Some members of the Knoxville Tea Party have incorporated the organization as a lobbying group in a dispute with other members over its purpose, reports Georgiana Vines.
Benjamin McCroskey, secretary and communications chair of the new board, has sent a letter to the organization’s members about the action. The letter said that “a small group of individuals” had tried to move the focus of the organization from fighting “over taxing, over spending, and over-reach of the federal government” to questions on President Barack Obama’s birth, social issues and radicalizing Islam.
He described their conduct as “intent on disrupting the activities of the KTP and taking over the organization to promote their agenda. This is a direct violation of the membership agreement.”
One of the people ousted with the new board’s action was Antonio Hinton, an organizer of the original Knoxville tea party and prominent at various programs the organization has had over the past year in Knoxville.
McCroskey said letters had been sent to five people about their conduct at the last two tea party meetings, before the incorporation. Hinton was in this group, although he said Friday he had not received the letter because it was sent to the wrong address. He acknowledged he knew about the letter.
“We’re working on straightening it out right now. My issues are transparency and being open. Some weren’t happy that they incorporated. There has been some heated disagreement on how and why they did it. People were not informed (ahead of time),” Hinton said.
In the letter to members inviting them to remain with the newly incorporated group or request their dues back from the noncorporate one, McCroskey said those incorporating the organization had used their own money and not any of the organization’s treasury.
The letter said that as a lobbying organization, KTP could not support or oppose candidates for public office.
The letter said the permanent board consists of Theresa West, chair, Sally Absher, James Arthur, Doug Cassidy, Nancy Castle and McCroskey