Minutemen keep watch over founder

Marketplace Staff Mar 21, 2007


MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: The Minuteman Project is best known for patrolling the U.S.-Mexican border. Now it’s trying to protect itself. Today a California judge will decide which faction in an internal struggle has the right to lead the organization. Pat Loeb reports charges of financial improprieties opened the rift.

PAT LOEB: Last fall, when Minuteman founder Jim Gilchrist was accused of racism by protestors at Columbia University, Marvin Stewart was an important presence at his side. Stewart is African-American.

Four months later, Stewart was one of three board members who voted to oust Gilchrist.

Stewart says the organization raised at least $400,000 last year, but there was just $32,000 in its bank account.

MARVIN STEWART: We as the board of directors had a moral responsibility to take control, because this is all about governance of the corporation.

Stewart alleges that Gilchrist used Minuteman funds to promote his own book and settle debts from his unsuccessful campaign for Congress.

Gilchrist did not respond to requests for comment, but he has earlier denied any wrongdoing. He’s also said that the board members were purely advisory and had no authority to take over the organization.

In the meantime, Gilchrist has started a new fundraising campaign — this one for his legal bills.

In Los Angeles, I’m Pat Loeb for Marketplace.

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