Tuesday, September 12, 2000
Today the California state Court of Appeal in San Diego (Fourth Appellate District, Division One, 750 B Street, Suite 500, San Diego, CA) will hear oral arguments in Willis Carto’s appeal of an adverse multi-million dollar judgment rendered by Judge Runston G. Maino in November 1996.
Counsel for the Institute for Historical Review (and its parent corporation, Legion for the Survival of Freedom), are asking that the lower court decision be upheld on three main points:
First, that there was no error in the lower court judgment;
Second, that the appeal should be disallowed due to bad faith on the part of the judgment debtors, particularly the Cartos, who have steadfastly refused to comply with court orders for many years; and
Third, that evidence obtained since the original judgment clearly shows that Carto and his attorneys misrepresented numerous key facts under oath. New documents reveal, among other things, that prior to 1993, Carto himself considered the proceeds of the Jean Farrel estate to belong to the LSF/IHR. Thus it was not, as he has often claimed since 1993, given to him personally by Ms. Farrel.
Because the vast majority of material for the Court of Appeal for consideration is submitted in writing, oral arguments are held only for the purpose of bringing to the Court’s attention new material or law, just prior to a ruling being handed down. It is expected that the Court will issue its ruling within a month of hearing oral arguments.
Although normally appeals in California can take 22 to 24 months, this appeal was delayed for several months by the bankruptcy filings of judgment debtors Willis and Elisabeth Carto, Lewis and LaVonne Furr, and Liberty Lobby. Additionally, Carto’s California attorney requested a continuance that moved the date for oral arguments from July to September.
This appeal is allowed as part of the negotiated settlement between LSF/IHR and the judgment debtors. As part of the settlement, the judgment debtors also were to make installment payments in a timely manner, turn over LSF/IHR corporate documents in their possession, turn over the LSF/IHR corporate seal, and dismiss nearly three dozen lawsuits they had brought against LSF/IHR since the discovery that they had diverted millions of dollars meant for the LSF/IHR. As of today, while most of the lawsuits have been dismissed, the debtors are $195,000 in arrears on payments, and have failed to turn over LSF/IHR corporate documents or the corporate seal. Because attorneys for the judgment debtors have so far refused to respond substantively to repeated letters from LSF/IHR’s counsel, it is expected that LSF/IHR will soon ask the court to vacate the settlement agreement, which would almost certainly result in the seizure of the Carto estate in California, as well as the seizure of Liberty Lobby.