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Eagle Forum split lands in court

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CLAYTON, MO (KPLR) – Longtime conservative activist and Eagle Forum Founder Phyllis Schlafly believes her organization is in the middle of a legal fight because she is a Donald Trump supporter.  It’s a claim disputed by attorneys who have filed a lawsuit in Madison County, IL representing several of the forum’s board members.

Schlafly said Tuesday, “The biggest issue right now is immigration.”  She went on to say it’s time to remove so-called party kingmakers who have, “Given us a long series of losers.”

The lawsuit seeks to remove Schlafly’s hand-picked Eagle Forum president from his position, and to give board members greater authority.  The forum’s board recently held a meeting to remove Ed Martin.  The meeting was held by phone.  Plaintiffs’ attorneys argued board members felt Martin exceeded his authority.

“Well I think it’s pretty clear that they want to take over Eagle Forum, and run it their way,” said Schlafly.  “I built a very successful organization.”

Attorney Scott Clark represents the defendants.  He said the vote to remove Martin is invalid.  Clarks said the Eagle Forum’s bylaws require the board to meet in person.

“This is an attempt to steal the organization, the Eagle Forum organization from Mrs. Schlafly,” said Clark.  “She’s worked more than 40 years or more to build the organization based on her reputation, her values, her hard work.”

Attorneys for the Plaintiffs declined to be interviewed.  They argued in court that board members had the legal authority to meet by phone.  They also argued board member motives were not based on party politics, rather the ability to carry out their duties.

The heart of the case centers on whether the board can meet by phone, or must meet in person.  The judge hearing the case will first make a ruling on that issue, before deciding whether the case will go forward.