a) Allegations of racist signs and
checking cars for "niggers"
Two Justice Department employees alleged that two different racist signs were posted at the campground in 1992.
The first sign alleged to have been posted appeared to have been an 8 ½" by 11" folder, attached to a stick in the ground. Located to the right of the driveway into the campground about halfway between the main road and the grove of trees, the sign said, "no niggers." [/ For location of sign, see aerial photograph, supra p. 68. ] The witness saw it as he arrived at the campground early in the week, before the Roundup had officially opened, and thus before the registration table had been set up. By the time he had set up camp approximately thirty minutes later, the sign was gone. We have no information regarding the identity of the responsible party, but very few official attendees would have yet arrived, and no controls over access to the campground would have been put into place.
The second sign read, "nigger checkpoint." It was nailed to a tree to the left of the drive into the campground. [/ For location of sign, see aerial photograph, supra p. 68. ] The agent who described this sign was on his motorcycle behind two civilian friends who were in the agent's car. The two civilians corroborated the agent's account. They arrived early in the morning on the first day of the 1992 Roundup, before there were many people around. As they pulled up near the registration desk a very drunk individual walked up to the car and asked, "Any niggers in there?" A man from the registration desk immediately ran over and told the drunk man to get away. Others told the drunk man to take the sign down. The sign was quickly removed. Because the incident was over so quickly and the conduct clearly was not tolerated by the organizers, the agent did not believe there was any need to investigate further.
We have no information as to who was responsible for either of the signs. Rightmyer said he was unaware that any signs appeared in 1992. Although he
believed he was generally informed of any inappropriate actions at the campground, he was frequently not there during most of the day and did not stay at the campground overnight. [/ Beginning in the late 1980s, Rightmyer began to stay at a local motel instead of at the campground. He claimed it was due to allergy attacks brought on by the trees at the campground. During the day he was also frequently absent because he was playing golf. These absences were one of the reasons he created the MOB to handle matters at the campground. ]
The person in charge of the registration desk recalled seeing this sign and taking it down as soon as he spotted it. [ / This individual did not recall there being signs in both 1990 and 1992. He believed there was only one sign. Initially, he thought it was in 1992. He then believed it must have been 1990 because that was the year of the video. The sign he recalled, however, was not the one in the video and was not in the same location as the 1990 sign. The most plausible theory, therefore, is that the sign he recalled is the 1992 sign across from the registration desk. ] He did not recall anyone checking cars for blacks.
(ii) OIG findings
Two different racist signs were posted at the campsite around the time of the Roundup. The first sign, the one off to the side of the drive, was present and removed before the Roundup began. Only a few Roundup attendees would have arrived by then. It would be pure speculation to ascribe responsibility for this sign to anyone in particular or to a member of any particular group. We also have no information that any organizers of the Roundup were ever aware of its existence. Rightmyer denied having heard of it.
While the second sign was present shortly after the registration desk opened for this Roundup, it was removed by the people from the registration desk as soon as they spotted it. Unfortunately, we cannot identify the responsible person or determine any connection he or she may have had to the Roundup.
Rightmyer testified he did not recall being made aware of any such sign being posted at the 1992 Roundup. We found no evidence that any Roundup leader condoned the sign's presence.
On at least one occasion a person approached a car and "checked it for niggers." Credible evidence, however, indicates that the persons at the registration desk acted quickly to stop the individual. Again, unfortunately, we can draw no conclusions regarding the identity of the individual engaged in the conduct.