The St Louis Post Dispatch has written an evenhanded article about the ongoing attempt by some to destroy the Eagle Forum. This piece details the recent history of the conflict, beginning with Ed Martin’s attempt to unilaterally seize control of the group and his more recent efforts to smear Phyllis Schlafly’s loyal friends and family members. A few excerpts are below. You can read the entire article here.
St Louis Post-Dispatch
January 24, 2017
The late conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly formed her storied national grass-roots organization, the St. Louis-area-based Eagle Forum, more than 40 years ago. It took one 40-minute phone call last April for it to start coming apart. “Why are you hijacking Eagle Forum, Ed?” shouted one woman in the contentious conference call among dozens of Eagle Forum officials from all over America. “Why are you hijacking Eagle Forum?” The question was directed at pugilistic Missouri politico Ed Martin — who may or may not be Eagle Forum’s president, depending on how one of several pending lawsuits shakes out.
“If you want to go to the meetings of these losers, please do not come to our meeting,” Martin wrote in an email to Schlafly’s followers announcing the St. Louis-area event he’s leading this week. “We are not interested in people who want to play all sides.” He signed the email, “Phyllis Schlafly’s Successor.” The “losers” he references include Schlafly’s daughter, Anne Schlafly Cori of Ladue, an Eagle Forum board member who says the strife in her mother’s organization — and even between her and her siblings — stems from Martin’s brief time at the helm. “I’m very sorry to say my mother was isolated from her best friends in the last six months of her life,” Cori said in an interview last week. “There were a number of people who were banned from seeing her.” She added: “I had no conflict with my brothers before the advent of Ed Martin.”
Eagle Forum board members, including Adams and Cori, planned a meeting for April 11 with the intention of removing Martin as Eagle Forum’s president. They insist it wasn’t about Trump, but what they allege was Martin’s mismanagement. But three days before that planned meeting, Martin superseded it with his own telephone conference with dozens of Eagle Forum officials from all over the country. In an audio recording of the conference, many of them react in shock as Martin announces what amounted to a purge of his critics. Martin alleged in the call that the board members had “been disloyal,” singling out Adams for her “ageist slur” against Schlafly in the Dallas Morning News interview. He alleged the members were planning “a rogue meeting” to “take over” the organization. In response, he said, he and members of the adjacent Eagle Forum charitable organization had held “an emergency meeting” that morning to fire several offending board members and others, including Schlafly’s daughter. “Anne Cori … [is] no longer on the board,” declared Martin. “Anne doesn’t serve in any capacity.” Martin also announced that the group’s Washington-based executive director, Glyn Wright, would no longer be in that post. When others on the call pressed him on where she was going, he said: “I have no idea. I just know she’s no longer working for us.” Later in the call, Wright breaks in and tearfully tells the group: “I was called five minutes before this meeting and I was fired for no cause.”
Some of the board members say that, with Schlafly increasingly isolated near the end, the confrontational emails and letters signed by her didn’t sound like her — but they did sound very much like Martin. On the day before the Eagle Forum board was planning to meet to fire Martin last April, for example, the members got a letter over Schlafly’s signature decrying their “attack on me and my work” and ordering them to “resign immediately.” Acting Eagle Forum President Eunie Smith of Alabama, who is now filling the post that Martin still claims is his, says she called Schlafly about the letter and that Schlafly said she knew nothing about it.