PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – An ordinance has been introduced in Philadelphia City Council that would allow the local Boy Scouts chapter to buy their landmark headquarters building near the Franklin Institute. But a group of civic leaders remains against what they call a “sweetheart sale” to a group whose national council bans gays.
The sale of the property at 22nd and Winter Streets is intended to settle a federal lawsuit in which the Scouts prevailed and which required the city to pay legal fees.
It’s Councilman Darrell Clarke’s district, and the deal must be approved by Council because it’s a city-owned building.
Clarke says, “The agreement was to allow a portion of that fee to go toward the purchase of the building, which was $1.2 million.”
Technically, the scouts would get the property for $500,000 and would relinquish their right to seek legal fees from the city.
But more than 50 civic leaders, prominent folks who call themselves “Philadelphians Against Subsidized Discrimination,” say the city should not sell at a big discount.
Mayor Nutter says they may be right, but the city lost the case.
“If you don’t have any fiscal liability or responsibility, that’s a different balance. We have that responsibility,” the mayor said.
Duane Perry, a member of the lesbian and gay community who signed the letter, says the city argued in the latest motion that it only owed $268,000 in legal fees. But an attorney for the Scouts says the city was on the legal hook for nearly $1 million.
Reported by Steve Tawa, KYW Newsradio 1060.