Rare coin collection delivery to neo-Nazi group stalled by New Brunswick court

Steve Mertl
Rare coin collection delivery to neo-Nazi group stalled by New Brunswick court

A Canadian who left his valuable collection of rare coins to a U.S. neo-Nazi group may not get his bequest fulfilled after all.

Chemist Robert McCorkill's sister, Isabelle, has won a New Brunswick temporary court injunction preventing the transfer of the collection to the National Alliance — a Mill Point, West Virginia, white-supremacist organization.

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the group was founded in 1970 by William Pierce, whose dystopian novel The Turner Diaries, served as an inspiration to Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.

McCorkill, who also spelled his name McCorkell, apparently joined the National Alliance in the 1990s. When he died in 2004 in St. John, N.B., his will bequeathed his collection of ancient coins to the organization but the estate has remained unsettled.

In May, a New Brunswick judge gave his executor, who is also tied to the alliance, the power to deliver McCorkill's assets to the group.

The collection has an estimated value of $250,000, though the estate's outstanding liabilities of $89,000 will cut the amount the alliance could receive to $161,000.

[ Related: Coin collection left to neo-Nazi group worth less than $1M ]

But this week, Isabelle McCorkill obtained an ex-parte injunction (meaning the judge hears from only the applicant) to halt the transfer, an lawyer Richard Warman, who's been helping connect her with other interested parties, told CBC News via email.

The court order sets the stage for a longer hearing where McCorkill will be challenging the bequest on public policy grounds, said Warman, who has pursued human rights cases against other hate groups.

"I anticipate that other groups will intervene in support of the application in the coming days," he told CBC News.

The West Virginia Gazette, citing a Canadian news report, said the Southern Poverty Law Center was investigating legal ways to stop the asset transfer.

B'nai Brith Canada was also preparing to file an affidavit in support of the court action, the National Post reported.

Center's Mark Potok said last week the cash infusion could revive the National Alliance, "which has virtually died over the past 10 years."

Potok called the alliance "arguably the most dangerous hate group" operating in the United States in the last 30 years.

B'nai Brith national affairs director Anita Bromberg agreed.

“They’re a very nasty group,” she told the Post. “Who knows what they could do with this money? So we think it’s very important on public policy grounds that this be stopped.”

[ Related: Regina white supremacist loses contempt appeal ]

McVeigh was convicted and executed for planting a massive truck bomb outside the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995. The explosion, which killed 168 people and injured some 680 more, was the largest terrorist attack on U.S. soil before Sept. 11, 2001.

Pages from the Turner Diaries, which includes an attack on FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C., were found in McVeigh's getaway car, the Gazette reported.

The Post reported McCorkill joined the alliance in 1998 and at one point lived at the group's West Virginia compound, where he edited a final book written by Pierce, who died in 2002. The group fell apart after that but the Southern Poverty Law Center said it continued to sell literature on how to make explosives, booby-traps, incendiary devices and wage guerrilla warfare.

Isabelle McCorkill is not after the money, said Marc-Antoine Chiasson, a lawyer representing her in New Brunswick.

“I can tell you when she found out the nature of the gift she was disturbed and she felt it incumbent on her to do something about it," he told the Post.