Thursday, August 04, 2005

Fatherhood Coalition ousts leader - MA

North Adams Transcript - Local Headlines

As with the F4J implosion - inner strife within a movement is likely unavoidable - but is regrettable all the same.

Excerpts:

The coup took place on Wednesday night, when eight members of the fathers' rights group met and voted to eject Rinaldo Del Gallo III, said Richard Hover, who claims to be the group's new president. Hover said Del Gallo's tirades, unreliability and militant stance on the subject of fathers' rights have combined to drive members away, weakening the coalition.

But Del Gallo said the vote was attended by only three of the coalition's eight officers, and thus did not constitute a majority. In a written statement, Del Gallo said that he is the spokesman of the group, and that -- since only the spokesman has the authority to make official statements on behalf of the coalition -- it is the official position of the coalition that he is still an officer and the group's spokesman. He said Hover's statements should be disregarded.

Both Hover and Del Gallo were able to name supporters who, in interviews, bolstered their version of events, and it is difficult to tell which side is actually in control of the coalition, or whether the group has survived the coup at all.

The Fatherhood Coalition is dedicated to pursuing changes in state divorce laws that would encourage judges to grant equal custody of children to fathers and mothers. Del Gallo, an attorney specializing in patent law, has brought publicity to the group through his campaigns for shared parenting legislation, his numerous appearances at City Council meetings and his failed efforts to run for office, including an incident in which he was arrested for trespassing while gathering nomination signatures outside the post office in Pittsfield.

But Hover said the net effect of Del Gallo's involvement with the coalition has been to shrink its ranks. He said the group once numbered about 150 members and now has only eight, and the majority have been chased away by Del Gallo.

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