The City of Colorado Springs won't support a three-day convention at the Cheyenne Mountain Resort planned by the white nationalist group VDARE.
One of the group's contributing writers, Jason Kessler, organized a deadly rally by white supremacists Saturday in Charlottesville, Va.
Mayor John Suthers said the city can't limit free speech, nor can it tell private businesses with whom to schedule conferences.
"That said, I would encourage local businesses to be attentive to the types of events they accept and the groups that they invite to our great city," Suthers wrote in a statement.
Peter Brimelow, the editor of VDARE.com, declined to answer questions by phone Tuesday and responded via email. He said the group chose Colorado Springs for its conference because of its many supporters in Colorado and in the "West generally."
"Plus resort looks beautiful," Brimelow wrote.
Asked about VDARE's mission, Brimelow referred to the website, which calls diversity in America a "vulnerability."
"VDARE.com recognizes that mass immigration both legal and illegal has driven America to the verge of bankruptcy" in employment, income, national security, crime, education, race relations and culture, the website says.
Brimelow, however, acknowledged that he immigrated to the U.S. in the 1970s. He did not say from where.
He said VDARE "had nothing to do with" the rally in Charlottesville, "and none of us attended."
But Kessler, who organized and attended the rally, is a primary contributor to VDARE.com.
In his email, Brimelow also appeared to reference the killing of 32-year-old Heather Heyer in Charlottesville when 20-year-old James Alex Fields reportedly rammed his car into a crowd of counter-protesters Saturday. Nineteen others were injured.
Brimelow wrote that Heyer's blood is on the hands of Virginia Gov.Terry McAuliffe and Chorlottesville Mayor Mike Signer. He did not elaborate.
The Cheyenne Mountain Resort & Club has failed to respond to concerns about the VDARE conference, after promising for two days to provide a statement.
"They have ghosted everybody," Colorado Springs lawyer Jeremy Loew said about the resort's lack of response.
Loew, who is Jewish, lives near Cheyenne Mountain and belongs to the Country Club of Colorado at the resort. He said he wants the business to shut its doors on VDARE.
Earlier this year, the Tenaya Lodge in Yosemite National Park canceled its contract with VDARE because of the group's political stances.
"It's certainly not how the Cheyenne Mountain Resort wants to be known, as a group that would allow a hate group to be on their premises," Loew said. "Are they going to warn the other guests that week, the minority guests, that there's a hate group on campus?"
Loew said his family has belonged to the club for about two years, and he was shocked to learn of VDARE's planned conference. He said he is not yet sure how the conference will affect his membership.
Loew said he hopes the resort is "coming up with a solution that says to VDARE, 'Go find another spot.'"
While details about VDARE's conference are sparse, Suthers said the city must protect "all individuals regardless of race, religion, color, ancestry, national origin, physical or mental disability, or sexual orientation."
"The City of Colorado Springs will not provide any support or resources to this event, and does not condone hate speech in any fashion," he wrote.
City Councilman Don Knight said he had been unaware of VDARE until recently receiving serveral messages in opposition to the group.
Knight said he stands behind Suthers' statement.
Brimelow, however, called Suthers' statement irrelevant because "we don't do Hate Speech etc."
The Southern Poverty Law Center lists VDARE.com as a white nationalist and anti-immigration hate group, however.
And the group's plans to hold a conference in Colorado Springs has spawned two planned protests.
One will start at 4 p.m. Sunday in front of City Hall to express solidarity with those in Charlottesville who opposed the violent rally Saturday, Unite Colorado Springs, one of the event's many organizers, announced it on Facebook.
"We reject Nazism, white supremacy, homophobia, transphobia, racism, xenophobia, and bigotry in all its hideous forms," the group's Facebook page says.
Members of The Empowerment Solidarity Network will attend the City Council's regular meeting Tuesday to voice opposition to VDARE's planned local convention.
If the Cheyenne Mountain Resort allows VDARE to meet here, Loew said, "There will be protests at the resort on those days, and the resort will see a real exercise of the First Amendment."