The Battle for the IHR

Published by carolyn on Tue, 2012-07-17 06:24

Following last night's Heretics' Hour program on Mark Weber and the IHR, Hadding Scott sent me the following. I think it's a good idea to post it because I agree with Hadding that even though it's written by a Jew hostile to both sides, it's probably a fairly accurate description of the actions taken by both sides. I have added emphasis in the form of bolding here and there. Hadding writes:

The issue in the lawsuit between the Legion for the Survival of Freedom and Willis Carto was diversion of funds from the will of one of the heirs of Thomas Edison. I can't say that the uses to which Carto put the money were all bad, but he had no legal right to control the money and keep it from the Legion for the Survival of Freedom, which is what the court found.

In retrospect, the whole issue of keeping the IHR and JHR focused on Holocaust revisionism looks like an argument calculated to get people [revisionists] more willing to support Weber et al. in what was really just a dispute over money.

Without that consideration i.e. the dispute over money, IHR probably would have remained under Carto's de facto control.

Leonard Zeskind is of course hostile to both sides but I think his account is factually accurate:

Although Willis Carto had ultimate command of both the Liberty Lobby complex in D.C. and the Legion for the Survival of Freedom in California, he often pretended otherwise.  When Spotlight  ran into legal trouble, he would contend that he was simply Liberty Lobby’s corporate treasurer and that the Board of Policy chair had the real power. Opposing attorneys would have to compel testimony proving that he actually controlled Liberty Lobby and its tabloid’s editorial content. 

By the same token, when IHR was pulled into court, Carto would contend he had little to do with its operations and served only as the “agent” of the Legion’s virtually invisible board of directors. In fact, Carto did remove himself from the Legion’s board, and used an elderly couple—LaVonne and Lewis Furr—as pliant corporate proxies; all while maintaining day-to-day control over its operations.  At every instance, Carto denied that any kind of link existed between Liberty Lobby and the Legion.

This set of legal fictions began to unravel after an heir of inventor Thomas Edison, Jean Farrel, bequeathed a multi-million dollar estate to the Legion for the Survival of Freedom.  Farrel was an American who took Columbian citizenship, lived in Switzerland and established a Liberian corporation, NECA, to hold her considerable wealth.  She died in August 1985, leaving behind US$16 million in bearer bonds, real estate, gold, diamonds and precious stones; all squirreled away in
banks in the United States, England, Switzerland, Germany, Singapore and Japan.  Farrel's executrix, Joan Althaus, tried to keep the estate for herself, and a legal dispute over the assets lasted six years.  At settlement in 1991, Carto received 45% of the estate, or US$7.5 million, on behalf of the Legion for the Survival of Freedom. [Since Carto spent six years fighting for the money and won, it's understandable that he felt he had the right to some say in how it was used.-cy]

The Legion never received the funds, however.  Instead, a Swiss corporation, Vibet, held the assets.  From that account, funds were transferred to another Legion account in Switzerland.  In a twist of creative bookkeeping, IHR's executive director in California was paid by a check or direct deposit drawn from the Swiss account.  And the salary amounts were carried on the Legion’s books as a loan.  Adding to the financial chicanery, Carto also funneled funds that were ostensibly the Legion’s to Liberty Lobby, Inc. in Washington D.C., its Sun Radio corporation and other undisclosed "good causes."  Leon Degrelle, the Waffen SS criminal [Zeskin's opinion-cy] then hiding out in Spain, received US$100,000 in Carto disbursements.

Carto's unrestricted use of the Farrel funds ended in September 1993. Tired of their boss’ shenanigans, IHR staffers convinced Carto’s proxie board members LaVonne and Lewis Furr to resign.  In their place, a new board of directors was appointed, including Mark Weber—who had been a leading cadre for William Pierce’s National Alliance in the late 1970s.  With Weber’s ascension, Carto lost control of the Legion and the most important center for Holocaust denial in North America and Europe.

A flurry of lawsuits followed.  After years spent denying that he had any connection other than serving as the Legion’s “agent,” Carto now maintained that he had always been, in fact, the only person in control.  Similarly, after denying any link between Liberty Lobby and the Legion, he now maintained that the Farrel money had been given to him personally and that he could give it to either Liberty Lobby orIHR as he pleased.  Based on these contentions, Carto sued to void the new board of directors.  But a California judge upheld the standing of Weber and the Legion's new board.  The Legion then sued Carto, Liberty Lobby and others to recover the Farrel funds that Carto had diverted. A second judge ruled that Carto and his co-defendants owed the Legion $6,430,000.  That amount would grow with interest.

In a letter explaining his decision, the Judge concluded that, "Mr. Carto lacked candor, lacked memory, and lacked the ability to be forthright about what he did honestly remember."  The Judge also ruled that LaVonne Furr had "allowed herself to become the pawn of Mr. Carto.”  Eight years and a dozen lawsuits later, the verdict remained the same:  Willis Carto and Liberty Lobby owed millions to the Legion for the Survival of Freedom and its offspring—the Institute for Historical Review.

To avoid payment, Carto declared personal bankruptcy in the California courts.  Liberty Lobby similarly declared bankruptcy in Washington, D.C.  It looked as if Weber, the IHR and the Legion might win every lawsuit, but lose the funds.  Then, for a brief time, the antagonists reached an agreement with an extended payment schedule.  By the end of December 2000, the Legion-IHR had received almost $400,000; enough for IHR to re-hire staff and re-start publication, but not enough to
satisfy the entire debt. [This is reflected in the 2002 IRS filing which showed a jump in revenue in year 1999 to $490, 965 and in year 2000 to $346,572, compared to under $100,000 during the prior two years. Yet it was in 2002 that the IHR stopped publishing the Journal of Historical Review. -cy]

That agreement fell apart, however, and earlier this year [2001 is the time of writing] both parties went back to court once again. Finally, Liberty Lobby reached the end of its legal rope and was ordered to make payments to the Legion or face liquidation by the courts.  After forty years of operating a D.C. office, Liberty Lobby closed its doors and ceased publishing Spotlight.  On the West Coast, Carto faces a court-ordered liquidation of personal assets.  In short, he can lose his house in Escondido to
the Legion.

For its part, the Legion-IHR continues to carry the Holocaust denial banner world-wide, and claims its prospects are the brightest in years.

What next for Willis Carto?  He is expected to begin publishing a new periodical, supposedly entitled <The American Free Press>, from new offices in D.C.  He will also use one of his many corporate shells to continue producing a magazine, <Barnes Review>, for the Holocaust denial set. [End of Zeskind excerpt]


Carolyn again: As we can see, Holocaust Revisionism -- over which this epic battle was supposedly fought -- did not win out in the end. 2001 was the beginning of the final decline of the IHR. The Journal of Historical Review ceased publishing in 2002. The "winners," Mark Weber and his allies, slowly turned away from the cause they were supposedly championing toward the now official mission of "fighting Zionist power" in the world. But are they even doing that?  Not really. The IHR has become just another begging-for-money organization that accomplishes next to nothing. There are no longer any "staffers" to revolt and convince the Board of Directors to remove Mark Weber, as earlier LaVonne and Lewis Furr were removed. Weber is the only officer at the IHR. He reigns supreme. Willis Carto's method of management -- while no doubt faulty -- was still a hundred times better than Weber's.