Willis Carto archive

Including information about his associates

Revisionist Leader’s Property Seized Legally, Judge Rules

NEWPORT BEACH — A judge ruled Friday that Costa Mesa police and other agencies legally seized bank statements, guns and other property from the former leader of a historical revisionism group.

Police seized the property in March from the homes of Willis Carto and an associate, both in northern San Diego County, during an investigation into whether the two embezzled $7.5 million from the Legion for the Survival of Freedom. Carto has denied doing anything illegal with the money.

The Legion is the parent company of the Costa Mesa-based Institute for Historical Review, a think tank known best for its claims that accounts of the Holocaust are exaggerated. Carto founded the group but was ousted in October, 1993.

Newport Beach Municipal Judge Susanne S. Shaw ruled the search warrant was constitutional and authorities acted properly, said Michele Vadon, an attorney representing Costa Mesa and the Police Department.

We can keep those documents we obtained in the search that we deem to be relevant in the criminal investigation, Vadon said.

The continuing investigation has not resulted in any charges, she said.

Carto’s attorneys contended that the search warrant never should have been issued because it contained lies made to police by leaders of the institute about the alleged embezzlement and omissions of important facts.

The institute contends in a lawsuit that it never received $7.5 million bequeathed to its parent organization in 1985.