Statement denouncing Klan not yet released Fair's directors promised document amid furor over car

October 02, 1993|By Greg Tasker | Greg Tasker,Staff Writer

FREDERICK -- A week after committing to denouncing in writing activities by racist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, directors of the Great Frederick Fair haven't issued the promised statement.

James S. Grimes, the fair's president, said last week that such a statement would be made through the directors' attorney. Another director said the document would be made public this week.

Both comments came amid last week's controversy over directors having allowed a car painted with racist innuendo to compete in a demolition derby. A Thurmont Klansman entered the car, which also touted KKK membership.

But at the close of business yesterday, no statement had been released by the privately operated fair's management.

The directors' lawyer and Mr. Grimes, who is also a mayoral candidate, were unavailable for comment.

Frederick attorney Willie J. Mahone yesterday called fair officials' week of silence disturbing. As a leader of Concerned Citizens for Racial Justice, a county watchdog group on racial issues, he had pressed for the written denouncement last week.

"The more the delay, the more concern we have," said Mr. Mahone, a candidate for alderman in city elections next month. "We're questioning the integrity and merits of board members, who are business and political leaders."

Mr. Mahone's group and the county chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People picketed and boycotted the 131-year-old fair -- which draws some 200,000 patrons annually -- for two hours Sept. 24.

Mr. Mahone said his group, which has about 70 members, would discuss the matter later this month.

"I guess I assume that the [fair board] is not interested in renouncing the Klan," Mr. Mahone said.

"We will be looking at this matter and evaluating the matter a little bit more. I think this is something that warrants some consideration," he said.

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