Baltimore Terminates Contract with Government Lawyer Accused of Past Neo-Nazi Ties

Tom Jackman, Washington Post, August 19, 2016

A lawyer for Baltimore with apparent longtime ties to neo-Nazi groups had his contract terminated by the city Thursday after some of his past activities were exposed Wednesday by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Then on Friday afternoon, the top Baltimore city lawyer who hired him suddenly stepped down, and it was not clear whether he too was terminated by Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake or whether he decided to retire.

Glen Keith Allen, 65, had been involved in defending Baltimore police in civil litigation over at least one wrongful prosecution case, court records show, as a member of the city’s Litigation and Claims Practice Group. Baltimore’s law department has gained renown for fighting such lawsuits all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, often costing taxpayers more in fees to outside counsel than the actual payments to victims of police misconduct.

But the city apparently was unaware of Allen’s history with groups such as the white supremacist National Alliance in years past, and more recently, with the American Eagle Party, deemed an offshoot of the racist American Freedom Party by the SPLC, which monitors American hate groups. In a post Wednesday, the SPLC posted receipts showing that Allen made a $500 contribution to the National Alliance in 2003 and paid to attend a 2007 conference discussing denial of the Holocaust. More recently, he was listed last October as vice chairman of the American Eagle Party and posted a YouTube video that month introducing an AEP-sponsored debate on the viability of vaccinations.

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Allen said in an interview Friday that he was not a white supremacist, but that he agreed with Baltimore’s decision to end his contract. He said the article could influence a judge’s rulings against his clients because “that judge didn’t like you. So now I just have to deal with it . . . I was helping the city to win litigation and defending their lawsuits.”

Allen said he had worked in private practice with DLA Piper and that George A. Nilson, the Baltimore city solicitor, was his colleague there. On Friday, Nilson, 74, left the city’s top legal job, which he had held since 2007. {snip}

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Allen repeated his claim, first made to The Baltimore Sun on Thursday, that he had not been a member of the National Alliance “for many years,” which he told The Sun was “a huge mistake.” He acknowledged that he is still vice chairman of the American Eagle Party, “but you’re talking about a handful of people.” He said that group “has nothing to do with race, there’s no racial element at all,” and that its leader, Merlin Miller, left the American Freedom Party because of its racist overtones. He acknowledged that the American Eagle Party “is anti-Zionist. It’s critical of Israel and supporters of Israel.”

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In 2014 and 2015, Allen made five separate donations to the American Eagle Party, federal records uncovered by the SPLC show.

Allen retired from the law firm DLA Piper last year, and was hired by the Baltimore city law department on a one-year contract in February, city officials said. Upon learning of his background, Mayor Rawlings-Blake ordered that Allen’s contract be terminated Thursday. Her office released a statement which said that “Mr. Allen was fully vetted at the time of his hire–and of course had decades earlier been professionally and character tested upon his admission to the bar. None of the historical facts and alleged facts recently publicized about Mr. Allen’s political views and affiliations were disclosed or discussed when his contract was agreed to. The law department does not as a general practice question its hired or contract attorneys about their political views.”

The city had paid Allen $42,000 since his hiring, city officials told The Sun, and would pay him no more. {snip}

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Allen said Friday: “I did not disagree with the conclusion that I should leave. It was very professionally done.” He said he was a longtime friend of Nilson, that they had worked together at the Piper law firm, and that he had worked as a lawyer in Baltimore for 27 years without incident. “My dues-paying [to the National Alliance] was many years ago. What connections I had, I kept to myself.” He said he had represented for free a black sheriff’s deputy who had shot and killed a white man and “did the best I could for him.”

While he denied any beliefs in white supremacy–“Just look at the Olympics, that’s ridiculous,” Allen said–he did say that “I think it’s healthy to identify with your racial past, your ancestors. I don’t think that’s unique to Europeans, or Japanese, or Africans. I do think there’s an amount of identity, pride in your race, that’s not permitted today. I also understand it can be obnoxious and create violence, and that’s not acceptable.”

Allen called the Southern Poverty Law Center “a pretty disgusting organization. They aren’t what they claim to be. The logic of their practice is they’re trying to stop racism. In Baltimore, I was helping the city to win litigation and defending their lawsuits. I think they have a vendetta against people whose views are on their target list.” He said Beirich “has a big salary to do nothing else but to make life miserable for people with non-conforming opinions.”

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