The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Convicted Extortionist a Key Figure in Idaho Citadel ‘Patriot’ Project

By Bill Morlin on January 18, 2013 - 3:33 pm, Posted in Antigovernment, Patriot Groups, Sovereign Citizens

If you’re a band of antigovernment “Patriots” pitching a plan to build a walled city in North Idaho and manufacture handguns and assault rifles there, you might expect raised eyebrows, a little criticism. But potshots from other Patriots?

Potshots, indeed, are flying at III Arms Co. and its sister land development company, Citadel Land Development, the firms behind a proposed 2,000- to 3,000-acre III Citadel complex for as many as 7,000 “Patriot” families near St. Maries, in Idaho’s sparsely populated Benewah County.

The criticism is sparked by the fact that one of the key players linked to the unlikely-sounding venture is three-time convicted felon Christian Allen Kerodin, a Maryland contractor who has apparently used various aliases and whose birth name was Christian Hyman. His wife or partner, Holly Ann Kerodin, has been involved in questionable charity, counseling, publishing and other ventures that have failed, various critics say.

In the past few days, attacks on the much-ballyhooed Citadel fortress and its planned gun-building plant have come from Alabama Patriot leader and blogger Michael Brian Vanderboegh and survivalist author and so-called “sovereign citizen” James Wesley, Rawles. Rawles (who, like many sovereigns, punctuates his name in a bizarre way) generally is credited with coming up with the idea of building a fortified community in the Pacific Northwest — what he has called the “American Redoubt” — for Christian Patriots.

Kerodin, public records show, was convicted in 2004 of federal extortion, attempted extortion and possession of an illegal firearm charges. The accusations were filed in Virginia after Kerodin, purporting to be a counter-terrorism expert, attempted to coerce shopping mall owners in the Washington, D.C., area to hire him to develop better security. He served 30 months in federal prison and now can’t legally possess firearms as a felon.

“Who would want to go live in a community run by this guy?” Vanderboegh asked on his website, where he spends most of his time bashing the federal government. “Not that there’s a chance in hell he’ll even have a viable firearms business … let alone his Citadel (community).”

Rawles, for his part, said on his survivalist blog that he was “quite troubled to learn that the main promoter of Citadel III is a convicted felon.”

Kerodin “seems to imply that I’ve somehow endorsed his venture or that what they are doing fits in with my American Redoubt concept,” Rawles said. “I haven’t endorsed it, and he is not my buddy,” he added. “To the best of my knowledge I’ve never met, spoken or corresponded with the man.”

Rawles wrote that he has “nothing to do with” with the plans to build a walled fortress whose residents would make their living by manufacturing AR-15-style assault rifles and 1911-style .45-caliber semi-automatic pistols. “My only nexus to him is that he chose a piece of land that is in one of the states that I recommend for relocation. He has apparently tried to capitalize on my name,” Rawles said.

This week, Kerodin responded angrily on his blog, saying “Little Mikey Vanderboegh is attempting, once again, to hurt hundreds of Patriots, using me as a weapon.”

He asked if Vanderboegh had enough “courage to ever meet me face-to-face and repeat your written words,” and dared him to show up at a meeting on April 19, the anniversary of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. “Insignificant people like Vanderboegh will always seek to attack the winners in life,” the convicted felon sniffed. “For those Patriots involved in the Citadel project, march on!”

Kerodin has an assortment of antigovernment rants on his blog and talks there about changing his name when he decided to open a “small security consulting firm in the D.C. area.” “Knowing that I was certain to annoy various elements of the violent Muslim world, I went to court and legally changed my name,” he wrote in 2010. “The concept was that when I ticked off the Muslims and they came looking for me, they would not show up at my parent’s home or sister’s home, endangering my family.”

Kerodin’s associate, James L. Miller, who identifies himself as president of III Arms Co., also responded angrily to the project’s critics on the Citadel’s Facebook page. “Folks, we are being slandered by some very disgusting people, and that slander has been furthered by someone a lot of us probably both trusted and respected: James Wesley, Rawles,” Miller wrote.

“Mr. Rawles, without researching a single bit of the cut/paste hatchet job from a cancer ridden, soon-to-expire self-admitted communist, has insulted the intelligence of Patriots all across the globe,” Miller wrote.

Its promoters say that III Arms Co. “exists to help Liberty survive by dedicating revenue to build a community of Patriots, by Patriots, for Patriots. You can find us in the Citadel, Idaho.” Its website continues: “More than 40 American Patriots joined together to form III Arms and to build solid firearms with a purpose: Fighting Arms to defend Liberty,” according to its website, which already is taking orders for assault rifles and semi-automatic pistols.

