Former Nuwaubian property sold

Eatonton, USA - The pyramids, obelisks and walls of the former Nuwaubian compound are starting to come down.

Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills, using a front-end loader Thursday to tear down the arched gate leading to the property, was the first to knock down a piece of the Egyptian-themed buildings created by Malachi York—founder of the United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors—and his followers.

The 476-acre Putnam County compound that York once owned was sold Wednesday for $1.1 million, said Dave Turner, U.S. Marshals Service spokesman. The property and a home in Athens were forfeited to the government and seized after York was convicted in January 2004 of 10 counts of child molestation and racketeering.

Lawson Lawrence, a developer from Milledgeville who bought the property, said he planned on reselling the land and plans to remove the stucco structures on 19 acres of the property within 30 days. He said he hopes to resell the property by the end of the year.

“It’s a really pretty piece of land except of all the stuff that’s on it right now,” Lawrence said. Only a 19-acre piece of the land has any sign that it was used by the Nuwaubians, he said.

The demolition could take a month and cost $50,000 to $75,000. Lawrence already has donated things such as plates, pots and playground equipment from the property to a local church. He said he hasn’t determined an asking price and doesn’t have any potential buyers yet.

Demolition of the structures, some covered with colorful plaster and Styrofoam sculptures of Egyptian-themed animals and symbols, began Thursday. Many were already crumbling before the demolition crews moved in.

“It’s nothing and it’s been nothing. It, like York, was a facade,” Sills said of the stucco and plaster facades. “It does feel good. This gives some finality to it. It will be good to see it go back to what it was before York’s habitation.”

York founded the quasi-religious Nuwaubian group in New York in the late 1960s, before moving it to rural Putnam County in 1993. Prosecutors said he used the cult for sexual pleasure and financial gain, including recruiting members to groom children for sex with him.

Lawrence said he plans to leave the metal buildings after tearing off the decorations. He said a future owner could use the buildings as construction offices.

The land, which has four ponds, could be used for a hunting lodge, for a home or as farm land, he said, adding that although he might split the land up, for now he wants to sell it as one piece. He also said that for now, he plans to keep York’s home on the property.

Federal officials said the proceeds from the sale of the Putnam County and Athens properties will go to the agencies involved in the investigation, primarily the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI. The Athens property is expected to be auctioned this summer.