A disciple of former Aryan Nations leader Richard Butler wants to build a new compound in northern Idaho to act as a gathering place for white supremacists.
33-year-old Shaun Winkler, who unsuccessfully ran for sheriff of Bonner County earlier this year, said a undisclosed supporter is donating 8 acres near the town of Priest River that he hopes to develop into a place for white supremacists to conduct meetings, cross burnings and other activities.
Butler’s high-profile Aryan Nations activity near Hayden Lake tainted northern Idaho’s image nationally, and local civil rights groups were wary of a potential new hub for racist activity.
The Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations and the Southern Poverty Law Center combined to push a civil lawsuit that bankrupted the Aryan Nations in 2000, leading to the sale of the original compound. Butler died in 2004.
Aryan Nations was structured as a church of the white supremacist Christian Identity religion, and Winkler said the new compound will include a church hall for services and places for supporters to live.
Winkler described himself as an imperial wizard in the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, and said the compound will operate under a flag of the KKK, rather than Aryan Nations.
Butler for nearly three decades operated out of a 20-acre compound that became a gathering place for white supremacists. He held annual meetings that drew hundreds of supporters.
The land was auctioned off after he lost a lawsuit in 2000 brought by the SPLC on behalf of a woman and her son who were terrorized by Butler’s security guards during one of those annual meetings. (AP)