Feb 23, 2021
Boy Scouts seek to extend halt to lawsuits vs. local groups
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DOVER, Del. (AP) — Roadblocks are continuing to pop up in the Boy Scouts of America bankruptcy case as the organization tries to finalize a reorganization plan built around a global resolution of thousands of sexual abuse claims by former Boy Scouts.
Attorneys for the youth organization filed a motion on Monday asking a Delaware bankruptcy judge to extend a preliminary injunction that halted lawsuits against local BSA councils and sponsoring organizations during the bankruptcy.
BSA attorneys said the filing was necessary because the official tort claimants committee that represents sexual abuse victims refused to consent to an extension, despite doing so several times in the past.
The current injunction expires March 19. The BSA, which hopes to emerge from bankruptcy this summer, is seeking an extension through July 19.
Attorneys for the BSA argue that maintaining the injunction is critical to restructuring efforts, including enabling local councils and chartered organizations to participate in mediation and, ultimately, make “a substantial contribution” to a settlement and global resolution of abuse claims. Allowing lawsuits against local councils and sponsoring organizations to proceed will make it difficult, if not impossible, for the BSA to both equitably compensate abuse survivors and ensure that the organization can continue to carry out its charitable mission, they contend.
“The TCC is apparently willing to gamble with the fortunes of abuse survivors and the debtors when the stakes are the highest,” BSA attorneys wrote, referring to the tort claimants committee.
An attorney for the committee did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment Tuesday.
Monday’s court filing came just days after the bankruptcy judge heard arguments on a request by insurance companies for permission to serve document requests on 1,400 people who have filed sexual abuse claims and to question scores of them under oath in an effort to determine whether there is widespread fraud in the claims process.
More than 95,000 sexual abuse claims have been filed in the case. Before the bankruptcy filing, the BSA had been named in about 275 lawsuits and told insurers it was aware of another 1,400 claims. The number of lawsuits has more than tripled in the past year to about 860 lawsuits in more than 110 state and federal courts. Roughly 600 were filed after the organization first sought the preliminary injunction.
The Boy Scouts of America, based in Irving, Texas, sought bankruptcy protection last February in an effort to halt hundreds of individual lawsuits and create a compensation fund for men who were molested as youngsters decades ago by scoutmasters or other leaders.
The roughly 250 local councils, which run day-to-day operations for local troops, are not listed as debtors in the bankruptcy and are considered by the Boy Scouts to be legally separate entities, even though they share insurance policies and are considered “related parties” in the bankruptcy case.
Attorneys for abuse victims made it clear from the onset of the bankruptcy that they would go after campsites and other properties and assets owned by councils to contribute to a settlement fund.
But the tort claimants committee has been frustrated with the response by local councils to requests for document production and information on their financial assets. After seeking court permission last year to issue subpoenas for information it claimed was being withheld by the BSA and its local councils, the committee filed a complaint last month challenging BSA’s contention that two-thirds of its listed $1 billion in assets, more than $667 million, are “restricted assets” unavailable for creditors.
More than half of the purportedly restricted assets, $345.4 million, consists of a note receivable from Arrow WV, a nonprofit entity that was formed by the BSA in 2009 and which owns the Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia, home to the National Scout Jamboree. The BSA leases the Summit from Arrow WV and provides the services required for its operation.
The tort committee contends that there is no restriction that could be applied to the Arrow WV note.
The BSA’s purportedly restricted assets also include three “High Adventures Facilities” valued at more than $63 million. They are the Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico, the Northern Tier in Minnesota and the Florida Sea Base. The committee asserts that there are no specific deed restrictions or donor restrictions that preclude the sale of those facilities and use of the proceeds to pay creditors. It also claims that the BSA previously took the position that they were unrestricted.
Attorneys for the BSA noted in Monday’s court filing that the tort claimants committee has received some 327,000 pages of documents regarding local council assets, the nature of restrictions on those assets, and historical transactions.