“The Citadel will be a small planned community of 3,500-7,000 families of patriotic Americans who voluntarily choose to live together in accordance with Thomas Jefferson’s ideal of Rightful Liberty,” the website adds.

Christian Kerodin, listing an address in St. Maries, and Holly Kerodin, listing a Gaithersburg, Md., address, filed organization papers in November with the Idaho Secretary of State for Citadel Land Development LLC. In August, Holly Kerodin filed similar incorporation papers in Idaho and Maryland for III Arms Co., LLC.

Citadel is now accepting $208 “application fees” for Patriot applicants, who must pass a screening test to be accepted in the community Kerodin and his partners say they are planning. “Marxists, Socialists, Liberals and Establishment Republicans will likely find that life in our community is incompatible with their existing ideology and preferred lifestyles,” its website says.

“We hope to acquire our final destination for the Citadel during the summer of 2013, and break ground shortly after,” the Citadel backers say on their website.

The proposed patriot community is stirring a lot of interest and media coverage, spurred in part by the national gun-control discussion. It got a brief recent mention in the far-right Drudge Report.

The St. Maries Gazette, a weekly newspaper in the community, reported this week that county property records show that III Arms Co., LLC, of Meridian, Idaho, bought 20 acres at the head of Cherry Creek in October. “The property is served by a logging road and is not accessible during winter months,” the newspaper reported.

The editor of the newspaper, Dan Hammes, told Hatewatch that he has made repeated unsuccessful telephone and E-mail attempts to contact Citadel representatives. “I’ve gotten nothing back from them,” he said.

Christina Crawford, president of the Benewah Human Rights Coalition, said that many in her community question if the Citadel backers can find enough land and meet necessary water-rights and sanitation requirements.

“Benewah County has had the reputation in the past of being the Wild West, but that doesn’t mean building codes and health requirements will be thrown out the window,” she told Hatewatch. “Our concern is not only for the people coming in, but for the people already here.”

Although the Citadel backers have boasted that they already have several hundred families planning to move to their dream city, there’s no evidence that that is in fact the case. In any event, Crawford said, reports of the planned project have “alerted, I won’t say alarmed, people who live here.”

  • Anon

    Seriously do you have a severe mental disability that renders you incapable of the most basic logical thinking? or rather just a complete sell out willing to blindly spead any propaganda the governement tells you as long as the checks keep rolling in? A government that trusts its civilians with the right to keep and bear arms against enemies both foreign and domestic is a government worth having. there is absolutely no middle ground on this subject. Are you such a coward that you are completely incapable of handling any emergency? what will you do when you call and no one comes? and what about towns with low population that have only one sheriff and sometime none at all, leaving them to rely on law enforcment that may well be hours away? the author is both as ignorant as they are blind. Anyone with half a brain can look at chicago and see weapons bans will not stop criminals from getting guns all the while you are 100% guaranteed to be completely defenseless, easy pickings. ignorance surely must be bliss. keep living in your fantasy world and when shtf hopefully you can make it to someone prepared and they will hopefully take care of a pathetic excuse for a survivor (you). I will not go silently into the night.

  • http://N/A Coal Burner

    1. I agree that Medicare and SS are not Entitlements.
    2. Another manufacturer of AR15′s and 1911′s would be great.
    3. A lot of you commenters, I would never want you to come to any western state, they are too free for you.
    4. The sheeple among you should not badmouth the sheepdogs, you wil;l one day whine and cry for them to save you.
    5. The once great and honorable Southern Poverty Law Center, bastion of fighters for freedom and equal rights has now fallen to the mud and mired its reputation into a racist, thugery against freedom, civil rights and equlity. A pox on you from Isaiah’s words! Look it up.

  • reltney mcfee

    Curiously, if you actually (oh, I don’t know, maybe)_read_) what Rawles, in particular specifically states, the entire “they are all racists, and haters” meme loses traction. That might be part of why Rawles is distant from this endeavor. Now, there are whackadoos masquerading as “patriots”, or “preppers”, or “survivalists”, to be certain. Of course, there are also whackadoos masquerading as liberals, “progressives” and “anti-racists”. Neither means that there is nothing to prep for, that The Government is always right or proper (or doing constitutional things), any more than they tell us that there is no hate or racism to be found…on the right or on the left. Perhaps if we, all of us, took a moment to do our own “due diligence”, our opinions might be more (or at all) informed, and therefore worth something.

  • http://www.medicareidaho.com/ CatherinaLucy

    Medicare and Social Security are being referred to as entitlements!

