BSA Defends Decision to Mortgage Scouting Ranch Amid Sexual Abuse Lawsuits
As waves of personal injury lawsuits flood in against the Boy Scouts of America for child sex abuse, the infamous organization recently decided to mortgage a significant piece of property in BSA history to obtain a line of credit.
Located in New Mexico, the Philmont Scout Ranch has been the stomping ground of millions of Boy Scouts and adventure seekers since the BSA obtained it in 1938. The northeastern property was donated to the BSA by an oilman named Waite Phillips, who used money from his successes in the oil field to develop the ranch. Phillips donated tracs of the ranch to the Boy Scouts in 1938 and 1941, covering over 140.000 acres.
According to Claims Journal, the BSA announced their decision on November 22 and claim they currently have no intention of selling the property. However, they admitted that the ranch will be used as collateral to ease the financial strain from rising financial costs caused by the Scouting child sex abuse litigation.
“In the face of rising insurance costs, it was necessary for the BSA to take some actions earlier this year to address our current financial situation,” the BSA stated. “This included identifying certain properties, including Philmont Scout Ranch, that could be used as collateral …. in order to keep in place an existing line of credit for insurance.”
The Philmont Ranch Committee only recently discovered the BSA’s decision, even though the BSA signed the document to mortgage the property in March. Mark Stinnett, a committee member, condemned the financial choice and the BSA’s lack of tact in informing the committee of their decision.
“I cannot begin to tell you how sorry I am to be the one to break this news to you,” Stinnett dictated through a statement. “The first point of the Scout Law is `A Scout is trustworthy.’ I am distressed beyond words at learning that our leaders apparently have not been.”
Claims Journal reports Stinnett claims the BSA secured “$446 million of debt with J.P. Morgan Chase” by using the ranch as collateral.
Financial Strain in Face of Boy Scouts of America Child Sex Abuse Lawsuits
Across the United States the Boy Scouts of America faces hundreds of lawsuits from former Boy Scouts claiming they were abused by Scouting leaders while involved in BSA programs. Survivors continue come forward in increasing numbers every day, especially with the opening of look back windows in New York, New Jersey, and California, which open more time for previously ineligible sex abuse victims to file claims against their abusers.
The BSA has toyed with the idea of filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy to address the increasing numbers of personal injury claims being filed by Scouting abuse survivors. However, no declarations of bankruptcy have been announced as of yet.
To further acquire more income to face rising insurance costs, the BSA increased their membership fees in October, nearly doubling the youth member fee from $33 to $60. The news shocked and appalled current members of the Boy Scouts, who already started enrolling and registering kids for 2020.