Copyright 1996, The Spokesman-Review
A wealthy Ohio man is bankrolling a whites-only sperm bank located on a downtown Spokane street known for its drugs, prostitution and drive-by shootings.
The Spokane sperm bank - with a goal of preserving racial purity - is financed by Floyd E. Kimble, who was awarded nearly $1 billion seven years ago in one of the nation’s largest civil lawsuits.
He set aside $30 million for his Foundation for the Continuity of Mankind, which received IRS tax-exempt status in 1989, public records show.
The Spokane foundation’s assets, including a stock portfolio, have grown to $40 million. That is more than three times the $13 million that Spokane’s philanthropic Comstock Foundation reported earlier this year.
In 1994, the Foundation for the Continuity of Mankind gave $400,000 to a California sperm bank that received international attention when it was established to collect sperm from Nobel laureates.
The sperm samples donated by 65 men to the Spokane foundation are stored at its office at 1209 W. First, but not one sample has been given away in the operation’s seven years.
The manager says a bigger inventory is needed before she starts giving the sperm free to women.
The foundation is not registered as a non-profit organization in either Washington or Ohio.
Tax experts say the operation is a legal way for Kimble and his wife, Doris, of Dover, Ohio, to shelter some of their wealth from federal taxes.
“It probably is a way to shelter” assets, Doris Kimble said Friday when reached in Ohio, “but the foundation’s money will be used for those intended purposes.”
Floyd Kimble, 68, was scheduled to visit his Spokane operation last week, but didn’t respond to repeated requests over the past month for an interview.
Dora Vaux, the 72-year-old woman who runs the Spokane operation, said she wants to collect “a lot more sperm from high-achieving white men” before she gives any away.
“They’re only from white men,” she said of samples collected.
“Racial purity” and preservation of the white race are the foundation’s chief concerns, Vaux said. Despite those ideals, she contended the organization is not racist.
The sperm collection is “a repository for the future,” Doris Kimble said, “in case the purity of mankind is wiped out by famine or disease.”
“I hope it’s never needed,” Doris Kimble said.
The foundation is worried about passing along “heredity impairments,” including genetically inherited diseases, its brochure says.
Vaux said that’s why the sperm bank rejects gay donors.
“We ask in our questionnaire, ‘Are you a homosexual?”’ Vaux said. “If they say ‘yes,’ we wouldn’t want them to be donors. It may be a heredity thing.”
The sperm bank is based in Spokane, she said, because of the region’s overwhelmingly white population. It’s also where Vaux wanted to retire after spending most of her life in California.
Born in Montana, she attended school in Seattle and lived briefly in Spokane after World War II.
In Escondido, Calif., where Vaux and her husband, Robert, still have a home, she worked for a similar sperm bank known as the Foundation for the Advancement of Man.
That controversial operation - hoping to produce genius babies - collected sperm from Nobel laureates and was financed by a millionaire scientist who invented shatter-proof eyeglasses.
One donor was Nobel laureate physicist William Shockley, whose views on the superiority of the white race were attacked as racist in the early 1980s.
Vaux met Kimble in California before she left the sperm bank for semi-retirement in Spokane.
In 1994, the Spokane foundation gave $400,000 to the Escondido foundation, even though the California operation no longer had non-profit status.
Vaux would not identify any of the men who’ve donated to the Spokane bank, but said some are well-known. None is from Spokane, she said.
When their sperm samples finally go out the door, they’ll only be given away to qualified, married women, Vaux said.
Foundation literature says the organization also hopes to collect eggs from women, sperm from certain strains of livestock and plant seeds. Vaux said those collection efforts haven’t started.
“Don’t write about us,” Vaux said, “because we’ll be flooded with requests from women who want our sperm.”
She is the only person working regularly in the Spokane office. A registered nurse from Moscow, Idaho, helps part-time with “medical protocol,” Vaux said.
Spokane-area gynecologists and fertility experts say they are not familiar with the foundation.
The state Department of Health and county health inspectors also weren’t aware of it, in part because sperm banks aren’t regulated or inspected in Washington.
The Foundation for the Continuity of Mankind is headquartered in a former Old National Bank branch, just west of the downtown business district.
The sperm storage facility is a block west of First and Madison, Spokane’s pre-eminent street corner for vice and violence.
Kimble paid $210,000 for the property in 1991. It’s been remodeled into a modern office building.
Norman Rockwell paintings hang on the wall, and busts of authors Mark Twain and Bret Harte are in Vaux’s large, sterile office. Her name is in a copy of “Who’s Who” on the bookshelf.
A small radio is tuned to a conservative midday talk show as Vaux greets visitors. Her red Mercedes is parked outside.
In a back room, a half-dozen liquid nitrogen shipping containers are lined along the walls.
