Willis Carto archive

Including information about his associates

Declaration of Tom Marcellus

Legion for the Survival of Freedom, Theodore O’Keefe, Thomas Marcellus, Mark Weber and Greg Raven


Foundation to Defend the First Amendment, Liberty Lifeline Foundation, Willis Carto and Elisabeth Carto


Case No 719141, Superior Court of the State of California for the County of Orange

Declaration of Tom Marcellus

I, Thomas J. Marcellus Declare and State:

  1. I give this declaration in support of the issuance of a restraining order and I know the contents hereof to be true and of my own knowledge and if called upon to testify I could competently do so.
  2. Since 1989 I have been the Chief Executive Officer and Agent for Service of Process of the Legion for the Survival of Freedom, Inc., a non-profit Texas corporation doing business in California. Since 1986 I have been the director of the Noontide Press and Institute for Historical Review, the company names under which the Legion does business
  3. The Legion’s offices, located at 711 W. 17th Street in Costa Mesa are comprised of suites D-3 and D-4. Suite D-3 is rented from Foundation to Defend the First Amendment. Suite D-4 is rented from Liberty Life Line Foundation.
  4. On September 25, 1993, the Board of Directors of the Legion met and elected new directors to fill vacancies left by two directors, Lewis and LaVonne Furr, who had formally resigned by letter dated September 16, 1993. At that Board meeting I was elected President and reconfirmed as Chief Executive Officer of the corporation, and resolutions were passed terminating Willis Carto’s association with the Legion and charging me to recover all records and assets of the corporation which I and the Board believed were, and are still, in Carto’s possession.
  5. On October 1, 1993, I mailed a letter to Carto notifying him of the termination of his agency with the Legion, demanding that he turn over to the officers of the Legion all property, assets, records and documents of the Legion, and notifying him that neither he nor his wife, Elisabeth Carto, were welcome at the Legion offices in Costa Mesa.
  6. On October 5, 1993, I mailed a letter to Carto cautioning him against taking any rash action, and proposing a meeting to settle all matters amicably.
  7. On the morning of October 14 I received two telephone calls from Carto. During the first we agreed to meet on October 15 at 11:30 a.m. at Attorney William Hulsy’s office in Irvine. Carto said that Elisabeth was very ill and under a doctor’s care. Carto called a second time to ask who would be at the meeting. I told him myself, Ted O’Keefe, Mark Weber and Greg Raven. He said he wanted to make sure I would be there to receive the documents.
  8. O’Keefe, Weber, Raven and I left the Legions’s offices for Hulsy’s office and the meeting with Carto at approximately 10:55 a.m. on October 15, arriving at approximately 11:15 a.m.
  9. Hulsy’s secretary advised us at approximately 11:35 a.m. that Carto had just phoned and said he was running about 10 minutes late.
  10. O’Keefe called the office at approximately 11:40 a.m. to have some papers he’d forgotten faxed over to the meeting place. He remarked that it sounded as if something funny was going on at the office as he had been placed on hold for an unduly long time.
  11. I called the office at approximately 11:50 a.m., Jeannie Scott, a Legion employee, answered and said that someone had been pounding on the back door, but when she had opened it no one was there. I told her to be sure all the doors were locked and not to open them for anyone. She indicated she would comply.
  12. At approximately 12:00 noon, a fax arrived from Carto bearing the Legion’s phone number in the header, indicating he had faxed it from the Legion’s offices. The fax set forth his demands.
  13. I called the office immediately, Jeannie Scott answered and told me to hang on. After a minute Carto came on the line. I expressed my dismay at this deceit and ordered him off the premises. He said that our personal affects were being cleaned out of our desks and we could pick them up later. I told him we were coming over. He said that would be inconvenient and we could come by at 3:00 p.m. He hung up.
  14. I was notified of a call on the other line from Michelle Matteau, a Legion employee. She told me she was with her boyfriend after having been released from captivity at the office. She related that she had been in the office on the phone when suddenly someone had come up behind her, snatched the phone from her hand and physically pulled her away from her desk. She said she had been taken out to the warehouse, forced to remain seated, and held there against her will after repeated pleas to be allowed to leave. She said that Elisabeth had threatened her and demanded that she make a copy of the computer data, and that she had replied that she would have to call me [Marcellus] for permission, since I was her boss. She said that Elisabeth had shouted insults at her and made threatening motions with her arm as if to strike her. She said that after she continued to protest against being kidnapped, a conference was held between the intruders and she was finally allowed to leave the premises. I told her to go home and that I would call her later.
  15. I phoned the Costa Mesa police, told them who I was, that intruders were on the company premises, gave the address of the Legion’s office, and said that I was on my way there, about 15 minutes away.
  16. I asked Hulsy to follow us to the Legion’s office, and he agreed. I left immediately with O’Keefe, Weber and Raven.
  17. We arrived at the office at approximately 12:30 p.m. Hulsy and his paralegal Terri were already there. The police had not arrived. None of us were carrying any weapons or any object that could be used as a weapon as far as I knew. I had reason to believe that company property was being destroyed or stolen. We approached the front door. The door glass is such that it is not possible to see into the office from the outside, although it is possible to see outside from inside the office. Weber unlocked the front door. I pulled on the door and there was resistance. I shouted Open this door. There was no response so I pulled harder, the door opened, and Weber, O’Keefe, Raven and I entered the premises to attempt to secure them.
