Hate Group Leaves Cards

Tampa Tribune/November 17, 2001
By Will Rodgers

New Port Richey -- While signs of a united America continue to play out across the country, a national white supremacy group subtly reared its head in Pasco this week.

The National Alliance, once considered by the Anti-Defamation League as the most dangerous hate group in the United States, posted its calling cards near money slots on vending machines inside the West Pasco Government Center.

While the group has been highly active in Tampa and Orlando, Pasco County Administrator John Gallagher said this is the first he's heard of the organization here. He wasn't aware the business cards had been placed in the main building of Pasco County's government.

"I've never even heard of them before,'' Gallagher said. "Quite frankly, if our employees see something like that, I'll have them take it down because it's not our belief.

"We don't condone stuff like that. But then, I can't stop them from doing it, that I'm aware of.''

Gallagher said all county employees attend diversity classes.

Calls to telephone numbers for units in Orlando and Gainesville, listed on the National Alliance's Web site as cells operating in Florida, were not returned Friday.

Kevin Doll, Pasco County Sheriff's Office spokesman, said hate groups like the National Alliance have a constitutional right to disseminate information or gather, as long as they are abiding by laws.

After the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, county emergency and law enforcement officials surveyed possible local terrorist threats, finding 13 domestic organizations operating in Pasco County. But whether the National Alliance was on that list was not readily available Friday.

"As far as tracking groups that may have illegal tendencies, that's intelligence information that we don't comment on,'' Doll said.

"We're aware of the group in Pasco County. That's pretty much all we're going to comment on.''

County Commissioner Ted Schrader maintains an office at the West Pasco Government Center but spends most of his week in an office at the historic county courthouse in Dade City. He was shocked to hear about the business cards being found on county property.

"I thought all of that was gone years ago,'' he said, referring generally to hate groups in Pasco County. "If there is any way to do it, I certainly would support keeping that out of any county building.''

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