May 22, 2001
Having broken two formal agreements to end the seven-and-a-half year old legal fight with the IHR and its parent corporation, LSF, Willis Carto once again faces possible imprisonment and seizure of his residence for his refusal to account for millions of dollars he improperly took from IHR/LSF.
Judge Runston G. Maino of California Superior Court in Vista, north San Diego county, on Monday, May 21, set a hearing on June 15 for the sale of the Carto mansion in Escondido (near San Diego). He also ordered Willis Carto and his wife, Elisabeth, to answer questions about their assets on or before June 15, or face punishment for contempt of court.
The Cartos have already been found in contempt of court for their willful refusal to provide records showing just what they've done with millions of dollars left by Jean Farrel, an American-born woman who died in 1985 in Switzerland, to further the work of the IHR.
Judge Maino yesterday also authorized the Costa Mesa police to turn over to IHR/LSF financial records seized by police from the Carto residence on March 22, 1995.
Willis A. Carto, 74, runs Liberty Lobby, a “Populist institution” based in Washington, DC, that publishes a weekly tabloid paper, The Spotlight.
In November 1996 the Carto-IHR dispute came to trial in a civil action in California Superior Court in north San Diego County. After considering voluminous evidence, including witness-stand testimony by the Cartos and many hundreds of pages of documents, Judge Maino concluded that the Cartos, together with Liberty Lobby and several associates, had improperly diverted $6.43 million from IHR/LSF. Maino ordered the defendants to pay back this amount, plus several years' interest. The Cartos now owe LSF/IHR more than $12 million.
After Carto and Liberty Lobby broke a 1999 settlement agreement, a new agreement was negotiated and signed on April 5. Within weeks they broke this second agreement by failing to pay money to LSF/IHR, by failing to dismiss a frivolous lawsuit against LSF, Mark Weber (IHR Director) and North Carolina attorney Kirk Lyons, and by failing to publish even one of a series of quarter-page advertisement in The Spotlight.
The Cartos, along with their friend Henri Fischer, are under criminal investigation by authorities in Switzerland for money laundering and other crimes.
Detailed information about Willis Carto and the on-going Carto-IHR dispute, including complete texts of numerous key documents, can be found on this web site.