Idaho Says a Hopeful 'Sayonara' to Millionaire Haters

Financing Extremism

Vincent Bertollini and Carl Story, California millionaires who hoped to create an all-white homeland in northern Idaho, have both apparently left the state. The two make up the 11th Hour Remnant Messenger, a propaganda machine that spent over $1 million sending racist materials to thousands of Idaho residents.

Bertollini, 62, became a federal fugitive after fleeing drunk driving charges last summer. He also is apparently the focus of a grand jury investigation.

Though not wanted by law enforcement, the 68-year-old Story also disappeared late last year, leaving his Sandpoint house up for sale.

The two moved to Sandpoint in 1995 and immediately developed links with the neo-Nazi Aryan Nations and America's Promise Ministries, both promoters of the racist and anti-Semitic Christian Identity religion.

Bertollini became particularly close to Aryan Nations leader Richard Butler, sending out thousands of tapes of an interview he did with Butler. When a Southern Poverty Law Center civil suit cost the Aryan Nations its compound, Bertollini bought Butler a new house in Hayden.

Bertollini won no popularity contests. Running for Sandpoint mayor in 1999, he received only 33 votes. After he was arrested for drunk driving in early 2001, his third time in two years, no lawyer in the region would represent him. Even his wife has said she wants to divorce him.

It doesn't look like she'll be serving him divorce papers in person, however. Bertollini's prior DUI convictions mean that he faces between one and 10 years in prison if convicted again.

He disappeared before his trial date in July and has been rumored to be everywhere from Ireland to Costa Rica to the Virgin Islands.

Further, a federal grand jury recently subpoenaed records relating to the sale of Bertollini's house by his wife after his disappearance. That suggests that Bertollini may be under investigation, though that cannot be confirmed because federal authorities are not permitted to discuss grand jury proceedings.

Debbie Ferguson, a Sandpoint community activist, did not seem dismayed that Bertollini is so hard to find. "We're thinking of having a 'Bye-bye, Bertie' party," she said.