Dan Maybury, the chairman of the Pitcairn Monroeville Sportsmen’s Club, is adamant that his organization knew nothing about an alleged neo-Nazi event held in the club social hall in late September.
“We were chartered in 1936. We’ve been around almost 86 years, and we have never, never, had a problem like this, ever in the history of the Pitcairn Monroeville Sportsmen’s Club,” Maybury said.
Located in North Versailles, Pennsylvania, the club was thrust into controversy when a member rented the hall claiming that it would be used for a funeral repast, Maybury said.
After learning that the hall was actually used for a neo-Nazi event, the club suspended the membership of the person who rented the space and contacted legal counsel, “not only to defend the club for what it is right now, but what we need to do in the future to prevent anything like this from ever happening again,” Maybury said.
Approximately 160 members of the club attended a meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 5, that addressed the white supremacist event. During the meeting, a petition was presented asking the directors to expel the individual responsible for the event.
“It was voted on unanimously by the nine directors,” Maybury said.
The expulsion must now go through a process outlined in the club’s bylaws.
The group is now beginning a process of self-examination, Maybury said, to tighten some of its policies making it impossible for a similar event to occur again.
“There’s some things coming forward, with changes to the club,” he said. “There’s going to be some oversight with hall rentals.”
Before the neo-Nazi event, Maybury said, a hall manager handled rentals without any board oversight. Maybury has recommended that the policy be changed.
The idea moving forward, Maybury said, will be “trust but verify.”
As board director, Maybury spent the last several days fielding more than 150 calls, emails and texts from members, he said. About a third of those calls were from Jewish members of the club.
After the massacre at the Tree of Life building, Jewish membership swelled, Maybury said.
“Every one of them have had nothing but good things to say,” he said, adding that they appreciated a phone call from the club “because we’re transparent.”
David Wolf has been a club member for more than 20 years. He was unable to attend the meeting because it was held on Yom Kippur but sent an email to the club leadership.
In the email, he wrote of the welcoming community he found at the club and his memories of bringing children from the Yeshiva Schools of Pittsburgh there.
“Many of my friends and members of my community have joined on my recommendation,” he wrote.
Wolf said that as a former member of Tree of Life Congregation, he believes, Oct. 27, 2018, made real the atrocities that occurred during the Holocaust 75 years ago in his father’s lifetime and that, as an observant Jew, he values his Second Amendment rights.
“I am grateful to our members and their willingness to teach such a valuable skill,” he wrote.
White supremacist events, such as the one held at the Pitcairn Monroeville Sportsmen’s Club, occur several times a year throughout the state, according to Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh Security Director Shawn Brokos.
The events are advertised by word of mouth and through social media sites, she said, so the general public usually isn’t aware they are taking place.
“The location is not disclosed publicly; it’s only via word of mouth,” Brokos said, “so even if a member of our community learned about it, they’re not going to know the location.”
Brokos said that she is aware when rallies, like that held in North Versailles, take place, but generally doesn’t publicize it because she doesn’t want to give the groups publicity.
For Maybury, the goal moving forward is clear.
“I’ll do everything in power to prevent this from ever happening again,” he said. PJC
David Rullo can be reached at email@example.com.