The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Canadian Gold Coins, Other Assets Going to U.S. Neo-Nazi Group

By Mark Potok on June 27, 2013 - 12:54 pm, Posted in Anti-Semitic, Neo-Nazi, White Supremacist

The National Alliance, the group that long dominated the American neo-Nazi scene but has shriveled since the 2002 death of its founder, is close to receiving a Canadian bequest that may be worth as much as $1 million, reliable sources say.

The money comes from the estate of Robert Harry McCorkell, a longtime Canadian member of the Alliance and chemist who reportedly spent time at MIT and the Smithsonian Institution before dying at age 67 in St. John, New Brunswick, in 2004. The estate includes, among other assets, a collection of ancient Greek and Roman coins, at least some of them gold, that McCorkell collected over the years and that was once displayed at the University of Saskatchewan Museum of Antiquities.

The news that the West Virginia-based Alliance could soon receive a huge infusion of Canadian funds set off a storm among human rights activists, several of whom suggested it might be possible to use Canadian law to halt the transfer.

“I actually think it can be stopped,” Bernie M. Farber, the former longtime CEO of the Canadian Jewish Congress, told Hatewatch. “Let me be very clear. Anything we can do within the law to prevent hate groups and domestic terrorist groups from getting one cent, we should engage in. We haven’t heard much from the National Alliance as late, but an infusion of funds could change that in a minute.”

Members of the Alliance, which operates in Canada as well as the United States, have committed acts of terrorism over the course of some three decades, including bombings, arson and assassinations. A book by its founder was the inspiration for Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, who murdered 168 people in 1995. In 2002, the FBI described the group as “a continuing terrorist threat.” To this day, it sells manuals on explosives, boobytraps, incendiary devices and guerrilla war.

Meanwhile, Erich Gliebe, who took over the Alliance after founder William Pierce died 11 years ago and now controls its assets, has begun to liquidate its mountaintop property near Mill Point, W.V., Hatewatch has learned. Even as the once-thriving 346-acre compound falls into disrepair, Gliebe earlier this month put 289 of its most picturesque acres up for sale, asking $699,000. To some within the group, the move suggests that Gliebe, who recently was working a low-wage job in Cleveland and has little money, is winding up most Alliance political operations and cashing out. It remains unclear if and by how much he could personally benefit from the Canadian bequest.

The reasons the estate has been tied up for nine years remain obscure. John Hughes, an attorney from Moncton, New Brunswick, confirmed that he is handling the estate for McCorkell and that it is now in probate. But he would not divulge further details about the estate, which sources have told Hatewatch is expected to be settled shortly. Publications of the University of Saskatchewan have said McCorkell’s collection of some 350 coins is worth “tens of thousands of dollars,” but knowledgeable sources say the entire estate is worth several hundred thousand dollars, up to $1 million.

Curiously, Hughes paid to have McCorkell (right) buried at Fernhill Cemetery in St. John under the name of Harry Robert McCorkill, cemetery officials said, switching his first two names and altering the spelling of his last. (McCorkell’s published work, his loan of the coin collection to the University of Saskatchewan, and his will were all under the name of Robert McCorkell.) In another inexplicable twist, McCorkell’s obituary was only published this April, nine years after his Feb. 20, 2004, death, in a New Brunswick newspaper, where the McCorkill spelling was used again.

Hughes said he had nothing to do with the obituary’s recent publication, but added that McCorkell had used two different names. He at first said that McCorkell did not have two legal names, but then added, oddly, that “both names were legal and he used both.” Pressed further on McCorkell’s use of two names, Hughes said, “Well, I filed paperwork making that clear with the court.” He also suggested contacting the lawyer for the National Alliance and Gliebe. Later, when asked about the legality of money going to a U.S. neo-Nazi group, he said he had erred in talking about the case at all.

McCorkell, who joined the Alliance in 1998, was no small-time member of the group, which once included 1,400 clean-cut cadres but today has fewer than 100 members. Shortly before his death, Pierce hired the Canadian to edit his last book, Who We Are, and McCorkell moved to the West Virginia property in 2002 to do so. The book was published late last year.

The bequest angered several prominent Canadian lawyers who have been active in the area of human rights. “I think it’s outrageous and unfortunate,” Ottawa criminal attorney Leo Adler told Hatewatch. “I think the best way to challenge the will is probably for the family to say, ‘You know what, we were shocked to learn what the National Alliance is,’ that it should stay with the university or whatever.” It’s not clear, however, that McCorkell had any living relatives; his obituary mentioned none.

“It’s imperative to stop it,” agreed Richard Warman, a well-known civil rights lawyer who has brought 16 successful cases against hate groups and racist individuals before the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, a judicial body. “It’s contrary to every notion of public policy, and certainly Canada’s international obligations compel the state to prohibit the funding of racist organizations.”

Hatewatch also engaged the Ottawa law firm of Nelligan O’Brien Payne LLP to look into the matter. Attorney Pam MacEachern found two cases that suggested that a bequest to a neo-Nazi organization might be halted by legal action. In one, the Supreme Court of Canada found that the courts can interfere with the disposition of property if “the safety of the state, or the economic or social well-being of the state” is at stake and “the harm to the public is substantially incontestable.” In the second, the Ontario Court of Appeal found that a bequest left to set up a scholarship trust only for “white Christians” was not legal. “The court found that in this case the trust was so at odds with today’s social values as to make its continued operation in its present form inimical to the public interest,” MacEachern concluded.

Heidi Beirich contributed to this report.

  • Steve

    Is the United Negro College Fund illegal in Canada?

