Skip to comments.Feuding Minutemen only united on border woes (Simcox Minutemen)
Posted on 08/17/2006 1:18:46 AM PDT by Anti-Bubba182
PHOENIX (Reuters) - More than a year after their first stakeouts on the U.S.-Mexico border, Minuteman civilian patrol volunteers are divided and questions are being raised about whether their movement's influence is on the wane.
The Minutemen leaped into the media spotlight in April 2005 when its force of housewives, office workers and veterans camped out in lawn chairs in southern Arizona to spot illegal immigrants crossing from Mexico.
Sixteen months later, the founders of the movement have split acrimoniously, and questions swirl over how a breakaway group spent a reported $1.6 million in donations.
Dubbed vigilantes by President Bush and migrant hunters by Mexico, the activists seek to highlight what they say is the federal government's failure to provide security along the 2,000-mile (3,200-km) border and end illegal immigration.
The founder of the original Minuteman Project, Jim Gilchrist, 57, a retired accountant from California, is no longer speaking to his former ally Chris Simcox, with whom he planned the first patrols in Arizona.
Meanwhile, Simcox, an ex-teacher and newspaper publisher who leads the separate, Arizona-based Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, faces calls from some former members for a full audit of all donations made to his group.
They complained last month that the corps, a private corporation, had not published financial statements setting out how donations intended to buy equipment were spent, although Simcox vigorously denied any impropriety.
"These are just disgruntled individuals who are no longer with our organization who for some personal reason would like to tarnish our image," Simcox, 45, told Reuters in a telephone interview.
"We have hired accountants and auditors ... to handle all the money, and we're in fine shape," he said.
Simcox added that all questions about the use of donations would be settled in November, when the group posts its tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service.
IS MESSAGE WEARING THIN?
The movement has never counted more than a few thousand volunteers, but analysts say it has proved influential in setting a national agenda on border security and immigration enforcement.
Since the patrols began, Bush has sent 6,200 National Guard troops to help secure the border, and Congress has approved funds to recruit thousands more Border Patrol agents.
But in recent weeks, media attention has focused more on the group's woes than on the pro-enforcement message it seeks to push.
In July the Washington Times questioned their financial accounts. Then last week the Arizona Republic newspaper weighed in, publishing details of their feud and declaring that the "honeymoon is over for the Minutemen."
While the two leaders are pushing on with separate activities -- Simcox is building a border wall on private ranchland in Arizona, and Gilchrist plans a stakeout near Laredo, Texas, starting next month -- critics warn that their trusted formula for grabbing headlines may be wearing thin.
"They have been very good at maintaining the media's attention, but I think things are starting to turn for them," said Ray Borane, the mayor of Douglas, Arizona, near where they held their first patrols. "They are running out of tricks in their bag."
Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm....another article? This IS getting some notice now, I see.
Their problems are becoming more public.
As they should be!
In this instance, it IS true.
The only thing Reuters needs to add is some doctored photos and a pic or two of Green Helmet guy doing the accounting.
But seriously, this thing with the MCDC is very serious nd it is hurting the MMs outside of his jurisdictions. There's NO good reason why THEY should be tarred by the same brush, that Simcox, alone, has brought down upon himself.
I love this quote"We have hired accountants and auditors ... to handle all the money, and we're in fine shape," he said"
Ok then we have these quotes:
From the Washington Times:
"Mr. Simcox, who has been criticized by current and former MCDC members for a lack of leadership and financial accountability, had referred The Times to Mrs. Otis, saying she could "tell you everything" to clear up the concerns. Instead, Mrs. Otis issued a statement saying only that all Minuteman donations have been "securely collected, counted and deposited" in MCDC bank accounts ."
"Maureen E. Otis -- president of American Caging Inc. in Stafford, Texas, an agency hired to collect, deposit and disburse donations to the civilian border-patrol group -- told The Washington Times that neither MCDC President Chris Simcox nor the group's board of directors had given her permission to "disclose any numbers"
From the Arizona Free Republic.
"Simcox estimated that MCDC has raised $1 million, plus about $600,000 to build fencing along the border but said that he can't be sure of the amount. He said the organization hired accountants and consultants in 2005 and set up a "caging" account controlled by a lawyer to ensure that donations were handled property."
"Board member and Executive Director Al Garza said he has no idea about its finances. When asked how much money his organization has received in contributions, Garza said: "Oh, geez, I don't know. I don't make it my business. I refuse to even ask for the figures. . . . They're donations being well spent, I can tell you that." "Only our auditors and our caging company know exactly how much we've raised," he said. "It's not my job. That's why we've hired the best independent auditors."
If there's any criminal wrongdoing I'm sure the proper authorities will convene a Grand Jury and try to get indictments. If they've swindled folks somehow I hope they get the book tossed at them.
But what I am going to do is take a wait and see attitude about this. I'm sure as hell not going to take Reuters or the AP at their word.
Sorry for the delay in my response. I've got some ESDA folks out working a fire.
as a general rule, graft is a universal concept. it really does take a charismatic leader/ideologue in control of the purse to cut down on the highest-level graft in any organization.
Well I am going to make a phone call to certain "golfer" and his thing he has got going and see I can confirm what we talked about earlier
Kinda, sort, not really. The Minutemen aren't vigilantes because they aren't directly involving themselves in law enforcement actions. They're more like a real time tip line for the Border Patrol, and the MM have strict policies about avoiding contact and confrontation with the illegals.
The President referred generally to vigilantes not being welcome along the border. Since the Minutemen have not become vigilantes, the are not covered by the President's statements.
But even so, the MM need to confront their administrative issues and deal with questions as to the handling of the donated funds. Until those questions are answered, it will be difficult for many people who like the movement to trust the organization with more donations.
The caging firm, that Simcox is using, is in BIG trouble. It has subpoenas out on it and Otis is hiding from the police and won't open the office door. Do you know that, or are you going to believe, hook, line, and sinker, the lies Chris and his "spokespeople" are feeding you?
The IRS will get Simcox before there's a "GRAND JURY".
Is it a big fire?
Good luck! :-)
These whiners/sour grapes former Minutement are really jerks. For whatever reason, they couldn't cut it. Now they're damaging the effort while the opponents of the group stand by grinning from ear to ear.
The MCDC has done NOTHING at all to stop illegal migration; NOTHING.