Madison musician poised to recover seized $91,000 - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Madison musician poised to recover seized $91,000

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MADISON (WKOW) -- A Madison musician and producer is close to recovering $91,000, after its seizure by authorities in Wyoming during a March traffic stop, and months of a legal battle.

Phil Parhamovich intended on using his life-savings to purchase iconic Smart Studios on Madison's east side, where bands Garbage, Smashing Pumpkins and others have recorded.

Parhamovich says he was pulled over for failing to wear his seat belt and making an illegal lane change, and the law enforcement officer with a canine escort asked to search his vehicle.  Parhamovich's $91,000 was found in one of his sound speakers.

Parhamovich signed a waiver allowing seizure of the money.  "They kind of scared me and made it sound like something bad could happen,"  Parhamovich says of his decision to surrender his money.  "(Suggested) 'We're going to detain you, probably spend some time in jail,"  Parhamovich says.

"They didn't find anything,"  Parhamovich says of any illegal drugs, and reiterates he had none.  He was not arrested, nor criminally charged.

Parhamovich continued to lease the Madison studio as he fought to recover his money with the help of attorneys from the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Justice. 

Last month, a Wyoming judge ruled in Parhamovich's favor.  A check from that state to Parhamovich is in a bank, waiting for financial clearance.

Parhamovich has continued to perform, and produce new music on his web site  He feels he's turning a corner after experiencing the months of anxiety over the potential loss of years of hard work.

But Parhamovich says there are still emotional scars. 

"To be robbed, and to be robbed by a police enforcement agency, it really questions your complete trust in the system," Parhamovich says.

Parhamovich says the research he's done since the seizure better prepares him for how to respond to any future, traffic stop situation.


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