  • deeva

    PATRIOTS? Hardly. Jefferson, Hamilton and Thomas Paine were patriots, as was every colonist who fought in 1776.
    Paine described America as an “asylum for the persecuted”, meaning those seeking freedom to live without fear. From this came the Constitution and our rights.
    This group is NOT patriotic as they say outright if one’s race, color or creed does not “match” theirs, they won’t be welcomed. Their beliefs are EXACTLY what our founding fathers fought to be free of. Our rights are OUR rights and this group has rewritten them to fit their racist view.
    Kindly show them the border and push them across.

  • Diane

    I lived in St. Maries during the 1990s for about 6 years. I found that the majority of the people were nice and ordinary, just trying to live out their lives in peace, just like those who live in the rest of North Idaho. However, I did wonder what I was getting into when I first moved there and there was a petition for a city ordinance requiring that all city residents own a gun – seems like this was a bit hypocritical as my impression is that these anti-government types don’t want the government telling them what to do!

  • What?

    Carl,

    The bizzare punctiation of these “sovereigns” is a well known tactic that they chose to use to prop up their delusional ideas… like a child acting like their name is not called because it is pronounced wrong… this, and the filing of bizarre court documents are their tactics of trying to bully and indimidate public officers and agents.

    What would be really interesting would be a study on how many US taxpayer dollars are wasted per year at a federal, state and local level when these delusional people file their endless paper trails in courts.

    If you do a little digging around you will find that these are the exact same tactics used by the Church of Scientology and Warren Jeff’s FLDS to harass and manipulate or obfusicate the due process of legitimate legal systems that are there to protect members of the general public from bullies.

    In a way, I wish I didn’t know so much about this… but I do… DAMHIK

  • carl

    Interesting comments in the article-
    “…a band of antigovernment ‘Patriots’….”.
    Hilarious! REAL Patriots are not anti-government. Government has it’s role, and is expected not to step out of the bounds of that role.

    “…and so-called “sovereign citizen” James Wesley, Rawles. Rawles (who, like many sovereigns, punctuates his name in a bizarre way)….”
    I see. So if your name is different than that of others, you’re now bizarre or “sovereign”? Who the hell cares how anyone spells their name? Good grief! It’s their name and they can do with it any which way they want! GET OVER IT!

  • Roger B.

    Does it seem a little odd that there are so many of these far right wing fanatics drawn to Idaho? If you look at our governing system here in Idaho it will give you a pretty good clue as to why they seem to love infesting our state like the bunch of diseased roaches these nut cases are. There are a lot of blind eyes in Idaho that are more than willing to look the other way because of the extreme right majority in this state. There are a lot of things this state gets away with that people don’t have a clue about. We are still 50 years behind the rest of the world when it comes to any kind of social advancement because of the majority of the people here are still stuck in a make believe world that no longer exists..

  • aadila

    “In the Citadel, life will be governed by Thomas Jefferson’s ideals of liberty, the group said.”

    Thanks for that document, Jane.

    In other words, these clowns wish to follow the teachings of one of the greatest American hypocrites on the notion of “liberty”: Thomas Jefferson, who owned 200 slaves (including children as young as 10 forced to work in a nail factory), who employed cruel overseers, and who freed only two slaves in his lifetime.

  • J. Prokop

    What a joke. All North Idaho needs is another compound filled with white trash living off the land. If I lived near St. Maries,Idaho, I would be doing all I could to shut this cracker box plan down. Moreover, nothing good can come from children as young as 13 packing firearms to prove their patriotism. Get a grip people and laugh these survivalist gun nuts out of your state.

  • Linnea

    Armed to the teeth and nowhere to go, nobody to fight. Anyone want to take bets on how long it takes for them to do something really stupid and find themselves in a standoff with law enforcement?

  • What?

    That community is right next to a Native American Indian reservation. I do not think that the people on the reservation, who ARE a sovereign nation will put up with the pollution upstream from a bunch of wannabe commandos. And, I am sure they will be keeping a watchful eye on these nut jobs…

  • Kat Mandu

    If Idaho is full of ‘putzes’, they must not live up here in North Idaho. We are more 1/3 Washington State, 1/3 Montana and 1/3 British Columbia here; few ‘putzes’ allowed, and definitely NOT a bastion for neo-Nazi wackos. These clowns are NOT welcome here! We don’t need you, we don’t want you. I’m saying this as a Conservative Libertarian with 20 yeas service in the Army Special Forces. To anyone else, hey, come on up and check out the good life…

  • Aron

    Idaho Kristy, I’m sure you’re absolutely right. Idaho actually I very high up on my list of states to visit simply for its natural beauty. I was merely tarring (tar-sanding?) all of northern Idaho with the same brush for comedic effect. :)

  • CM

    I’m having a little cognitive dissonance here. My impression was that “patriots” believe things like planning (including building and sanitation codes) are part of a socialist-created plot for U.N. domination of the world. Yet here are some “patriots” proposing a “planned community.”