Donors don’t walk in the front door, which is usually locked, and they aren’t paid.
Vaux said she scans scientific journals, newspapers and magazines for “intelligent” prospective donors before writing them a solicitation letter.
Most men are convinced to donate because they want their progeny around in future generations, Vaux said. Some have never been fathers; others are married to women who don’t want children.
Still others donate “to ensure we’ll have racial purity in future generations,” she said.
After completing lengthy questionnaires and physical exams, donors ship their sperm in special liquid nitrogen containers to Spokane.
A police substation is next door.
“We’ve often wondered what goes on over there,” said a community resource officer. “We hardly ever see anybody going in over there.”
Behind the sperm bank’s drawn shades, the samples are held in quarantine tanks for six months before being transferred to the 180-degree-below-zero safety of the larger freezer vault, half the size of a chest-type home freezer.
IQ tests aren’t required of those who donate, Vaux said, “but we’re very interested in intelligence” and their station in life.
Donors also must have a minimum sperm count of 20 million on a universal measurement scale, but most are in the 200 million range, said Vaux, who tests new samples.
Once frozen, sperm loses half its count, but can be potent for 1,000 years, she said.
None of the current donors is from the Pacific Northwest, Vaux said, and all are Caucasian.
White vapor boils out of the freezer vault as Vaux opens its lid, pulling up cylindrical spools holding vials of sperm kept in a glycerin mixture.
“They are engineers, attorneys, farmers, all sorts of people,” she said.
“Just about all nationalities, but no black people, because that wouldn’t be the best thing to do, collect black sperm and mix it with white sperm.”
Doris Kimble also said the foundation would never “mix black sperm with white sperm. You keep them entirely separate.”
Vaux bristled when asked if the foundation’s brand of “racial purity” is different from that promoted by the Aryan Nations, based in Hayden Lake, Idaho.
“We’re not like them at all,” she said. “I mean, why do we always say that it’s the white trying to show up the blacks?”
Vaux said even if the bank did accept sperm from black men it would not store it in the same freezer with white sperm. “We don’t want to mix white sperm with the black, and the blacks don’t want white sperm, or they don’t want Oriental, and the Orientals don’t want black,” she said.
“They want their own race, and there’s not anything bigoted about that,” Vaux said. “People want it that way, in most cases.
“When recipients come here, if the husband is Irish, that’s what they want, an Irish donor,” she said.
Vaux said she bases her opinion on her experience in California. “They want a match as closely as possible to his coloring, to his height and everything.”
Before moving to Spokane, Vaux managed the Repository for Germinal Choice, in Escondido, Calif.
That sperm-bank operation was financed through its tax-exempt parent organization, the Foundation for the Advancement of Man, which no longer has tax-exempt status in either California or Nevada, where it originally was organized.
While working for the California sperm bank, Vaux met Kimble, who has substantial land holdings in eastern Ohio, and operates strip mines, landfills and a dairy ranch. He also owns 500 oil and natural gas wells.
Public records show his mining and landfill operations have been repeatedly fined and cited for environmental violations.
Kimble’s long-running interest in genetic impairments got him in criminal trouble in 1981. He was charged with felony aggravated burglary for breaking into a female friend’s home in Dover, Ohio.
Kimble testified he broke into the home because he was attempting to find his illegitimate child and the child’s unwed mother.
Kimble told a jury he believed the woman’s family suffered from a genetic defect, according to a news story published in The Times-Reporter newspaper in New Philadelphia, Ohio.
The jury convicted Kimble of criminal trespassing, but the conviction was reversed in 1983 by an Ohio appeals court.
“There’s no reason to tie those things together with what we’re doing out in Spokane,” Doris Kimble said when asked about the criminal case brought against her husband and his trial testimony about “genetic defects.”
“With these kind of questions, I’m beginning to wonder why we’re spending all that money out there in Spokane,” Doris Kimble said. “We thought because of the type of people out there, it’d be a good place for our repository.”
Kimble and his wife were wealthy even before they won the multimillion dollar jury award in December 1988 in a Texas breach-of-contract lawsuit against Tenneco Inc.
The Houston Post reported the award was $960 million.
The Wall Street Journal later described the award as “one of history’s biggest jury awards.”
Doris Kimble said she and her husband later settled with Tenneco to avoid a protracted appeal of the jury award by the oil company.
Six months after the jury award, Kimble filed incorporation papers for the Foundation for the Continuity of Mankind with the Ohio secretary of state’s office.
The non-profit status given the foundation was canceled for failure to file annual reports, public records on file in Columbus, Ohio, show.
Vaux said she’s tried to keep Kimble’s foundation low-key and out of the public eye.
“He knows the value of this,” Vaux said of Kimble’s interest in saving human sperm.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: 2 Photos (1 Color)