Willis Carto archive

Including information about his associates

Uncut gems, gold coins, and stock certificates vanish

What Has Carto Done With the Farrel Estate Millions?

Carto Takes the Fifth in IHR’s Multi-Million Dollar Lawsuit Against Carto and Liberty Lobby
Why the Institute for Historical Review Charges that Willis Carto Illicitly Diverted Millions

By Mark Weber
Journal of Historical Review
Institute for Historical Review
P.O. Box 2739
Newport Beach, CA 92659

In September 1993, the Institute for Historical Review — the world’s foremost revisionist history research and publishing center — terminated its relationship with Willis Carto — founder and head of the Washington, DC-based Liberty Lobby organization.

Since then Carto has been waging a frantic propaganda campaign against the IHR and those associated with it. In the classic Big Lie tradition, nearly every week he hurls new attacks in the pages of The Spotlight, the weekly Liberty Lobby tabloid paper he controls. In addition to numerous personal attacks, including smears appealing to religious prejudice, Carto above all puts out the lie that the IHR has been taken over and is now controlled by the Zionist Anti-Defamation League.

Missing Millions

What’s behind this mad campaign?

Carto acts with the desperation of a man who fears that his furtive past is now coming to light. He is particularly afraid of being called to account because he - together with his wife, Elisabeth, and a close crony named Henry Fischer - illicitly diverted millions of dollars that lawfully belong to the IHR’s parent corporation - the Legion for the Survival of Freedom, Inc.

At issue is the estate of Jean Farrel, a descendant of inventor Thomas Edison who died in Switzerland in August 1985. For several years prior to her death, she was one of the IHR’s most generous supporters. At a meeting in March 1984, Farrel explained to IHR Director Thomas Marcellus that she intended to leave her estate — which included stock certificates, unset diamonds and gold coins — to further the work of the IHR. Acting as agent for the Legion, Carto in Lausanne, Switzerland, on July 17, 1990, signed legal papers, including a Distribution Agreement, that specified that more than seven million dollars of the Farrel estate were to go to the Legion.

All the available evidence, including Swiss court documents, makes clear that the Farrel estate money was meant for the IHR/Legion. But Carto took measures — even fabricating minutes of corporate board meetings that never took place — to grab control of this fortune for his own uses. Betraying Jean Farrel’s wishes, he allowed only a small fraction of her estate to reach the IHR in the form of a loan.

In January 1991, Carto arranged for Henry Fischer to be given legal power of attorney to take all legal and practical measures which may be required to secure and expedite the lawful portion of the estate of Jean Farrel.

During a May 24, 1994, arbitration hearing, Carto was obliged under oath to acknowledge documentary evidence showing that he and Fischer had transferred at least $100,000 of IHR/Legion money to Liberty Lobby, from which Carto draws a salary. Carto also confirmed that he had arranged other, similarly large transfers of money from the Legion/IHR to non-related enterprises under his control. Carto has been unable to cite any lawful authorization for these extraordinary transfers of money.

In July the IHR/Legion brought a multi-million dollar lawsuit against Carto to recover the Farrel estate funds diverted by Carto and his accomplices. In this lawsuit, Carto not only refuses to provide an accounting of how he has distributed the Farrel bequest money under his control, he has announced his refusal to answer any questions. Citing the Fifth Amendment, Carto says he declines on the basis that his answers may incriminate him.

Carto’s secretive disposal of money, with no accountability, is an arrogant betrayal of the trust of numerous men and women who have generously supported the IHR over the years.

Has Carto shamelessly deceived IHR and Liberty Lobby donors, using others to front for him, and taking their money to sustain a luxurious lifestyle for himself and his wife — which includes an opulent estate and luxury automobiles? Until he is forced to come clean about the finances of the secretive operations he controls, serious questions will remain unanswered.

Secretive Crony

Carto’s close crony in his seizure of the Farrel estate has been Henry J. Fischer, a secretive man with a history of international shady dealings who grew up in French Indochina and later lived in Australia.

In March 1976 Fischer absconded to southern California with $500,000 belonging to the Australian Labor Party. The money had been secretly donated to the Party by Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein in return for political concessions as part of a strange fund-raising venture in which Fischer acted as the go-between. A meeting between two Iraqi agents and Labor Party leader (and former Prime Minister) Gough Whitlam took place in Fischer’s apartment. Whitlam later charged that Fischer was working for the US Central Intelligence Agency. Fischer fled Australia claiming that he feared for his life. (London Sunday Times, March 14, 1976)

According to his ex-wife, Fischer used the stolen Iraqi money to purchase an estate in San Marcos, southern California. (From 1981 until 1987, the Cartos reportedly lived in a guest house on Fischer’s property.) About five miles from Fischer’s residence is the Cartos’ own multi-acre estate in Escondido (appropriately, Spanish for hidden). On the estate, surrounded by razor-wire fencing and an electronically operated barbed-wire security fence, is their million-dollar tri-level house with swimming pool.

On the Legal Front - IHR: 2, Carto: 0

Carto has so far initiated two lawsuits against the IHR to gain control of it, and thereby halt any further investigation into his business dealings in its name. In each attempt he’s failed spectacularly.

The first case — Kerr, Carto vs. Legion — definitively settled the key issue of just who legally and legitimately represents the IHR and its parent corporation. In his final judgment in the case (April 13, 1994), Orange County Superior Court Judge Robert Polis categorically rejected Carto’s arguments.