    Also a bit perplexing is the negative comment coming from a well-known “sovereign citizen” about “Kerodin” and his criminal record. I would have thought that past arrests by the illegitimate corporate government would be more a mark of distinction than a blot on the escutcheon – especially an arrest for illegal firearms possession, which of course we all have a constitutional right to keep and bear (even for purposes of operating what sounds like a pure protection racket).

    These people need to get their stories straight.

  • Jane Schiff

    http://realestate.aol.com/blog.....aing-grid7|maing9|dl6|sec3_lnk1%26pLid%3D259182

    Real Estate > Citadel idaho armed community
    Idaho Planned Community, The Citadel, Would Require Everyone to Bear Arms
    By Graham Wood
    | Posted Jan 17th 2013 6:16PM
    33 Comments

    Plan for The Citadel in Idaho

    A group of online organizers and a gun company are planning to build a fortified city in Idaho called The Citadel, where every resident from age 13 and up would be armed with guns. The goal of the community is to “fiercely” protect the ideals of American liberty and to be prepared for catastrophe of any kind. According to the Citadel website, the planned community is making room for 3,500 to 7,000 “patriotic American families who agree that being prepared for the emergencies of life and being proficient with the American icon of Liberty — the Rifle — are prudent measures. There will be no HOA. There will be no recycling police and no local ordinance enforcers from City Hall.”

    More than 200 people have already signed up to live in the fortified city, the Boise Statesman. The group, led by the III Arms gun company, has reportedly purchased 20 acres in western Idaho to begin construction. An arms factory is planned to be housed in the community, which will be surrounded by high walls with lookout posts. Dennis Miller, who says he is the president of III Arms, explained the logic behind building a gun-toting community in this YouTube video:

    The construction of the Citadel hasn’t officially kicked off yet, and some are skeptical that it will ever get off the ground. Idaho State Rep. Cindy Agidius told KBOI-TV in Boise that she thinks it could be just pie-in-the-sky. “When I look at plans for this community, it looks pretty far-fetched,” she said. “We’re talking about building a castle, basically. That’s an awful lot of capital.”

    Citadel organizers have said they will accept anyone who wants to be a part of the community, but its website warns that “Marxists, Socialists, Liberals and Establishment Republicans will likely find that life in our community is incompatible with their existing ideology and preferred lifestyles.” In the Citadel, life will be governed by Thomas Jefferson’s ideals of liberty, the group said. People wanting to become part of the Citadel community must pay a $208 application fee and sign a Patriot Agreement, which requires all residents that meet the age criteria to be armed with an AR-15 rifle, ammo and other supplies.

  • concernedcitizen

    Yes they are putzes! But we shouldn’t let them have Idaho so they can spread out past the borders like cancer.
    Producing Guns? This does not sound good for the rest of America.
    I don’t blame you Robert, if I owned property anywhere these people were planning to build their compound I would be concerned about my property values.

  • Idaho Kristy

    Mr. Molloy – The Tar Sands gas fields are in Minot North Dakota – 900 miles from Benewah County Idaho, Aron, Not all the people in North Idaho are misguided zealots. It would be worth a visit to some of the most breathtaking country on earth to find out. I will personllay give you a tour. This is not the first time, and maybe not the last time that crazy hatefilled people think they can hide out in our beautiful wilderness with impunity. Sit and watch.

  • The Grand Pooh-Bah

    Having a felon involved in this project will automatically move a substantial amount of otherwise interested parties out of the equation. Even though the concept sounds great you will never support 3-7 thousand people from a single firearm factory. Employment opportunities in Benewah County are very limited. I wish them all the luck in the world but in reality I don’t see this ever getting past the “idea stage”. Good Luck

  • http://robsherdolan@yahoo.com robert dolan

    To whom it may or may not concern. speaking for myself, i don’t want them here in saint maires. period. thats all

  • Aron

    What a wonderful group of people. Just one more reason I never intend to visit Idaho. Bunch of putzes over there.

  • Just Me

    This isn’t going to end well when these folks find out they must adhere to building codes and sanitation laws.

  • Sam Molloy

    The Shale Oil Field in that general area is providing a lot of jobs. If you like cold weather and hard work, go there. Take an RV if you can, as housing is at a premium if available at all. I’ll try to remember to repeat this suggestion as the 2013 High School graduation season gets closer, bur here’s a great project for teachers to give their senior students: Write in 100 words or less “I can not go make a fortune in the Shale Oil Fields because…”

  • adamhill

    The fate of this project is as predictable as a sunset.