The founder of the Hands Off HRI campaign has said the “underhand” tactics of his rivals are “morally wrong.”
Karl Deitch was this week locked out of the bank account containing the funds raised to fight the controversial hospital shake-up plans.
Mr Deitch is credited with launching the campaign after the Facebook group he set up to oppose the downgrading of the infirmary rocketed to more than 30,000 members in just a few hours, prompting an official campaign a few weeks later.
Splinter group, Hands Off HRI Official, who say they are the campaign not Mr Deitch, used their two signatories to remove Mr Deitch from the Barclays account that is paying solicitors Irwin Mitchell.
The group says £18,000 of the £40,000 pot is left and has vowed the money will continue to be used to pay for the laywer’s work.
Mr Deitch has said he will not let the unexpected move by the second group harm his campaign, which has recently been bolstered by a new committee including former NHS hospital chief, Mike Ramsden, as chairman.
He said: “They think by doing this they have control when in reality they have none.
“I don’t understand why they took my name off it but the lawyer has confirmed to me that all outstanding invoices are paid.
“The rest of the money won’t last long. Them having control of a bank account that is to pay our lawyers is no use to them.
“We will carry on putting on events and fundraising.”
Natalie Ratcliffe, who is acting as interim secretary of the new group, said their steering committee had agreed the decision to remove Mr Deitch at minuted meeting.
The group is planning to elect a committee at a general meeting in public on April 20.
She said: “Karl has had nothing to do with the finances since last summer so a decision was taken.
“He doesn’t sit on any of our committees so it’s not underhand or morally wrong.
“We’ve approached their side of the campaign three times to try and have some kind of working relationship and three times they’ve refused.
“He has completely disassociated himself from the group so they’ve had to make a decision.”
The splinter group has continued to campaign under the same name, with the same banners and logos as Mr Deitch’s.
Its new Facebook page has gathered 1,500 members compared to almost 44,000 on the original Let’s Save Huddersfield A&E group.
Mr Deitch added: “I don’t think the confusion has helped, but please be reassured we haven’t changed our stance and will fight tooth and nail to keep our hospital intact.
“What has happened is very underhand, and morally wrong, but we will work through the correct channels to get the answers.
“Little hiccups happen, we won’t allow anything to get in the way of our goal.”