The Italian government has delivered a potentially fatal blow to Steve Bannon's plans to transform a medieval monastery near Rome to a training academy on the right.
On Friday, May 31, Italy's Ministry of Cultural Heritage announced that it would revoke a lease for Bannon following fraud reporting reports. The former Breitbart chief and aide to US President Donald Trump was allegedly paying € 100,000 ($ 110,000) a year to rent the 13th century Carthusian monastery, but now one has to look for another place.
The Italian state allowed the conservative Catholic organization Dignitatis Humanae Institute (DHI) to use the building early last year. Bannon happened to be the institute's administrator and planned to transform the room into a "gladiatorial school for cultural warriors", where students would learn philosophy, theology, history, and economics, and receive political training from the former Trump Aide himself.
Last week, the economist reported that Benjamin Harnwell, head of department, was surprised by the revelation. Bannon, meanwhile, claimed that the letter was "perfectly legitimate."
"All this is just dust that gets kicked up from the left," Bannon said at the time.
The institute plans to fight the decision in court. "DHI will dispose of this illegal maneuvering with all resources, no matter how many years it takes. And we will win," said Harnwell on Friday. He promised the academy to start its activities in the fall, "and in the meantime, we enjoy the chance to fight our case in court."
This is just the latest obstacle that Bannon faces in his attempt to help the grandchildren grow their reach in Europe. His funding of extremist parties ended before it even started last year after the guardian revealed that foreign donations that the millionaires planned to do would break the electoral law into a dozen European countries.