“They are out of business,” said Minnesota Gang Strike Force investigator Dan Michener.
Byron Calvert, 33, who was Panzerfaust’s spokesman and public face, accuses his former business partner, Anthony Pierpont, 38, of having a Hispanic mother.
“I told Anthony that he had no choice but to walk away from (Panzerfaust) before this became public,” Calvert says on a Web site linked from the now-defunct Panzerfaust site.
Pierpont was arrested in his South St. Paul home on Nov. 30 on suspicion of felony possession of a small amount of a substance believed to be cocaine. That incident led to a schism between Pierpont and Calvert.
Calvert, also known as Bryant Cecchini, and several friends stood outside his South St. Paul duplex on Friday afternoon. Other than confirming he is no longer involved with Panzerfaust Records, Calvert refused to answer questions. He also would not talk about the whereabouts of Pierpont, whose case is pending in the Dakota County court system.
“It’s all over,” said Joe Roy, chief investigator for the Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks white supremacist activities across the country. The center’s Web site has posted a copy of Pierpont’s birth certificate, which shows his Mexico-born mother was named Maria Marcola del Prado. Pierpont could not be reached for comment.
Panzerfaust, previously considered the nation’s largest skinhead record label, created controversy in September when Calvert announced plans to distribute 100,000 copies of a “pro-white sampler CD” to teenagers across the country.
Calvert’s plan was to spread Panzerfaust’s anti-ethnic message to teens through music, and the label sold the CDs to supporters at a discounted rate of $15 per 100 copies. In an interview with the St. Paul Pioneer Press at the time, Calvert said, “Our target audience is 50 million white kids who have never heard of us.”
Pierpont’s racial heritage has long been a subject of speculation in white-power circles. The Southern Poverty Law Center’s Web site refers to him as “The Well-Tanned Skinhead,” and reports others within the movement have questioned his race as early as 1995.
Until recently, Calvert adamantly denied the rumors, but now has used the Internet to demand Pierpont “take a DNA test to clear up any doubt. He refuses to do so.” Now that Panzerfaust has closed, other white-supremacy groups will attempt to gain control of a total market estimated by Roy at $1 million per year.
“There will be a scramble for that business,” Roy said. “It’s more than just CDs – it’s T-shirts, belt buckles and other merchandise.” But such infighting is fairly common in the white-supremacist movement. Reading online message boards discussing Panzerfaust’s demise, Roy said, is “like watching a bunch of children calling each other names.”
Knight Ridder correspondent Brian Bonner contributed to this report.