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W.Va. hate group might gain windfall from Canada

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The National Alliance, a West Virginia-based white supremacist organization that played a major role in the American neo-Nazi movement for more than 30 years, could get $160,000 from the estate of a Canadian supporter who died several years ago.

Harry Robert McCorkill, who joined the National Alliance in 1998, moved to Saint John, New Brunswick, in 2003. McCorkill died in 2004, at age 67, but his estate remained undistributed until now.

After McCorkill, who was a chemist, died in Saint John Regional Hospital, authorities could not "track down his next of kin," the New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal. Reported earlier this month.

The newspaper reported, "Court documents filed in Saint John show that McCorkill, who also went by the name Robert McCorkell, bequeathed his estate to the National Alliance, which is headquartered in Hillsboro, W.Va., in his last will, which was dated April 19, 2000."

Today, the estate "now appears to have been settled and the money may now be moved to the United States," the Telegraph-Journal reported.

Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center, based in Montgomery, Ala., told the New Brunswick newspaper the center has hired Canadian lawyers "to look at the possibility of some kind of litigation to stop this transfer - that's as much as I want to say now."

McCorkill's estate includes about 350 valuable Greek, Roman and Italian coins, dating back to 525 B.C., the Telegraph-Journal reported. Other antiquities, including Roman short swords, also are part of McCorkill's estate, Potok said.

Potok previously has said McCorkill's estate could be worth up to $1 million, but he told the Gazette on Wednesday that it is worth "considerably less."

"It also has to pay some Canadian taxes. We are probably talking of something on the order of $160,000," Potok said.

"The National Alliance, which has virtually died over the past 10 years, could be brought back to life by an infusion of funds like this," he said.

William Luther Pierce founded the National Alliance in 1970. It had about 1,400 active members before he died in 2002. He moved the organization from Arlington, Va., to a 346-acre farm in Pocahontas County in 1985.

Timothy McVeigh, who bombed Oklahoma City's Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in 1995, killing 168 people, was motivated by reading "The Turner Diaries" - a novel Pierce published under the pseudonym Andrew MacDonald, that urged the killing of non-white and Jewish people. Copies of several pages from "The Turner Diaries," including a scene in which the FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C. is attacked, were found in McVeigh's getaway car in Oklahoma City.

The National Alliance is "arguably the most dangerous hate group" that has operated in the United States in the past 30 years, Potok said.

However, the white supremacist group had shrunk to fewer than 100 members by 2007, according to an article Potok wrote last month for HateWatch, a publication of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

No one from the National Alliance returned telephone messages left at the group's Hillsboro headquarters Wednesday.

Erich Gliebe took over the National Alliance after Pierce died, Potok wrote in HateWatch.

In June, Gliebe "put 289 of its most picturesque acres [of its Pocahontas County property] up for sale, asking $699,999."

Some National Alliance members, Potok wrote, believe Gliebe "is winding up most Alliance political operations and cashing out. It remains unclear if and by how much he could personally benefit from the Canadian bequest."

Contact Paul J. Nyden at pjnyden@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5164.


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