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Friday September 22 7:45 PM ET
Aryan Nations Property
Given Up 

By JOHN K. WILEY, Associated Press Writer 

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho (AP) - In a blow
to hate groups that have made the Northwest
their clubhouse, the founder of the Aryan
Nations has agreed to give up his Idaho
compound to satisfy a $6.3 million verdict
against the white supremacist organization.

Richard Butler wanted to avoid the spectacle of sheriff's vans
showing up to seize the 20-acre property, lawyers said Friday.
He has agreed to hand over the property no later than Oct.  25.

Under the agreement reached Thursday, Butler must give up
the property and all its contents - Nazi and Confederate flags,
Third Reich posters, a silver bust of Adolf Hitler, stained glass
swastikas and contents of a print shop.

Butler, 82, will leave with only his clothing and personal effects.

A planned Oct. 28 parade in downtown Coeur d'Alene could be
the final public hurrah for the sect: Butler also must give up the
Aryan Nations name, though it was not immediately clear when
he must stop using it.

"I would say this is a significant victory for the people of Idaho
and that I hope that this is the end of the story," Gov.  Dirk
Kempthorne said from Boise. "One clear image that should
emerge is that Idahoans do not condone these activities of
malcontents that would promote hatred and bigotry."

Richard Cohen, a lawyer with the Southern Poverty Law
Center in Montgomery, Ala., said Butler is not precluded from
continuing his church, the Church of Jesus Christ
Christian-Aryan Nations, which operates on the property.

Butler will deed the property near Hayden Lake to Victoria and
Jason Keenan, who won the jury award earlier this month after
they were attacked outside the sect's compound in 1998.

"The Keenans will be able to do with the property what they
want," Cohen said Friday.

Edgar Steele, who represented Butler during the trial, said the
deal will go through only if a judge refuses to grant a new trial.

The compound containing the sect's church, barracks and
Butler's home were scheduled for seizure next Friday. Under
the agreement, Butler will remain on the property until one
week after the expected ruling on a request for a new trial, or
Oct. 25, whichever comes first.

Butler moved to northern Idaho from California in 1973 to
found his sect, which called for a whites-only homeland in the
Northwest. He began holding an annual event called the Aryan
Nations Congress in 1981, attracting racist and anti-government
groups from across the country.

A recent report by the Northwest Coalition for Human Dignity
identified 11 white supremacist groups in Idaho, 10 of them in
the Panhandle, a region of beautiful lakes and forested
mountains that draws thousands of tourists and retirees.

Northern Idaho has gotten an undeserved reputation as a haven
for white supremacists because of the Aryans' presence, said
Jonathan Coe, the executive director of the Coeur d'Alene
Chamber of Commerce.

"This development is yet another positive outcome of the trial,"
Coe said. "If it means Richard Butler is unable to continue the
Aryan Nations and the message of hatred, we think it's a real success."

Earlier this month, a Kootenai County jury found Butler, a
co-defendant and the Aryan Nations grossly negligent in hiring
and training the security guards who shot at and assaulted the Keenans.

The Southern Poverty Law Center represented the mother and
son, who were awarded $330,000 in compensatory damages
and $6 million in punitive damages.

Morris Dees, the co-founder of the law center, had said he
intended to take everything the Aryan Nations owns. In 1987,
Dees won a $7 million verdict against a Ku Klux Klan
organization over the slaying of a 19-year-old black man in
Mobile, Ala., forcing the group to turn over its headquarters
building. In 1990, he won $9 million in Portland, Ore., against
the White Aryan Resistance in the beating death of a black man
by neo-Nazi skinheads.

It was not known where Butler will live; no one answered the
telephone Friday at the Aryan Nations. He could move his
church elsewhere or he could concentrate his activities on the
Internet, where Aryan Nations already has a home page.

"I don't know Pastor Butler's plans, but he has said he intends
to stay in north Idaho and continue to be pastor of the Church
of Jesus Christ-Christian," Steele said.

Steele said he counseled Butler "not to provide any type of
haven for these oddballs, criminals and wingnuts. They're the
ones that got him in trouble." 

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