Application fees that could total more than $40,000 from people hoping to join the planned community near Coeur dAlene are being sent to a political group linked to a man with federal convictions on his record.
People who want to join the Citadel a walled, armed community being advertised online must pay $208 to apply. The planners said on the Citadels website in December that more than 200 applications had been filed.
The planners have purchased land and business registrations bearing the Citadel name have been filed with the state of Idaho. But it doesnt seem to have gone further than the idea stage.
Everyone within the Citadel walls would have to carry firearms and be prepared for catastrophe. The planners are designing the community with rules that would keep liberals from moving in, according to the Citadels Facebook page.
The PayPal account that is apparently taking the application fees is held by America 527, a political advocacy group run by Holly Kerodin, the wife of Christian Kerodin. America 527 is based at his address.
The advocacy group has been around since 2009, according to Internal Revenue Service records, but has never reported contributions or expenses.
Christian Kerodin was sentenced in federal court in Virginia nine years ago to 30 months in prison and a $6,000 fine after pleading guilty to extortion and possessing an unregistered firearm.
The extortion charge arose after Kerodin published a report online of shopping malls that he said were likely terrorist targets and presented himself as a security expert, according to news accounts from 2004. Kerodin reportedly sent letters to mall owners saying he would release similar reports on 14 other malls, then demanded $122,500 from a Department of Homeland Security agent posing as a mall executive.
Kerodin is listed as a leader of Citadel Land Development LLC, along with his wife. Holly Kerodin is listed as the leader of III Arms Co., a business that would produce firearms and would be the Citadels main employer. But III Arms Co. does not have a federal firearms manufacturing license.
The Kerodins have been involved in a number of lawsuits over the years. Christian Kerodin appears to have no federal criminal convictions after 2004.
A comment posted by a Citadel organizer on its Facebook page addressed the conviction and Kerodins role in response to other comments posted there: Mr. Kerodin is a cheerleader for the project. He had the idea, but turned it over to others to run with. He remains one of our biggest proponents, and his voice is stirring the filth to the bottom, and the cream to the top. His past is his past. We understand your concerns, but they are nothing more than misinformation being placed by those who wish us to fail.
Citadel planners have not responded to messages. A call to a phone number listed on the America 527 website was not returned.
Audrey Dutton: 377-6448, Twitter: @IDS_Audrey