Canadian Court Temporarily Halts Money Going to U.S. Neo-Nazi Group

A Canadian judge has granted a temporary injunction that blocks distribution of a major bequest left to a notorious American neo-Nazi group. The move, won by lawyers for the sister of the deceased man on Monday, means the National Alliance (NA) cannot collect an estimated $160,000, after taxes, for another eight days.

Attorneys for Isabelle McCorkill are contesting the will of her brother, Robert McCorkill, also known as McCorkell, on the grounds that it violates Canadian public policy by providing funding to the NA, a group whose members have a long history of bombings, assassinations, arson attacks and other terrorist activities. Her lawyer, Marc-Antoine Chiasson, told the National Post newspaper that she acted because she was “disturbed” by who the gift was going to, not because she sought money.

The case has drawn major attention in the Canadian media since this blog reported in late June that McCorkill’s estate was about to settle and that the NA could be receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars in short order. Canadian probate records show the amount is just under $250,000, but there are taxes and other fees owed.

The Southern Poverty Law Center is not an intervener in the Canadian case, but has provided an affidavit to the court describing the NA’s promotion of violence, criminal history and Hitlerian ideology. The affidavit details the group’s plans for a “temporary unpleasantness” once it takes power, as it works to carry out the “racial cleansing of the land.” It also quotes the NA’s founder saying, “Ultimately, we will win the war only by killing our enemies, not by any clever, indirect schemes.”

The injunction was granted for 10 days only, but Chiasson has told reporters that he intends to seek its renewal when that period runs out. A hearing on extending the injunction is scheduled for July 31 in New Brunswick.

The NA was once the most important and dangerous hate group in America. Its founder, William Pierce, is the author of The Turner Diaries, a race war novel that inspired, among many others, Timothy McVeigh, who murdered 168 people in the 1995 bombing of an Oklahoma City federal building. But it has fallen on hard times since Pierce’s 2002 death, shrinking from 1,400 members and an annual income of nearly $1 million to under 100 members and virtually no income today.

The fear, among both American and Canadian human rights advocates and others, is that the infusion of new funds could essentially bring the NA back to life.

The Toronto Star reported that probate documents in the case show that Robert McCorkill, who joined the NA in 1998 and was a personal friend of Pierce, also knew Malcolm Ross, an infamous Canadian Holocaust denier and former school teacher fired for his anti-Semitic views. Ross was listed as a “friend of the estate.”

Part of the estate is a major collection of ancient Greek and Roman coins collected by McCorkill, who was a Canadian chemist and, according to the National Post, a retired professor. He died in 2004, but his will was not probated until recently. The estate also includes a small amount of Nazi memorabilia and a human skull.

Under American law, it seems clear that the bequest could not be halted. But Canadian law includes broader provisions covering the public good, and lawyers for McCorkill’s sister and others are working to halt the transfer under that theory.