Chicago Sun-Times, Apr. 25, 2003
A federal judge Thursday held the racist group formerly led by Matt Hale in contempt, fined it $1,000 a day and ordered its Web site shut down as long as the group continues to use the Church of the Creator name, in violation of a court order.
U.S. District Judge Joan Humphrey Lefkow ruled last year that Hale’s group was violating a trademark by using the name, which an Oregon church, the TE-TA-MA Foundation, had registered.
Hale, who has repeatedly attacked Jews and African Americans, is behind bars for allegedly trying to get a follower to kill Lefkow, who he believed was biased against him. Hale’s group called the judge’s decision last year part of a Jewish conspiracy.
The judge is not Jewish and had ruled for Hale’s group originally before a federal appellate court reversed her.
Hale has pleaded not guilty in the criminal case and is scheduled to go to trial in September.
Thursday, attorneys for the Oregon church said Hale’s group was still using the name, in violation of the court order, on its Web site, on merchandise it was selling and in other instances.
“There has been some compliance, but not full compliance,” the judge said, agreeing to the penalties sought by the Oregon church’s attorneys.
Todd Reardon, representing Hale’s group, which now calls itself the Creativity Movement, said group members were trying to comply with the judge’s order.
“I don’t believe the people are intentionally trying to thwart the judge,” Reardon said.
Reardon said it was unclear if the group had the money to pay any significant fine. The judge also allowed the attorneys for the Oregon church to try to get the membership list of the group, now in the possession of the Justice Department, to let members know they could be financially liable for any judgment.
Reardon indicated that the man holding himself out as the leader of the group, the head of the Wyoming chapter, Thomas Kroenke, has told Reardon his services are no longer needed.
“In fact, he didn’t even want to write me a letter because he thought I was fired,” Reardon told the judge.
But Lefkow declined to let the attorney off the case, saying she hoped it would be resolved soon.