Tom Metzger Flees Into The Night
[It is important to bear in mind that down through the years, Metzger has repeatedly denied he is paying any money at all to Morris Dees. We all knew he was lying, of course, but it's interesting to have it confirmed. - HAC]
TOM METZGER SECRETLY LEAVES FALLBROOK
SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE
March 9, 2006
Fallbrook neighbors of white supremacist and ex-Ku Klux Klansman Tom Metzger say he has moved on after nearly four decades of making North County his home.
Robert Young, who lives four houses from Metzger's former rental property, says the head of the White Aryan Resistance packed up and left a few days ago after spending at least a decade in the same house on East Clemmens Lane. The phone of Metzger's TV repair business is disconnected, and there is no forwarding number.
Dorothy Kelsey, 81, owns the house that Metzger rented after his own home was sold. (Proceeds were used to help pay a $12.5 million court judgment in the race-related murder of an Ethiopian student in Oregon by a group of skinheads reportedly inspired by Metzger.) Kelsey says she didn't realize who Metzger was when she first rented to him, but that he turned out to be a good tenant who paid his rent on time and kept the house in good condition.
Metzger told her he was headed to Indiana, where he has inherited a house from his late mother.
Metzger's departure doesn't sit well with local attorney Jim McElroy. He is collecting Metzger's restitution payments for the son of the Ethiopian student on behalf of Morris Dees, the Southern Poverty Law Center attorney who sued Metzger and his son, John.
McElroy, contacted while vacationing in Mexico, was unaware that Metzger had moved. He said that after paying like clockwork, Metzger had been late with his February check and hadn't paid his March restitution payment. Metzger, 69, recently had notified McElroy he was about to retire and urged him to lower the $850 monthly amount.
"He's not going to be able to avoid me," vows McElroy, adding that he can always seek payment from John Metzger, who lives in North County and is a joint debtor on the judgment. "My plan is to very aggressively pursue them."
Bob Leonard, of the Fallbrook Chamber of Commerce, characterized Metzger's departure as good for local business. "In newspapers we would always read, 'Fallbrook racist Tom Metzger,' as if it were some sort of brand," says Leonard.
In McElroy's opinion, Metzger went from being one of the most powerful figures in the white supremacy movement with his toll-free hotline, TV appearances and W.A.R. newspaper attracting about $200,000 in donations a year from all over the world, to a virtual nobody. Only about $1,500 a month has been coming in to his P.O. Box in recent years, McElroy says.
The lawyer says Metzger recently changed the name of his W.A.R. Web site and is listing a new P.O. box. "Wouldn't it be nice," McElroy says, "if he's out of the hate business?"