A PINK FLAMINGO X-CLUSIVE: More Minuteman Fence Follies

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FLINGING A LITTLE MUD

The Sierra Vista Herald has a fascinating little article about Chris Simcox, Carmen Mercer and the Minuteman Fence. Evidently our erstwhile heroes are still trying to raise money to build their precious fence.  My first question:  If Michael Chertoff is determined to bulldoze the Constitution and erect his little fence, why are the Minutemen, et al still bilking people out of their hard earned cash?

“…Jim Campbell, a man who mortgaged his house to donate $100,000 to the Minuteman fence project in 2006, filed a suit against the group for fraud and breach of contract in May 2007 in Maricopa County Superior Court. The defendants residing out of state claimed they never did business in Arizona and, Campbell allowed the civil case to be dismissed because he did not want to continue to fund the litigation.

Campbell is now seeking a criminal case in federal court. He is asking people to fill out a form and mail it to him if they donated money to the fence project and they feel they may have done so under false pretenses, misrepresentations and false promises and/or they feel there needs to be a full investigation into the finances surrounding it. He will direct the forms to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service regarding a mail fraud complaint.

O’Connell, who is one of the officers terminated from MCDC in the spring of 2007 for holding conference calls to determine a way to approach group president Chris Simcox regarding the fence and the finances, said he is continuing to search for answers to the organization’s financials.

Campbell obtained a Minuteman Foundation Inc. IRS Form 990-EZ for 2006 that discloses $87,500 in donations and cites service expenses of $86,054 under a program description of “build demonstration border fencing along southern border of the United States as a direct representation of the fence which should be constructed along the entire border by federal, state and local governmental authorities, in order to secure the border and promote national sovereignty. Inform the nation of the state of our unsecure international borders.”

O’Connell pointed out the $87,500 figure listed on the 990-EZ tax form does not make sense because Campbell alone donated $100,000 in 2006. He has asked MCDC officials to release tax records and explain the situation, but he said they have declined to do so.

“There is something wrong with that,” he said. “There is smoke there, and we believe that where there is smoke, there is fire.”

Campbell also points out in a Feb. 29 letter to an investigator that the $87,500 figure is far short of MCDC’s previously-announced $325,000 in donations as of May 26, 2006, or the $600,000 in donations as of August 2006.

“The government demands that these organizations provide tax documents based on truth and here it is clearly not truthful,” O’Connell said. “So if that money is going to other accounts, fine. It should be readily available to the public. If there was $1 million donated, wonderful. Just show people where it is at.”…”


For months I’ve been teasing with promises of “X-Clusive”but have been hedging back, trying to check my sources.  I’m still working on it, but I have some rather juicy information.  (Previously) It isn’t gossip.  It also confirms information I was told 2 years ago and have been trying to confirm.  One of my sources has now become rather interested in the whole Carmen Mercer end of things.  For those of you who don’t know Carmen, she is the owner of the TOP breakfast nook in Tombstone, the famous OK Cafe.  Over the years I’ve told you a little about Carmen and her role with the Minutemen.  I’m going to go back to one of the Minutemen forums from 2007.

“…The success of this 5-year effort that started with Chris Simcox and Carmen Mercer doing a local neighborhood watch in Tombstone, AZ is self evident, as even the mainstream national media is reporting about the debate over the negative effects of amnesty for illegal aliens in the U.S. Chris Simcox has been quoted, “It’s been worth all the sacrifice and effort to bring this important issue to the forefront, to wake up the American public and start to get this government to do its job and secure the border.” …”

You gotta be d.

Carmen and Chris Simcox were “thick” once upon a time.  Legend has it Chris arrived in Tombstone by October of 2001, having had a ‘breakdown’ following 9/11.  He, according to lore and legend, wanted to protect the border, Wyatt Earp style.  What I do know, from Source #1, is that he was basically destitute.  He lived in the RV park between Allen and Fremont on 2nd (?) Street. Source #1 mentioned spotting him a meal or two.  He became one of the usual Tombstone stories.  I probably saw him around once or twice during the now defunct FOT meeting of late October.  He was a Wyatt Earp junkie, and Wyatt Earp junkies gravitate together, until they start arguing.

Low and behold, according to #1, when they went for the community Thanksgiving meal Simcox and Mercer were working together, as a ‘couple’ helping with dinner. They were an item for a time.

THE TIMELINE IS IMPORTANT

The following year I was the co-chair of FOT (Friends of Tombstone).  We were having a terrible time r the use of Schieffelin Hall. By now, maybe 6 months after arriving in Tombstone, destitute, Chris Simcox was the owner of the Tombstone Tumbleweed.  At that time there was no mention of immigration.  Simcox was just getting his feet wet in the community, where he, according to legend, cashed in his teacher’s pension and purchased the Tumbleweed.  He immediately went to the aid of my little group, giving us excellent press.  That’s how I came to know him.  He was fair to us, and attending the entire conference.  He even did a decent interview with your humble blogger about Wyatt Earp.

