“You can’t make this stuff up.”
So said District 2 Supervisor Duce Minor in a special meeting of the La Paz County Board of Supervisors this past week, addressing an agenda item which came after an online posting by someone purporting to be the legendary ‘Goatman’.
Item 2 on Wednesday’s agenda asked the Board to vote to send a ‘cease and desist’ letter to GoFundMe regarding the use of the County’s official seal. GoFundMe is a fundraising website on which anyone can start a fundraising campaign; in this case the posting was named ‘Save La Paz County’ and its goal was $10 million.
Under a picture of the seal of La Paz County, a brief, rambling synopsis identified “financial mistakes” and the “absence of accountability” as causes for the County’s recent fiscal issues and said, “We call upon the generousity of the world and seek audience with the hearts of its inhabitants” in order to save it.
The source of the post, which was shared multiple times on social media, was Niichaad Bilagaana, a fictitious person who emerged on Facebook almost 7 years ago identifying himself as the legendary ‘Goatman’, an apocryphal half-man, half-goat which has been part of modern folklore in the Parker area for at least 6 decades.
Niichaad Bilagaana was mentioned briefly in the 2010 short documentary ‘Goatman: Search for the Legend‘, which put the old stories on the record and contained filmed interviews with many locals about their experiences and memories of the mythical creature. The Facebook account claiming Bilagaana to be the Goatman had emerged during the film’s production, and is still sporadically active almost 7 years later, with occasional posts about topics like the desert heat, the presidential election and scaring people.
Supervisor DL Wilson started by saying, “I’m trying to maintain my sense of humor about this,” adding that the fundraiser was started by a fictitious person, and acknowledging the link to the “legend of the Goatman”, which prompted loud laughter from those assembled in the boardroom. Nevertheless, Wilson said there is no beneficiary connected to the County for any funds raised, and that the use of the official seal of the County is illegal, with the statute saying that the Board of Supervisors “shall issue” a ‘cease and desist’ letter anytime the seal is used without such authorization.
After saying he proposes a motion asking the County Attorney to send the letter demanding removal of the County seal, Supervisor Minor interjected, saying, “Or send us $10 million,” which got another laugh. Civil Deputy County Attorney Glenn Buckelew also spoke up to ask, “Do you have any idea where we would send the letter?” Wilson responded that they had identified a “legal filings” address at GoFundMe where it needed to be sent.
The motion carried.
At this time of writing, the GoFundMe posting no longer contains the County’s seal, but rather a photograph of a seal from the ocean holding up a sign reading, ‘Help!’ and the words ‘La Paz County’ on its hind end.