Judge Polis specifically stated: The [Carto-supplied] corporate minutes and declarations regarding any other alleged director(s) are untrustworthy as evidence and disbelieved by this court. This is a polite way of saying that Carto repeatedly lied in this matter. In fact, wrote the Judge, Willis Carto was exercising substantial control over the Legion without any apparent legal authority.

This judgment represents a clear affirmation of the IHR’s position throughout this dispute, and decisively refutes numerous lies spread by Carto that have been appearing, on his instructions, in the pages of The Spotlight.

Carto’s second attempt to use the courts to take control of the IHR was another fiasco. On November 28, 1994, Orange County Superior Court Judge James Ross threw out as lacking in merit the Carto-initiated Historical Education Foundation suit. It was only the third time in twelve years, that the Judge had dismissed a case in such a manner.

True to form, Carto has provided Spotlight readers with totally distorted accounts of his court defeats, suggesting that the judges who ruled against him must be corrupt or bought off.

Front Man?

So fearful is Carto of taking any public or legal responsibility for his actions, that he keeps his name off the masthead of The Spotlight, which in fact he completely controls. Likewise, Carto keeps his name off the numerous appeals for money he mails out to gullible idealists — pitch letters signed by paycheck-dependent underlings such as Jim Tucker and Vince Ryan.

It’s no wonder that so many of those who have known Carto well over the years regard him as an unprincipled con artist, utterly lacking in ethics or even basic human decency. The late Revilo P. Oliver, for one, routinely referred to him as a crook, and once wrote that Carto belongs to a species that I do not have the stomach to contemplate without nausea.

Are Carto’s destructive activities merely the antics of a greedy liar, or is he acting on behalf of more sinister interests? Could Carto be a front man who deliberately soaks up and squanders money from well-meaning idealists?

A Record of Lies and Smears

Carto’s current campaign of smears against the IHR (as well as against the Populist Party and Criminal Politics publisher Lawrence Patterson) is entirely consistent with his past behavior. During the early 1970s, for example, Carto published a booklet, issued under the name of the Christian Survival League, in which he charged that Dr. Edward Fields and his paper, The Thunderbolt (now The Truth at Last), along with Dr. William Pierce (currently head of the National Alliance), had joined forces with National Review publisher William Buckley as part of a vast governmental spy apparatus that was promoting Zionist operations. Carto went on to charge that one of Buckley’s most active allies is Thunderbolt, a supposedly pro-White and anti-Zionist publication, and that the Thunderbolt Gang and the Buckley Oil Mongers are working together on behalf of the CFR-Kosher establishment.

Fields responded to these outrageous lies with a ten-page report, The Carto File, published in September 1973.

Willis Carto, wrote Fields, has been behind numerous vicious smears deliberately designed to destroy various patriotic Right Wing groups. Fields went on to provide details of specific Carto lies.

Mark Lane and Jim Jones

Charges by Carto (in a widely-circulated March 4, 1994, letter, and echoed in The Spotlight) that the IHR is now controlled by a bizarre, mind-bending Jim Jones-like cult are not only ludicrous to anyone familiar with the IHR’s work, but are brazenly hypocritical coming from someone who is a close associate of Mark Lane.

Lane — an enigmatic man with a bizarre background — today works just as diligently as an attorney for Carto and Liberty Lobby as he once did for cult leader Jim Jones, leader of the Jonestown community in Guyana where, on November 18, 1978, 913 Jones

Jim Jones, Lane’s employer and friend, was an ardent admirer of Lenin and Marx, and gave serious consideration to moving the entire Jonestown community — supposedly a model egalitarian society — to the Soviet Union. At a meeting in Jonestown shortly before the mass killing, Lane praised the communistic community, telling the doomed congregation that either this is the future or there won’t be any.

At a press conference in 1978 Lane stated: I have been deeply impressed with what I have seen there [in Jonestown].

Illicit Control

For years Carto used fraud and deceit to exercise a degree of illicit control over the IHR and its corporate parent. He took elaborate care to deceive both the legally responsible directors as well as those who were publicly responsible for the IHR’s day-to-day operations.

Carto’s claims of concern for the IHR are bogus. In fact, during the summer of 1993 he secretly attempted to sell the IHR to Criminal Politics publisher Lawrence Patterson. At that same time, he also offered to sell it to the IHR staff. Of course, Carto had absolutely no legal power or right to sell the IHR to anyone.

On both legal and ethical grounds, the termination of Carto’s relationship with the IHR was not only proper but necessary. Those who keep the IHR running, and who are legally and publicly responsible for it, had both the legal right and a moral obligation to its many supporters around the world to act as they did to insure the sound operation of the IHR and its corporate parent.

Not a single prominent supporter or friend of the IHR publicly supports Carto in his campaign against the Institute. The foremost revisionist historians and activists, including Robert Faurisson, Arthur Butz, Bradley Smith, Robert Countess and James Martin, publicly support the (Carto-free) IHR.

Confident of Victory

In spite of the difficulties arising from this time-consuming dispute, in the period since Carto’s ouster the IHR has been able to continue its normal work, including publication of a new IHR catalog and several new books, as well as regular publication of its bi-monthly Journal. In September the IHR also held its Twelfth IHR Conference — one of the most spirited and successful ever.

Determined to keep faith with its many devoted supporters, and to uphold its legal responsibilities, the IHR will not rest until it recovers the millions illicitly seized by Carto and his accomplices, money that was rightfully meant to further the Institute’s work.

Particularly in light of the decisive courtroom victories in the two lawsuits Carto has initiated against it, the Institute for Historical Review is confident of complete victory in this critical legal and public relations battle.