Is it Pat Choate of the Ross Perot-Russ Verney lineage or Jack Gargan
, who rode to the chairmanship on the back of Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura.
...Gargan was elected national chairman at a national convention last summer in Dearborn , Mich. , and was ousted at a national committee convention in Nashville in February , less than two months after he finally took office
.Gargan's treasurer , Ronn Young , also was booted out.Gargan
was replaced by Choate , who had to resign as an official in Pat Buchanan's presidential campaign to take the position.
The Nashville meeting , Gargan
contends , was illegally called and illegally credentialed.He
is still the chairman , he
Nonsense , says Choate , who claims the chairmanship and wants the court to turn over to his
faction the $2.5 million the Federal Election Commission
gave the party last year to hold its presidential nominating convention.
Judge Moon ordered the money to be put in the possession of the court before the trial began -- although Gargan
and Young were about $500 , 000 short , according to court documents.Gargan told the American Reporter in a telephone conversation Friday that the figure is closer to $300 , 000 after a late deposit
said most of the money has been spent with a Washington consulting group , who will conduct the electronic balloting for a presidential nominee and will run the convention.
We expect they ( the consulting group ) will make money for us from television and the host city , Gargan
The contract with the consulting firm was signed late last year by Young while Verney was still chairman , Gargan
is clear what he
will do if he
loses only Monday although he
is cautiously optimistic that he
I would leave , he
said.I couldn't be part of an organization which has no regard for ethics..
The retired Florida real estate executive thinks there would be a major exodus from a Choate-led Reform Party , which has rapidly been taken over by Buchanan Brigades..
There is a split in the party , Gargan
said , but it's not an even split..He
claims grassroots backing of about 80 percent of the party.
The big question is whether the losers Monday will strike out to form a new party.There is precedent here.
would not attempt to predict what will happen after Monday's ruling.He did , however , point to Ventura's past comments about forming an Independence Party , led by the Minnesota group which recently broke away from the national Reform Party
Also riding on Judge Moon's decision are the party's nominating process and the date and site of the party's nominating convention.
If Gargan wins , only Reform Party members and those who sign ballot access petitions for candidates will get voting rights.If Choate wins , the voting will be open to those two categories and also any registered voter -- regardless of party -- who asks for a ballot.
The Gargan Party also will limit the power of the national convention delegates.
Under the new rule , set up at an emergency national convention earlier this month called by Gargan
in Las Vegas , the national balloting can be overturned only by the convention for what Gargan calls just cause..
Convention dates and sites would be different , too.The Gargan's group site is still undecided -- St. Paul , Minn. is the leading candidate , New Orleans an option - and it would be held in late July before the Democrats and Republicans meet.
The Choate group will meet in Long Beach in August.
If Choate is named the rightful chairman on Monday , Buchanan will have smooth sailing to the party's nomination and the $12.5 million in federal money.
is Judge Moon's pick , Buchanan may have a more difficult balancing act.He
certainly can compete for our nomination , Gargan
said.But I have to say I'm not friendly toward him.After all , it was his
people who threw me out in Nashville..
Buchanan has been shrugging off reporters' questions about the disarray in the party.
In San Francisco Friday night , the former Reagan aide and talk show panelist told a TV interviewer : By the time the convention rolls around , the party will be in step like the Rockettes..