Mike Jarbeck, founder of Minutemen Florida Corps, battled over money and membership with the Minutemen Civil Defense Corps, the national umbrella organization known for building fences and patrolling the U.S.-Mexican border.
The national group removed Jarbeck
in February, leaving many Tampa Bay area members disgruntled.Jarbeck
of Orlando and others said the Minutemen outfit started as a patriotic, grass-roots effort against illegal immigration but became more about politics and the visibility of Chris Simcox, the national group's Arizona-based president.
said the national organization wrested control by appointing chapter directors after leaders realized statewide membership had grown from 52 in 2006 to more than 400 people today.
"Once we grew and were large enough, we were on their radar now," Jarbeck
...Julius Morreal, Southwest Florida director for the Minutemen, confirmed that Jarbeck is no longer with the organization and there will be no counterprotests Tuesday at Tampa's Day Without an Immigrant rally, as there were last year.
was falsely accused of improperly handling money for members' background checks and was never fully reimbursed for his
..."Mike was the director, and he was thrown out for no good reason," Hill said.
and local members say the move is surprising because under him, the Florida Minutemen
were active in what they call the "invasion of our country."The Minutemen Florida Corps
visited construction sites.If they thought a company was hiring illegal immigrants, they would make posters at the site about the illegality.
The employers were told they would be reported to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
"We were effective," Jarbeck
said."It should be Americans working at those job sites.Once we did that, we watched as those construction workers changed overnight."Jarbeck joined the Minutemen in April 2005.He
drove 2,000 miles from Orlando to Naco, Ariz., near the Mexican border. He
worked 16-hour shifts, watching for border crossers at night and reporting them to Border Patrol agents.
"I was an original Minuteman," Jarbeck