Saturday, August 07, 2010

Plutocracy, Inc: Southern Poverty Law Center's Morris Dees Lives In Opulent Luxury Off The Ill-Gotten Gains Of His "Civil Rights" Lawsuits

Never has an organization been more misnamed than the so-called Southern Poverty Law Center. Certainly, there's not a hint of "poverty" in the life of its infamous chief counsel, Morris Dees, as you can see from the Montgomery Advertiser's photographic tour of the home Dees shares with Susan Starr. The photo above is just one of 60 posted on the Advertiser's website; see all the photos HERE. Photo number one is of the separate guest house, which alone is more impressive than most primary homes in Anchorage's Mountain View, Fairview, or Airport Heights neighborhoods. And if Dees' "Lawsuit Manor" is not sufficiently opulent, how about the endless array of objets d’art prolific throughout the place? For obvious reasons, the Advertiser did not provide the street address of Dees' mansion nor directions on how to find it.

And how did he manage to afford such opulent luxury? Not by bringing into the world an essential product or service such as Bill Gates did when he invented Microsoft. Gates is one of the few rich guys whose wealth I absolutely do not begrudge. No, Morris Dees set the stage for acquiring his wealth by income transfer; namely, suing people. Below is a list of the high-profile lawsuits of note (Dees was involved in all of them except one):

-- In 1981, Dees successfully sued the United Klans of America and won a $7 million judgment for the mother of Michael Donald, a black lynching victim in Alabama. Payment of the judgment bankrupted the UKA and resulted in its national headquarters being sold to help satisfy the judgment.

-- In 1991, Dees obtained a judgment of $12 million against Tom Metzger's White Aryan Resistance. Three skinheads beat an Ethiopian immigrant to death in Portland, OR; using the spurious doctrine of vicarious liability, a jury decided that Metzger was personally responsible for $5.5 million of the judgment. Metzger lost his house as a result of the judgment.

-- In 2001, Dees obtained a judgment of $6.5 million judgment against Pastor Richard Butler and the original Aryan Nations. The Aryan Nations was forced to give up their Idaho compound to satisfy the judgment.

-- In 2001, Dees obtained a judgment of $120,000 against Jeff Berry and the American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. After serving a prison sentence, Berry was forced to sell his home in 2006 to satisfy the judgment.

-- In 2006, the SPLC obtained an $850,000 judgment against Casey Nethercott, who was accused of assaulting two illegal immigrants found on his ranch. The SPLC obtained Nethercott's ranch and turned it over to the illegal immigrants (Morris Dees was not directly involved in this case). Unlike the SPLC's other victims, Nethercott was not a white nationalist.

-- In 2008, the SPLC obtained a $2.5 million judgment against Ron Edwards and the Imperial Klans of America. This decision is still being contested.

Of course, Morris Dees did not use any of the proceeds from these judgments for his own personal benefit. But the fame and notoriety obtained from this pattern of judicial terrorism brought increased financial support to the SPLC, which in turn allowed Dees to pay himself the higher salaries necessary to afford such an opulent lifestyle. According to Charity Navigator, the SPLC recorded a total of $170,240,129 in net assets, and paid Dees a salary of $293,411 in 2008.

Poverty, my ass. The anti-racist racket is a sweet deal for these guys. Others weighing in with their own criticism of Dee's princely lifestyle include The Political Cesspool, VDARE, and the National Policy Institute.

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