In addition to the approximately $2 million in property that supporters of Lyndon H. LaRouche Jr. own in Loudoun County, they have purchased a 4,500-acre farm in Virginia's rural Pulaski County, 60 miles southwest of Roanoke.
Pulaski County residents have expressed concern that a paramilitary training center might be set up on the mostly wooded property, but a local newspaper and law enforcement officials said there is no evidence of anything but cattle farming.
"If there's anything else besides farming going on there, we don't know about it," said Pulaski County Sheriff Frank Conner.
A partnership called Dan Bar Unlimited bought the property in two sales in 1984 for $1.7 million, according to published reports.
An October 1984 document in the Pulaski County courthouse said that Dan Bar had three partners: general partner Anthony W. (Dan) Murdock of Pulaski, who owns 12.5 percent; Drexel B. Cochran of Longwood, Fla., who also owns 12.5 percent, and Publication Equities Inc., a LaRouche-affiliated company, which owns 75 percent.
The Pulaski County document said that Dan Bar's business, besides real estate and farming, includes "training."
Edward Spannaus -- a top LaRouche associate who is identified in documents filed in a Loudoun County court as Publication Equities' sole director -- said the property is "a farming operation" but declined to comment further. The other two partners could not be reached.
Cochran's wife, Betty Jean Cochran, said her husband is no longer an owner of the property.
According to a 1980 article in the Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel, Cochran is a retired Air Force colonel who held high Pentagon positions involving unconventional warfare in the late 1960s and 1970s. He retired from the military in 1978 and later taught at a counterterrorism school in Powder Springs, Ga., the paper said. Many LaRouche associates were trained there in the use of guns, knives and other weapons in the 1970s, former LaRouche associates and LaRouche specialists said.
In 1984 Murdock said in an interview with The Washington Post that he had retired from the Army as a major in 1975. Last year he was quoted in the Pulaski paper, the Southwest Times, as saying that after he left the military, he worked overseas for the U.S. government in a confidential position in "foreign intelligence."
Murdock told the Pulaski paper that besides the farming, he works as a security consultant for "offshore clients." He added that he planned to install a shooting range on the property and was considering setting up a firearms training course.
In the Post interview, Murdock said that while he did not agree with all of LaRouche's ideas, he found the people "interesting." He said that "they've solicited technical information from me" on "security" matters.