To Avoid $1 Million Legal Bill, Philadelphia Short Sells City-Owned Building to Boy Scouts of America

After failing to evict the Boy Scouts of America from a city-owned building it had been leasing to the anti-gay group for $1 per year, the City of Philadelphia has reached an alternative agreement with the Scouts: Sell ’em the damn building they want so bad.

Saying the Boy Scouts violated the city’s charter prohibiting sexual orientation discrimination, Philadelphia tried ousting them from their 80-year-old home, which the Scouts received for just $1 annually. Except BSA fought back and convinced a jury casting them out would violate the group’s right to free association. So rather than appeal, Philly is instead going to give the city-owned building to the Cradle of Liberty Council (a regional BSA group) for a cool $500,000.

Only problem? The building is valued at $1.1 million. Then again, the Scouts are going to release the city from its $1 million legal bill, which the city was ordered to pay when they lost at trial.

City officials have an interesting way of looking at the settlement: City Council lawyer Jason Gosselin says, “At the end of the day, the Boy Scouts will be writing a check to the city, rather than the other way around.” Technically true! But it also means the city is out $600,000. “This is a better solution than having to go through an appeals process,” he adds, which could cost more than the $600k. (The City Council must approve the sale, which it’s expected to do Thursday.)

But whatever happened to that clause in the city’s lease that allowed them to end BSA’s rent agreement for any reason? Sounds like that route would’ve cost a whole lot less.