Sons of Confederate Veterans Leader Ron Wilson Faces Controversy
A top official of a Southern heritage group decided to get even with a writer he didn't like. But then he began to boast
That was where the matter lay until this fall, when Beirich was working on a story about the results of the SCV's July convention in Asheville, N.C. Beirich had learned that Allen Trapp, head of a major SCV geographical division and a member of the executive council, had opposed several measures that Wilson pushed.
On Aug. 22, she wrote Trapp an E-mail. "Would you be willing to talk to me about why you led your Army of Tennessee in voting against Wilson's amendments at the Asheville convention?" she asked. "I thought you might have something to add."
Forty-four minutes later, Trapp forwarded Beirich's message to John Adams, starting an exchange about leaks on Adams' SCV Dispatch (the leaks were the reason the newsletter would be shut down in September).
That evening, Trapp wrote to Adams that he was still debating whether or not to answer Beirich. In his note, he emphasized to Adams "the extent to which everything we say is public."
Adams' reply to Trapp was a remarkable one.
"Allen," Adams wrote. "Some time ago, I advised her (TWICE) NOT TO CONTACT ME AGAIN. When the bitch persisted, I signed her email address up for some 250+ porn, lesbian, and bestiality websites. I am sure she appreciated the love letters from 'Mr. Binks' — who is black and sports a 30" 'tallywhacker'!"
Adams copied this comment and the rest of the exchange, including the original note from Beirich, to the entire SCV executive council: Ron G. Wilson, Denne A. Sweeney, Frank B. Powell III, Ronald E. Casteel, Roy Burl McCoy, John Weaver, Christopher M. Sullivan, Henry E. Kidd, Thomas Tarry Beasley II, John C. Perry, Mark L. Cantrell, and all past commanders in chief with E-mail addresses. (Former commanders are ex officio board members and have voting power.)
No board member publicly repudiated or admonished Adams. No SCV official ever disclosed to the Intelligence Report what had happened. As best as the Report can determine, no executive board member even privately took Adams to task.
But the Report was absolutely certain that Adams did, indeed, carry out the E-attack that he described to Trapp. That is because no person outside the Southern Poverty Law Center knew that Beirich had been targeted in such an attack.
At least not until John Adams told them.
The SCV Responds
The Report obtained a copy of the Adams-Trapp exchange in October, and an E-mail seeking comment was sent to Adams and the entire executive board on Oct. 31.
Within days, news of the Report's query was rapidly making the rounds. It soon became apparent that Adams' attack on Beirich was already widely known.
"I have heard the brag about the 'Porno' event personally from John [Adams] in several phone conversations," read an E-mail to friends from Fred McNary, who is on the executive council of the Military Order of Stars & Bars, an affiliate of the SCV for descendants of Confederate officers.
McNary also referenced the fact that Adams had called Kyle VanLandingham, an attorney and former head of the Tampa Historical Society who has since left the SCV, a "fag" in one of his E-mails. "I have heard the comments on Kyle VanLandingham from John's own mouth," McNary wrote. "In fact, he seems to tell it with an adolescent type of pride."
Finally, on Nov. 4, John Adams sent an E-mail to Beirich admitting his offense. He said that he had actually signed her up for only about a dozen sites, not more than 250 as he had boasted in his message to Allen Trapp, but added that "that in no way excuses my conduct." He wrote:
At the time, I viewed this as satisfyingly humorous because I equated your persistent emails to me with spam. However, I realize now that some of those sites may have contained offensive information and that it was completely inappropriate for me to have connected you to them.
I can understand how my actions in this matter may have offended your sense of honor and virtue as a lady. ... I obviously have a way to go before I measure up to the Christian character and noble example set by my Confederate ancestors.
Ten days later, on Nov. 14, SCV Commander-in-Chief Ron Wilson, who was among those who had known about the affair since August, reached a decision.
Saying that Adams' conduct "has reflected poorly on the Confederation," Wilson fired Adams from the executive board, his post as SCV Webmaster, and "from any and all other positions of trust and responsibility in the national command structure of the Sons of Confederate Veterans." (Adams' firing must be confirmed by a vote of the executive board.) For the moment, he remained Florida commander.