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Minuteman leader founds new group, drops lawsuit

Jim Gilchrist starts new immigration control group, wins dismissal of suit against his foes.

April 25, 2007|Jennifer Delson | Times Staff Writer

A lawsuit filed against three people who sought to oust Minuteman Project co-founder Jim Gilchrist from the anti-illegal immigrant organization has been dismissed.

Gilchrist has founded a new group and is no longer affiliated with the original Minuteman Project.

Gilchrist petitioned the court to drop the lawsuit because it could have led to a judge appointing an independent party to control the finances of the citizen border control group. Control of the Minuteman Project's funds is still in dispute between Gilchrist and the three who sought to oust him.

Gilchrist, a retired Aliso Viejo accountant who gained national attention by organizing citizens to patrol the border in 2005, filed the lawsuit against three people who considered themselves members of the board of directors. They voted in February to oust him from the group he founded amid allegations of financial mismanagement, which Gilchrist denied.

Gilchrist, 58, said the three held only honorary positions and had no voting power. After Gilchrist filed the suit, Superior Court Judge Randell L. Wilkinson stopped Gilchrist's opponents from spending Minuteman money, but the judge's writings suggested that the organization should be put into receivership. Gilchrist filed for the dismissal, which was granted this week.

Gilchrist's three opponents retain the Minuteman's membership list, office equipment and stationery, said attorney Jim Lacy, who represents them. Lawyers on both sides argue that their clients should retain Minuteman funds, about $3,700.

Last week, Gilchrist incorporated a new organization, Jim Gilchrist Minuteman Project, and plans to continue his campaign against illegal immigration.

"We can avoid receivership by just dropping the case," Gilchrist said. "Now we can get back to the issue instead of dealing with these delusional whiners."

Last week, Gilchrist appeared on two radio shows and spoke before a group of Oregon conservatives who want immigration reform.

Gilchrist opponent Marvin Stewart, the new Minuteman president, said the group's founder "is spinning lies."

"You can't create a new Minuteman Project," Stewart said. "There is already one, and I'm the president."

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jennifer.delson@latimes.com

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