  18. Two unknown men, inside the office, assaulted us. I heard Weber or and Raven shout, several times, something to the effect of Get out — this is a civil matter. The unknown men, now assisted by Elisabeth Carto, were attempting to force us back out the door. One of them grabbed my arm. A general melee erupted. Elisabeth Carto began swinging her fists at Mark Weber.
  19. Willis Carto suddenly appeared brandishing a thick, yellow, sawed-off garden tool handle approximately two feet in length with which he attacked O’Keefe, repeatedly attempting to strike O’Keefe’s head. O’Keefe defended himself by simultaneously ducking, trying to get at Carto, and by placing his arms above his head to ward off the blows.
  20. I moved in on the two, and during one of the blows I managed to reach in, get hold of the club, and tried to extract it while yelling Let go. Carto would not, and so I began towing Carto, club and all, toward the front door in order to remove him from the premises. With the weapon disabled, O’Keefe was able to assist me. I did not see O’Keefe strike Carto, and I did not strike Carto. As O’Keefe and I were pulling Carto toward the front door, I managed to dislodge the club from Carto. I did not strike Carto or threaten to strike him with it.
  21. I later found out that Carto had had Weber arrested, alleging that Weber had attacked him with a club. From the time Carto entered the office with the club, until O’Keefe and I escorted him out the front door, Weber was no where near Carto. In fact as we were escorting Carto out the door, Weber and one of the unknown men were grappling on the floor, ten feet away from where O’Keefe and I had first begun to subdue Carto.
  22. While effecting Carto’s ejection, I saw Raven point a gun at one of the unknown men who was on the floor wrestling with Weber. The man let go of Weber and raised his hands in surrender, which put an end to the brawl inside the office.
  23. We got Carto out the door except for his leg and arm with which he tried to hold himself in. Elisabeth Carto, now just outside the door, began swinging a cement door prop. This heavy object she wielded in both hands and appeared to be attempting to strike Ted with repeated upward thrusts. Someone eventually managed to get the thing away from her. There was much shouting outside in the adjacent parking area. Finally, the Costa Mesa police arrived.
  24. I was badly shaken by all this and sustained injuries, including blisters on the fingers of my left hand from my grip on Carto’s club, and a large bleeding bruise on the inside of my right ankle. I received treatment for these injuries on October 16, 1993. X-rays of the ankle were taken and I was prescribed a pain-killer and ice to reduce swelling.
  25. When the police had finished their work and advised me that I was responsible for securing the property, I surveyed the premises. I found that the back door deadbolt had been sawed through, most of the telephones disconnected, the drawers of my desk ransacked and emptied, the printer disconnected from my computer, fresh locks affixed to the suite D-4 front and back doors and the suite D-3 back door, and several file folders, many loose papers, a suitcase, a portable phone, and other items on the desk in the D-4 office where Carto had set up his command post. I looked through some of the papers and file folders and found many documents on Legion letterhead, which I recovered on behalf of the Legion.
  26. I also found and took possession of documents that described in detailed plans for the break-in and occupation of the two suites. Among these were notes both typewritten and in Carto’s handwriting, one which lists the break-in tools, weapons, and other items to bring, including cash, glue to stop locks, chains, locks, keys, sledge, crowbar, clubs. Another note dated October 14, 1993 concerns the rent in Costa Mesa wherein a Carto employee in Washington, D.C., Blayne Hutzel, is instructed: Do not deposit anything, which I believe means that the Legion’s rent checks were not to be cashed.
  27. Another document dated October 7, 1993 on letterhead of Foundation to Defend the First Amendment, Legion’s landlord for the D-3 suite, grants Elisabeth Carto Power of Attorney to take possession of the property.
  28. At no time was the Legion or any of its employees or officers notified verbally or in writing of any rent deficit or other tenant violation or served any eviction warning or notice. We had not received a three day notice to pay rent or quit. It was my belief that rent was properly paid and current, and that Carto planned to violate the rental agreement in any case in order to concoct a justification for breaking and entering and plundering the Legion’s assets and records.
  29. Recovered documents on Legion letterhead detail Carto’s efforts to dummy up phony Legion Board meeting minutes electing Elisabeth Carto and Henry Fischer, a Carto associate known to me, to the Legion Board to fill the vacancies left by LaVonne and Lewis Furr days after their resignations.
  30. These documents, I am convinced, paint a revealing picture of Carto’s underhanded last ditch efforts to illicitly seize paper control of the Legion and its assets for himself while simultaneously employing an elaborate scheme, one that could have resulted in serious injury or even death, to trick Legion officers into being away from the office, leaving it unprotected during Carto’s daylight raid.
  31. This incident has caused employee moral to suffer, the loss of a half day of production for the entire company, and other financial loss. It has become necessary to hire around-the-clock guards to protect the property at more than $400.00 per day, the locks have had to be repaired or changed, and now that our landlords have breached their rental agreements and proven hostile we are forced to find and move to a new location at great expense.

I declare under penalty of perjury and the laws of the State of California that the foregoing is true and correct.

Thomas J. Marcellus

October 17, 1993