This was the end of October.  Simcox had yet to begin his anti-immigration rhetoric.  A few months later he starts a “posse” modeled (allegedly) after the old Tombstone Rangers, of which Wyatt Earp was an original member. He attracted the attention of con-artist extraordinaire, Jim Gilchrist, who helped morph the whole thing into the Minuteman movement. The rest is history.

It is now 2004.  Simcox and Carmen are allegedly still an item.

THE TUMBLEWEED DIES

“…Now, before the rumor mill gets started about us running off with the cash, all of our advertisers have been reimbursed for any unused ads….”

I know for a fact this isn’t exactly true.  According to Source #3, an advertiser with the Tumbleweed, the newspaper, then run by a relative of Simcox, defaulted on more than a few advertisers.  #3 was one of them (for less than $250).  Source #2 tells me that more than a few thousand dollars were not returned to individuals.  According to #2, Simcox left one of #2’s friends holding the bag in the amount of low 5 figures.  I’ve been trying to confirm the actual amount for several years.  Source #2 is extremely trusted.  Information received by #3 basically confirmed everything this person told me, as has information from #1.

The actual reason the Tombstone Tumbleweed died was because subscribers were canceling and advertisers were drying up faster than the San Pedro.  After 2002, Simcox’ editorial line became more and more racist and very much anti-Hispanic, reflecting a small group of Tombstone area residents.

According to Source #4, in 2002 at a Christmas Party, after the ‘punch’ started flowing, there was no end to the conversation about how they would love to go “Mexican hunting” and “bag a few”.  Source #4 was furious with the conversation and left the party immediately.  This person informs me the individuals at that party became the backbone of the original Minuteman movement.

THE MINUTEMEN
Carmen Mercer goes on to become VP of the whole Simcox Minuteman bunch.  She and Chris Simcox are no longer “an item” but there are those in Tombstone who suspect she’s still carrying a torch for him, thus her Minutemen activities.  Then there are those who suspect that Chris Simcox adopted his anti-Hispanic racism from Mercer.

An immigrant herself, Mercer came to the US the hard way, by marrying a US soldier assigned to Germany, then divorcing him.  Today, because of the hard-line laws she helped promote, if Mercer were in the same situation, she would be deported back to German as an illegal.  You can’t marry your way into the US now, thanks to Carmen Mercer and her associates.  Funny how these things work, isn’t it?

According to Sources #3 & #4, Mercer has always been just a tad bit anti-Hispanic to the point of letting her racist views of them show – just a little.  Source #3 consulted with a former employee of the OK Cafe who was able to confirm that Mercer’s anti-Hispanic and anti-Mexican bias predates her association with Chris Simcox and the Minutemen.

There are additional reports that, when encountering someone who does not appear to be a “real” American, Mercer will demand proof of legal residency or threaten them with ICE or the Border Patrol.  There are also Tombstone based tales, according to Source #1, that Merser is less than generous with individuals working for her, or offering services, until they provide proof of legal residency.

This information doesn’t amount to much, but it does show several patterns.  First, Carmen Mercer’s dislike of the Mexican people predate the Minuteman movement.  Second, Chris Simcox has a pattern of scamming people out of money.

How are the two related?

THE SCAM
For months rumor had it that the much heralded Minuteman Border Fence was nothing but a Scam.  Then word started trickling to the outside world (not Cochise County) that something was rotten in the County of Cochise. CNN on the scam.  Now the newest edition of the scam is to donate a flag to be placed on the border fence.

“…The organization is currently holding a fundraising campaign in which donors can pay $25 to place a flag and message on the border to support Minuteman border operations in Arizona, California and Texas. Some of the flags have been displayed during the early part of July on the Hodges fence.

“Post your flag even if you cannot stand a post at the border,” Carmen Mercer, vice president of MCDC, states in a solicitation for donations. “We need to replace old flags on 11 miles of Minuteman border fence that were damaged by weather or torn down by illegal aliens. We know that the presence of flags will deter illegal aliens because they will know that we are on duty watching.”…”


THE WORST PART
To me, the worst part of all of this is the fact that I have a number of friends in Tombstone.  They are literally on both sides of the border fence so to speak.  I have found, though, that the average resident of Tombstone is a bit embarrassed about the Minutemen.  Even though it is a “border” town, Tombstone is still a mining town (or was) dirty and small minded. (a movie quote)  For the most part, the people who live there are just trying to earn a decent living.  In a resort tourist town, if you have few resources, those options are very limited. In that way, Tombstone is no different than other communities.

It is quickly becoming a bedroom suburb of Sierra Vista, which is one of the fastest growing towns in the country.  For those who do not depend on the town and tourism as their only source of income, it is a nice way to live.  The town is small.  Everyone knows everyone else.  Gossip is juicy to the point where I have a friend I periodically call just to get all the latest.

I wouldn’t mind living there.

There’s one other little tidbit you  might want to think about.  The support for John McCain in this community is rather strong, to say the least.

For all its faults, Tombstone is one of the most patriotic little towns I’ve ever seen.

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