Group tries to find new house for Butler

Spokane Spokesman Review/October 14, 2000
By Bill Morlin

Fellow racists thought they had home for Aryan leader; deal fell apart Looking for new home: Elderly racist facing $6.3 million legal judgment and about to lose the keys to his 20-acre compound.

Richard Butler, the founder of the Aryan Nations, hasn't resorted to such an advertisement yet, but he's put that word out.

Now the 82-year-old Aryan leader is getting help in his search for a new home from the 11th Hour Remnant Messenger, a racist organization based in Sandpoint, sources confirm.

The 11th Hour consists of wealthy, retired businessmen Carl Story and Vincent Bertollini, who share Butler's racist religious views about Jews and African Americans.

The 11th Hour previously has financed direct mailings, including a videotape about the Aryan Nations, in Bonner and Kootenai counties.

Bertollini, a self-described evangelist for the 11th Hour, recently attempted to rent or buy a $180,000 house for Butler near Sagle, south of Sandpoint, the sources said.

The recently built "secluded cedar home" is located on five acres on Spades Road, "surrounded by trees and adjoining several large acreages," a real estate listing says.

The owner of the house, who provided information under the condition he wasn't publicly identified, confirmed this week that he was contacted by Bertollini.

"He asked about renting the house for a third party," the owner said. "I told him the house was for sale and whoever rented it would have to let it be shown."

"Bertollini then asked about a lease for three months," the owner said. "I asked who the third party was, and he told me Richard Butler."

When the seller said he's a law enforcement officer, Bertollini "told me that I had to say no more."

"I then told him that if I was to rent the house to Butler that it would ruin my chances of selling it," the seller said.

"Bertollini said he understood and that I didn't need the hassle," the seller added.

Bertollini had no comment when asked Friday about his attempts to find housing in Bonner County for Butler, who has lived in Kootenai County since 1972.

If a new home is acquired for Butler, it apparently would have to be put in a third party's name to prevent the property from being seized to satisfy the judgment.

Bertollini previously said he and Story would see to it that Butler didn't "end up on the street," suggesting they would come to his financial rescue.

"Butler will never leave this area," Bertollini said at the outset of a seven-day jury trial in Coeur d'Alene.

It concluded Sept. 7 with a $6.3 million judgment against Butler and the Aryan Nations.

The white supremacist and his organization were guilty of gross negligence in appointing security guards who carried out a 1998 assault against a North Idaho woman and her son, Victoria and Jason Keenan.

To begin collecting that judgment, attorneys for the plaintiffs immediately initiated action to seize the Aryan compound and assets there. The property, including an old farm house, a guard tower and church building, is worth an estimated $200,000.

But the sheriff's seizure was called off when the Butler's attorney and the plaintiffs agreed to a plan for him to surrender his property if trial Judge Charles Hosack doesn't grant a new trial.

If the judge denies Butler's request for a new trial, the Aryan Nations property and assets, its Web site domain name and the Aryan Nations name will be deeded to the Keenans.

That is scheduled to take place either Oct. 25 or one week after the judge's ruling, whichever occurs later.

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