PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – There was supposedly an agreement pending between the local Boys Scouts Council and the City of Philadelphia that would have the scouts buy back their city-owned headquarters to resolve a dispute over the Scouts’ national policy on gays.
But that proposed sale must be approved by City Council first, and there are problems.
Councilman Darrell Clarke, in whose district the building sits, is not prepared to introduce an ordinance to make it happen.
While it’s appraised at $1.1 million, the settlement would allow the scouts to buy the landmark building at 22nd and Winter Streets, near the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, for $500,000.
The scouts built the headquarters in the 1920s and gave to the city in exchange for the free lease.
Now, the sale must be approved by Council because the building is now city-owned, and Clarke says it was way too premature to sign off on it.
“There are a lot of details that haven’t been worked out,” he said on Thursday. “I don’t understand why there were premature announcements, because we’re just not there now. We’re not ready to announce a deal.”
One member of a lesbian and gay working group that urged the city to sue the Scouts over the Scouts’ national policy on gays characterized the proposal as selling a “worthy mansion at row house prices.”
But the lawyer for the Scouts says since the Scouts won the court case, the city was on the hook for $1 million in legal fees and, if settled, the city would not have to worry about that liability.
Reported by Steve Tawa, KYW Newsradio 1060.