Willis Carto archive

Including information about his associates

Willis and Elisabeth Carto to File for Bankruptcy

May 15, 1998

Willis and Elisabeth Carto’s California attorney Brian Urtnowski today informed Judge Maino of the California Superior Court that the Cartos may not be appearing in court on May 19, as ordered by Maino, because they will be filing for bankruptcy. This announcement comes on the heels of the May 13 bankruptcy filing of Carto’s Liberty Lobby in Washington, DC. It is expected that Carto will file for bankruptcy in DC, while Elisabeth will file in California.

In filing for bankruptcy, the Cartos may have to divulge all details of their financial empire, something which they previously refused do to. Citing their Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination, both of the Cartos in recent debtor’s examinations essentially stated that divulging either the existence or location of any of their assets would lead to criminal prosecution for them.

Although this seems to be nothing more than another stalling tactic to avoid being held accountable for the $11.4 million judgment against them, in favor of the Institute for Historical Review, if true, in means that the Cartos have squandered millions of dollars in a few years’ time. In 1991, Carto gained control of a bequest worth more than $7.5 million on hehalf of the IHR. Virtually all of this money was subsequently converted by Carto to his personal use. Safe deposit boxes said to have been filled with gems and precious metals worth hundreds of thousands of dollars have never been accounted for.

Carto’s downfall started in October 1993, when IHR staffers, weary of Carto’s increasing arrogance in attempting to control the course of the revisionist movement, terminated Carto’s relationship with the IHR. With that sounce of funding suddenly unavailable to him, Carto went on a spending spree, paying attorneys across the United States hundreds of thousands of dollars in a concerted attempt to put the IHR out of business.

It now appears that the money for this spending spree came from the unknowing supporters of Carto’s Liberty Lobby, which publishes the weekly tabloid, The Spotlight. With Liberty Lobby declaring bankruptcy, it appears that Carto has run out of tax-exempt organizations to plunder.

While Carto is obviously hoping to use lax US bankruptcy laws to hide his misdeads, Liberty Lobby will have far fewer breaks accorded it. As a corporation, Liberty Lobby will have to make public every detail of its financial transactions, including mailing lists and the identities of supporters. This latter category includes anyone who has formed a trust naming Liberty Lobby. These financial details will be open to scrutiny by the public at large, as well as by governmental agencies such as the IRS, and long-time foes of Liberty Lobby such as the Anti-Defamation League. Carto, in taking the Fifth, cited his concerns about the possibility of pending IRS investigations into his personal dealings. Supporters, customers, and advertisers of Liberty Lobby will be afforded no such protection once Liberty Lobby’s books are opened.

Meanwhile, protected by bankruptcy laws, the Cartos will continue to enjoy their jet-set lifestyle, their hilltop mansion in southern California, and safe deposit boxes.