Willis Carto archive

Including information about his associates

Liberty Lobby’s Bankruptcy, the Institute for Historical Review, and Rumors About the Anti-Defamation League

June 20, 2001

Rumors have recently been circulating on the Internet that the Institute for Historical Review, and its parent corporation, LSF, might be arranging to sell to the Anti-Defamation League the mailing list of The Spotlight, the weekly paper of the bankrupt Liberty Lobby.

These rumors are empty talk. There is no offer from the ADL, and there are no negotiations or discussions with the ADL or any ADL agent. The IHR/LSF board of directors formally opposes any such sale.

This rumor may actually have been invented by Willis Carto, the Liberty Lobby founder and boss, as part of his drawn out campaign of sensational lies against the IHR. In a front page story in the May 28 Spotlight issue, readers were told that the IHR/LSF attorney in California, Bryan Sampson, “intends to sell the respected name,” that is, of Liberty Lobby, “to the ADL as soon as he gets ‘legal' authority to do so.”

This untrue story is typical of the lies and baseless smears that Carto and his weekly tabloid have published for years against the IHR.

What’s going on here?

Due entirely to Willis Carto’s inept and duplicitous management, Liberty Lobby is now bankrupt. On June 8, Liberty Lobby filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Washington, DC, bankruptcy court. In its filing, which was signed by Carto, Liberty Lobby acknowledged that it owes $3.8 million to IHR/LSF. The real amount, we believe, is more than $5 million. This is the amount, plus interest, that Willis Carto and his wife, Elisabeth, secretly and illegally diverted from IHR/LSF to Liberty Lobby in the early 1900s, at a time when they were operating, illegally, as “agents” of the LSF board of directors.

At a June 18 hearing in DC bankruptcy court, Judge Martin Teel affirmed the IHR/LSF lien against Liberty Lobby, and forbid Liberty Lobby from paying its employees.

In a related development, on June 15, California Superior Court Judge Runston Maino ordered the sale of the Cartos' southern California estate, in partial payment of their debt of more than $14 million to IHR/LSF.

Over the years many observers of the seemingly endless wrangle between The Spotlight, Liberty Lobby and Carto, on the one hand, and the Institute for Historical Review, on the other, have expressed the hope that the two sides might negotiate a mutually acceptable agreement to end, once and for all, this costly and time-consuming dispute.

In fact, two such agreements were concluded — and then broken by Carto and Liberty Lobby. The first was signed by all the involved parties in 1999. After the California Superior Court ruled that Carto and Liberty Lobby had broken this agreement, the case went to a mediator who, on April 5, helped the two sides to work out a second formal agreement. Within weeks of signing, Carto and Liberty Lobby broke this second agreement, failing even to comply even with its non-financial provisions. This brought the matter back into courts in both California and Washington, DC.

Now, at long last, the tragic Carto-IHR dispute appears to be coming to an end.