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City’s Sale of Boy Scouts’ HQ Headed For Next Likely Legal Skirmish

By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It appears the long-running controversy over the future of the Boy Scouts’ historic building near the Benjamin Franklin Parkway is back on the front burner.

A pending deal to sell the city-owned landmark headquarters building to the BSA for $500,000 died with the turn of the calendar year, since Philadelphia City Council let the legislation languish without action (see previous story).

The sale of the property at 22nd and Winter Streets was intended to settle a federal lawsuit in which the Scouts prevailed, after gay rights groups complained about the national Boy Scouts’ anti-gay policy.

Now, lawyers for the Cradle of Liberty Council, the Boy Scouts in Philadelphia, have filed court papers indicating both the city and Scouts have agreed that “the settlement process would never be approved by City Council.”

Late in 2010, real estate developer Mel Heifetz, a former Eagle Scout, offered $1 million plus legal fees to buy the building. The city declined.

Now, Heifetz has reentered the picture, according to lawyer Bill Ewing, and he’s willing to sweeten his bid.

“He will increase his offer, up to $2 million, if there’s a bona fide offer higher than his,” Ewing says.

The Heifetz offer includes turning the building over to a nonprofit organization that does not discriminate against gays — including, presumably, the Cradle of Liberty Council if it renounces the national Boy Scouts’ anti-gay policy.

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  • James Smith

    god speed to boys scouts of america. they stand up for what right. filthyness has no place around our young men.

  • Kevin Kerr

    Maybe I’m missing something but if does not seem that selling the property to Mr. Heifetz would get around the lease requirement. If the city is required to lease the property to the Scouts for $1 a year, then the requirement should transfer if they sold the property to a third party. Otherwise, the City could create a corporate entity, sell the property to the corporate entity and then evict the Scouts. Mr. Heifetz would be required to continue leasing the property to the Scouts for $1 a year.


    Unbelievable that the city is still harassing the Scouts. They could have gotten $0.5 million and been off the hook for $1 million in legal fees owed BSA. Thus, the deal was worth $1.5 million. Now, they are still on the hook for $1 million in fees, and BSA still has the right to be there based on the lawsuit.

    The city should spend less time worrying about an organization that saves the city millions of dollars through public service, and concentrate on keeping drug dealing, murdering thugs in jail instead of letting them go free to execute witnesses.

    • Matthew


      Attempting to change a backwards, knuckle-headed, discriminatory policy is not “harassing” anyone.

      If the Scouts were really concerned about “public service” — than they should drop the anti-gay rhetoric. “Public service” means public for everyone — not a select few..

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