Detroit news, Burdi George



By David Shepardson, Gary Heinlein and Oralandar Brand-Williams

The Detriot News
April 11, 1997

Armed law officers Wednesday kicked in the door of a rural
Highland Township home and seized records of a white separatist
record company under investigation for state tax fraud.

Officers wearing bulletproof vests approached the home with
guns drawn shortly before 10 a.m. and finally forced their way in
when no one answered, said neighbors on the 2900 block of

The target of the investigation is Resistance Records, a
record company that distributes music for 12 white-power rock ‘n’
roll bands. The company also publishes a magazine and operates a
site on the World Wide Web.

“They were operating a business without a license and
without preparing tax returns”, said Sgt. Rodney Young of the
Michigan State Police Treasury Division in Lansing.

Officers from the Oakland County Sheriff’s Department,
Ontario Provincial Police and the Michigan Department of the
Treasury also were involved in the raid. The Ontario Provincial
Police were involved as part of their continual investigation of
the group, which has roots in Windsor.

Officers used a U-Haul truck to remove exactly 100 boxes of
tapes, records, T-shirts, business records, cassettes, two
computers and other items.

Richard Lobenthal, the former Michigan regional director for
the Anti-Defamation League who has tracked Resistance Records for
nearly eight years, said the company has been a formidable
arsenal for America’s hate groups.

“They’ve played a very active role in America’s hate
movement”, Lobenthal said. “It’s not a membership organization.
You don’t join Resistance. They sell records and CDs that
advocate killing – some about killing minorities. Some advocate
killing individuals by name.”

“They’re zealots. They’re very shrewd entrepreneurs, but
this isn’t just a business for them. They’re believers..”

A six-man police team has been watching the Highland
Township home since Jan. 22, according to a 34-page search
warrant issued for the raid.

The search warrant also contained copies of a sales receipt
from a Grand Ledge man who paid $24 for two cassette tapes
espousing racial hatred, as well as a money order deposited at a
local bank, to show that the group is not paying sales tax or
filing the proper tax forms.

The company incorporated in May 1994 and reported assets of
$48,414, but the public company – with 10,000 shares traded – has
a negative net worth of $34,991, according to Resistance Record’s
1996 Domestic Profit report.

Resistance Records, founded in 1994 by Windsor resident
George Burdi, 26, and former Highland Township resident Mark A.
Wilson, 29, is based in Detroit to skirt Canadian law regarding
hate groups.

Burdi also is the lead singer of one of Resistance Records’
bands, RaHoWa, short for Racial Holy War.

The company publicly downplays overt racism.

“We define ourselves as white separatists, which expresses
(our) desire for the establishment of a white homeland in the
United States. As far-fetched as this notion may seem to the
uninitiated, we believe that it is a sound political solution to
the racial tension in the U.S. We seek to form alliances with
members of any race that support racial separatism”, the company

Also on Wednesday, Ontario Provincial Police arrested Burdi
on a 1993 assault charge unrelated to the Highland Township raid,
after he lost an appeal.

Burdi was initially arrested after a fight broke out between
skinheads and anti-racist protesters in Ottawa. Burdi was
convicted of assault for kicking a woman protesting a RaHoWa
concert in Ottawa and served one month of a one-year jail

He lost an appeal in February when Ontario’s Court of
Appeals concluded that the incident was “a brutal assault
committed in the name of racist ideology.”

Burdi has insisted that he never attacked the protesters,
whom he referred to as a “bunch of leftists”. Instead, he said,
they swarmed on his group and incited the violence.

The news of Thursday’s raid on a house rented by members of
Resistance Records shocked the landlord.

Pauline Walber, 76, said she didn’t know Wilson and the
others living there were involved with Resistance Records until
after they signed the $950-a-month lease for her four-bedroom,
split-level ranch.

“Do you think that being Jewish (that) I would rent to a
skinhead?” Walber said, who emigrated from Russia as a child. “I
found it out after I saw it on TV and they signed a lease. They
approached me when I had a vacancy, and I didn’t make the

“I didn’t ask him (Wilson) to leave. He was a very good
tenant. He paid the rent on time. I made it clear to him that he
would not do any action as a skinhead on my property. He was
making records.”

Next-door neighbor Fred Butson said that Wilson, his wife,
Dana, and two children moved away about a year ago. Since then,
he said, several men lived at the home, which bustled with

“There’s a lot of people who come and go, but there’s been
no problem”, Butson said. “No parties. No fights or anything like
that. They’re friendly enough.”

He said UPS trucks arrived with crates and boxes “three or
four times a day.”

Dark plastic over the windows prevented neighbors from
seeing what went on inside, but Butson said his granddaughter had
been inside and told him that the entire ground-level floor was
packed with T-shirts, records and literature promoting white

Jason Snow, one of the tenants who was home during the raid,
declined to comment Thursday.

But another man who described himself as “an associate” of
the current tenants said he was outraged.

“These allegations are simply bogus”, said Eric Fairburn,
also known as Eric Wolf, wearing black fatigues and sporting an
“Aryan” tattoo on his arm. “They don’t like the message we put
out. But it’s protected by the First Amendment.”

“If we had an anti-racist publication, I don’t think
something like this would be happening.”

“This will not stop anything. All this is going to do is
cost the taxpayers. … I’m going to see what legal action I can
take personally on this matter. Obviously, there is a market for
this (white-power music) and, obviously, everybody doesn’t buy
into the multiculturalism thing.”

In 1992, Mark Wilson briefly served as national leader of
the racist group Church of the Creator under the alias the Rev.
Brandon O’Rourke and expanded the local chapter’s membership to
more than 80 people.

But he had a falling-out with the group’s founder, Ben
Klassen, and was removed from the post. Klassen later committed

Don Cohen, the Michigan regional director of the Anti-
Defamation League, said he wasn’t surprised by the tax charges.

“It wouldn’t surprise me that people who are advocating the
overthrow of the government could have tax problems”, Cohen said.
“They do a lot of sales over the counter at concerts and a lot of
mail order.

“Any legal means that can be found to disrupt the activities
of Resistance Records is good for those concerned about the
violence and racism of the organization. I don’t believe this
will stop Resistance, but it’s a setback that they will have to
deal with.”

Copyright 1997 The Detroit News