Steve Bannon and his associates were handed a win in his ongoing legal battle over the fate of his populist training academy, which had its 19-year lease to a 13th century monastery revoked last year by the Italian Ministry of Culture.
After hearing arguments several weeks ago, three administrative judges ruled that the state has no right to revoke the lease awared to Bannon and his partner Benjamin Harnwell - a British conservative who founded the Dignitatis Humanae Institute (The Institute for Human Dignity, or DHI).
The Abbey of Trisulti, which sits on land owned by the Ministry of of Culture, will house to Bannon and Harnwell's training academy for European nationalists - if they win the next phase of their legal entanglement with the Ministry, which says it plans to appeal the decision to Italy's Council of State, according to Reuters.
Harnwell - a former conservative British politician, says he hopes to resume restorations on the property, and that registration for an on-line program taught from the United States would begin shortly.
Bannon and Harnwell's fight is far from over, however. According to ArtNet, the judges ruled that the Ministry of Culture failed to seek an annulment of the contract within the legally allotted time period - so Bannon and crew won on a technicality.
The judges left the Ministry a loophole, however, pointing out that in order to prevail the Ministry must prove their allegations against DHI in a criminal court. Within 48 hours, Rome's Attorney General announced that DHI is now facing criminal prosecution over supposed contractual crimes.
"We stood by the monastery, the community and Italy during this pandemic when it would have been easy to walk away," Bannon said in a statement issued through Harnwell. "We now launch the program of learning and training that will make the world more prosperous, more secure, and more healthy for everyone."