Chicago Sun-Times, May 22, 2003
BY STEVE WARMBIR
The racist church led by Matt Hale is thumbing its nose at a federal judge and has set up a Web site in Australia to broadcast its name, World Church of the Creator, and sell its wares in violation of a court order, attorneys suing the church alleged Wednesday.
Hale is being held behind bars and awaiting trial on charges he tried to have a follower kill Joan Humphrey Lefkow, the federal judge in the case. Hale has denied any wrongdoing.
Lefkow ruled last year that Hale’s group was violating a trademark by using the World Church name, which had been registered by an Oregon church, the Te-Ta-Ma Truth Foundation.
Last month, she held Hale’s group in contempt of her order, fining it $1,000 a day and ordering its Web site shut down because it continued to use the World Church of the Creator name.
The Web site was shut down, but attorneys for Te-Ta-Ma noted in court filings Wednesday that the Australian Web site has popped up now, announcing on its home page that “Our Church is called The Church of the Creator.”
The site also offers visitors a chance to subscribe to The Struggle, “the monthly flagship publication of the World Church of the Creator,” listing the address of a church leader in Riverton, Wyo.
That church leader, Thomas Kroenke, insisted in an affidavit filed with the court that he has tried to comply with the judge’s order.
Attorneys suing Hale’s group suggest that Kroenke isn’t leveling with the judge, noting that he is the contact person listed on the Australian Web site to buy the publication.
Those lawyers point out that Kroenke hasn’t identified bank accounts where church funds are being held.
Hale’s group still owes more than $1,000 to the lawyers. And the $1,000-a-day fine, which went into effect at the end of April, continues to grow.
The attorney for Hale’s group, Todd Reardon, has repeatedly argued in court that it is difficult to represent the church when no one wants to step up as its leader, now that Hale has been imprisoned. In fact, Kroenke has fired Reardon from the case, but the judge has refused to let Reardon leave it.