  • TDM

    I like reading these.. All I read is how such a bad man he was and is ,by people that never met nor knew him.. he was a chemist and collector ,he was not a long time NA supporter if he really ever was a supporter… funny though they seem to have tried very hard to hide the facts from his family,who they say they have been looking for but cannot seem to find… I smell something bad here.. p.s I knew him *family* oops

  • concernedcitizen

    That’s true Ruslan, it appears that people who promote White Supremacy conveniently forget that the the peaceful Black organizations that they compare themselves too are nothing like them.

    They are not sending a message of Black only or trying to promote hate, they are merely fighting for equal ground and rights that should not be denied of anyone. They do not hold themselves out as being some superior or intelligent race and the expense of trying to eliminate others based on their religious belief, sexual orientation and or color of their skin.

    When was the last time anyone heard of a peaceful Black organization opening up some sort of militia training ground preparing itself for a race war?

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    “Thats not what he’s saying…it’s just stupid that in Canada(where I live) you could have a “Negro College Fund” but the exact same thing for White people is illegal….thats not equal rights, it’s special rights”

    Comparing the UNCF to the National Alliance? When did the UNCF declare itself to be dedicated to creating a black-only homeland via revolutionary violence?

  • Erika

    Mitch, the attorney publicly disclosed that his deceased client was using two names (maybe two “legal” names which seems fairly unlikely since as far as i know people cannot have two “legal” names” which could be considering disclosing illegal activity. If not illegal, it is at least shady to disclose that his deceased client was using two names. That the name was an assumed name for someone else was likely not generally available public information – so an attorney should not publicly disclose it to the media. At least in the U.S. that is a serious no no.

  • Kiwiwriter

    Very bizarre story…odd that the lawyers are talking about it.

    I expect that Gliebe won’t get this bequest…courts tend to side with family members over charities in these will cases.

    Rich, your attempt to stomp a straw man has failed. D-minus. Try again.

  • Terry

    Rich and Steven – this is not a whitle vs black thing. It’s a terrorism thing. Of course, it you’re actually bigots or not very smart, you might simplistically view this as a white rights thing, but I’m going to assume that you’re not brain dead mouth-breathers who hate.

  • robert lieberman

    The self interest and bitter, venality can be seen on their faces. Despite her make-up it is very evident.

  • robert

    The haters ands reapers of the extreme and obsessive excessive thinking are self indulgent or opportunistic persons without a vestige of patriotism.

  • concernedcitizen

    MattJ this is more than just about the money, they don’t want money based on hate. It brings the reputation of the school down and will no doubt cause drops in enrollment.

    Some people you just don’t want on your side. They do more harm to your progress than good.

  • concernedcitizen

    McCorkell (right) buried at Fernhill Cemetery in St. John under the name of Harry Robert McCorkill, cemetery officials said, switching his first two names and altering the spelling of his last.

    I wonder how many people are going to show up to spit on his grave?

  • Reynardine

    Without more, this appears to be legal, so long as the money isn’t used for terrorism. As for how I feel about the matter,

  • Mitch Beales


    1) There are no “white” people. The whitest people are dead.

    2) Do you have any evidence that UNCF offers scholarships in Canada?

    3) Are you really so naive that you can’t see the difference between supporting underrepresented minorities and supporting the overrepresented majority?

  • Aron

    Steven, that’s a nice red herring. What evidence do you have that a White People’s Fund would be illegal?

  • Steven

    Thats not what he’s saying…it’s just stupid that in Canada(where I live) you could have a “Negro College Fund” but the exact same thing for White people is illegal….thats not equal rights, it’s special rights

  • Mitch Beales

    ” John Hughes, an attorney from Moncton, New Brunswick, confirmed that he is handling the estate for McCorkell and that it is now in probate. But he would not divulge further details about the estate…” This hardly constitutes “blabbing” about a client’s “secrets” IMHO.

  • CaligulaJones

    Hmmmm…this smells quite a bit, doesn’t it?

    Wonder if this is another RCMP/CSIS “plant”.

  • Mike Adamson

    If you google the obit you’ll find that it was published in March 2004. A minor point but there you go.

  • tim gueguen

    If the United Negro College Fund engaged n activities that contravened Canadian law against promoting hate speech it too could face legal trouble. Of course we all know it wouldn’t. Presumably this Rich fellow knows that as well.

  • Pat

    Rich: how can you possibly equate a college fund with an organization that spews racism?

  • Erika

    Who knew that Canadian lawyers are allowed to blab all about their client’s secrets to the press???

  • Gary Williams

    Yes. Exactly what I began thinking about half way through the piece. I’d bet that the lawyer’s unprofessional behavior would suddenly make a whole lot more sense if we were privvy to “the rest of the story”,(as that old broadcaster used to say when setting up his radio show).

  • Rich

    Would the United Negro College Fund be illegal in Canada?

    Nope, didn’t think so.

  • MattJ

    You don’t agree with his wishes so you want to take his money? There is nothing illegal here, this man earned the money and can do as he wished with it.

  • Manfred

    Although I applaud the SPLC for bringing this matter to light, I find it reprehensible that an attorney practicing law in Canada would talk to your reporters about this matter. Glad he did, of course, but I sure would not want the guy representing me.

    Why did the attorney disclose anything about an estate that is still in probate? Why did he disclose the name of the beneficiary? What about attorney client privilege?

    This whole thing sounds sketchy. Why is McCorkell buried under a fake name? Why did the same attorney handling his will also pay to have him buried under what looks like an alias? And why delay publishing the guy’s obit for 9 years?

    Maybe they knew this whole thing would not get past Canadian authorities unless they engaged in a bit of subterfuge.

    Like I said, SPLC, good job reporting this. Hope this FBI-designated domestic terrorist group gets nothing from the bequest.

    Please keep us informed about this case. It really looks to me like there is more to the story than meets the eye.