Aryan Nations leader leaves Idaho compound


Associated Press

SPOKANE – Aryan Nations leader Richard Butler has moved out of his 20-acre northern Idaho compound, according to a supporter.

The neo-Nazi must relinquish the compound soon to satisfy part of a $6.3 million judgment against him in a civil lawsuit.

Wealthy supporter Vincent Bertollini last week purchased a home for Butler in nearby Hayden, Idaho, and Butler has moved in, Bertollini said today.

Hayden is about 40 miles east of Spokane.

“The icon of the now defunct (ha) Aryan Nations has ‘left the property,’ ” Bertollini wrote in an e-mail to reporters. “There is nothing but silence there now.”

A woman who answered the telephone at the Aryan Nations said they would have no comment. She declined to answer questions.

The lawsuit also stripped Butler of the right to use the name Aryan Nations, but he has settled on an alternative, “The Aryan National Alliance,” Bertollini wrote.

Butler, 82, was due to turn over the property to Victoria and Jason Keenan as early as this week. The Keenans last month won a negligence lawsuit against Butler after they were shot at and assaulted by Aryan Nations security guards in 1998.

Bertollini said Butler’s enemies “can hire their trucks, vans and minions to cart away Pastor Butler’s possessions of a lifetime.”

“Pastor Butler will continue preaching. Pastor Butler will continue printing and Pastor Butler will continue to ride the Internet,” Bertollini wrote.

Bertollini and associate Carl Story, both of nearby Sandpoint, Idaho, operate the 11th Hour Remnant Messenger, which shares the anti-Semitic, white supremacist philosophy of Aryan Nations. They have used wealth from their Silicon Valley computer ventures to finance mass mailings and other activities.

Bertollini purchased the $107,500 house for Butler in a deal that closed last week. Butler and his German Shepherd Fritz have been seen at the property in recent days.

The small gray house sits in a neighborhood filled with minivans and swing sets, just west of the Hayden Lake Country Club.

The house can’t be put in Butler’s name because it would be subject to seizure by the Keenans.

On Saturday, Butler and an unknown number of supporters will march down the main street of nearby Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

“This is a ‘White Pride’ and Racial Awareness March where true Aryans are standing together … and showing the fine folks of north Idaho and the national media that we are not going to be silenced,” Bertollini wrote.

It’s unclear how many supporters will march. In the past, thousands of protesters have descended on Coeur d’Alene to shout down the neo-Nazis.

Human rights advocates say that rather than protesting, they plan to spread a positive message. The Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations will begin its “Idaho, the Human Rights State” campaign this weekend.

Butler still hopes to receive a new trial after losing the negligence lawsuit Sept. 7. His motion alleged there was juror misconduct, with some jurors allegedly saying they wanted to send a message to the Aryan Nations that it was not wanted in northern Idaho.

First District Judge Charles Hosack is still working on the decision, a clerk said.

Copyright ©2000 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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