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Anti-tax rally won't be held at Moose

October 02, 2009
CLAREMONT — The anti-tax tea party won't take place Saturday, at least not at the Moose Lodge.

"They were informed this morning," said Linda Stankevich with the Women of The Moose. "We are forbidden from holding any events with political or religious affiliation It is in the by-laws."

The lodge on Broad Street was rented, Stankevich said, because the group's organizer, Cynthia Howard, told her it was a fundraiser for Chron's Disease. She only found out earlier this week what the other purpose was.

Howard, a candidate for city council and the organizer of the tea party through her group Claremont Citizens for Lower Taxes, said it is not a political event.

"It is a fundraiser, for Chron's Disease and for the Moose. It is not political," said Howard. "Yes, it is about taxes. The Moose is a nonprofit struggling to pay its property taxes. That is not right."

Howard has called for a 30 percent cut in the city budget.

It remains unclear if an alternative location had been found Friday afternoon.

Kurt Wehrmeister, director of communication and public affairs for the national organization, said the Moose bylaws are quite clear when it comes to use of the lodge.

He said it is for the enjoyment by members, or can be rented for gatherings such as weddings. Lodge members can hold community service fundraisers but it is not a facility that can be rented out for political or religious purposes. Furthermore, Wehrmeister said, the lodge cannot be used by outsiders to raise money for any organization, regardless of the purpose.

Werhmeister said if the event went forward, the local lodge would be subject to disciplinary action for violating the constitution. He could not say exactly what the penalty would be.

Stankevich said Howard misrepresented her intentions when she signed a contract to rent the Moose.

"The Lodge had no idea what they were planning. It was underhanded and deceitful."

Outside speakers invited to the event included Jack Kimble with the Granite State Patriots and possibly Pam Smith of the so-called 9/12 project

Matin Lord Osman
Salmon Press
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