of the handful of people at the meeting were concerned with tax issues.

But Nichols and another farmer complained about their subsidies for recent crop damage caused by a late freeze and heavy rains last summer, Rhead said.

A source at the Agriculture Department said that Nichols’ request for assistance under the 1994 aid program was pending.

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