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Tags: monday’s court preliminary injunction global resolution abuse survivors sexual abuse claims local councils in the bankruptcy bankruptcy judge the organization organizations in an effort to a settlement bankruptcy case abuse victims the committee the committee lawsuits an extension in the past councils
PATEL: Time To Start Talking About Americas Coming Bankruptcy
Did you know America is going bankrupt? Most people don’t. Maybe the saddest part about our country’s state of affairs is that all our vitriol and dysfunction has come at a time when we aren’t even addressing our biggest problems.
It would be one thing if America collectively decided we have to be honest about where we are as a country and we were in the middle of a charged debate about how to fix it. Instead, we are fighting about trivial things while pretty much everyone in the country, on all sides of the political spectrum, has decided our real problems are so bad we may as well ignore them. Have you ever had a friend who’s had some horrible, embarrassing event in their life? The last thing you want to do is mention it. That’s America and our debt problem. It’s so bad that we don’t talk about it anymore.
The closing numbers are displayed after the closing bell of the Dow Industrial Average at the New York Stock Exchange on March 12, 2020 in New York.(Photo by Bryan R. Smith / AFP) (Photo by BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP via Getty Images)
It was a full 10 years ago that we were so focused on our debt that then-President Barack Obama was forced to set up a national commission to deal with it. The bipartisan commission led by former Bill Clinton Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles and former Republican Sen. Alan Simpson came up with a series of recommendations, including tax hikes and reforms to our entitlement programs. They were attacked by both the right and left, and none of the solutions were enacted into law, but at least we were trying.
When the Bowles-Simpson commission was formed, America was about $13 trillion in debt. Today, we owe more than double that, more than $27 trillion. Those numbers are so big nobody understands them. To put it in perspective, our entire economic output in 2020 was $21 trillion. If America could magically not spend a dime — nobody bought anything, including food or other staples — and we put it all toward paying off our federal debt for an entire year, we still wouldn’t pay it off. In more personal terms, our federal debt now amounts to more than $81,000 for every single person in the country, or over $227,000 for the average household in America. (RELATED: PURNELL: Ignoring the National Debt Means Massively Burdening Future Generations)
If the problem is twice as bad as it was 10 years ago, why don’t we even discuss it anymore? It’s as if we are so close to the iceberg that it’s too late to avoid it. Let’s just keep the band playing and enjoy things while we can. It’s all going to be our kids’ problem. This is, of course, a fundamentally anti-American sentiment. The goal of leaving things better for your kids is as American as apple pie. We are certainly not doing that any more.
Our national desire to wish our problems away is so severe that we have even come up with an intellectual framework for it. Modern Monetary Theory, or MMT, is the belief that deficits and debt don’t really matter for a sovereign country that can print its own currency. Need more money? You just keep printing more. It’s like magic. The bill never comes due.
MMT proponents ignore or explain away the downside to the constant printing of money and issuance of debt, including our creditors losing faith and no longer buying our bonds, hyperinflation and the consequences for the dollar as an exchange-traded currency. Despite these huge flaws, it’s amazing the extent to which MMT has caught on as a convenient political excuse to continue ignoring our imminent debt disaster.
What will happen in a debt crisis; why are we ignoring this obvious and impending catastrophe; and what should we do about it?
At some point, as we continue to borrow money, the interest we pay on our debt will be so high we will not be able to afford the rest of our budget. The solution will be to borrow more. As the borrowing binge grows, those buying our bonds will grow worried and demand a higher return. This, in turn, will create a vicious debt cycle, which has already happened in many countries around the world. The result is catastrophic reductions in spending and increases in taxes to try to satisfy creditors to keep the money flowing. The only reason we haven’t seen it yet in America is we are such an economically powerful country that our creditors have not yet lost faith in our ability to pay it off. If that day comes — and unless we make changes, it eventually will — the crisis is going to hurt all Americans.
We are ignoring our looming debt crisis because it’s not a winner politically. Both parties contributed to the problem. The Bush, Obama, Trump and Biden administrations will all be to blame. Republicans, traditionally the party of fiscal responsibility, have lost all credibility on the issue. After shutting down the government over spending under Obama, they spent happily at record levels under Trump.
NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 16: A Wall St. sign next to the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) September 16, 2008 in New York City. U.S. stocks continued to drop Tuesday morning for the second consecutive day, following yesterday’s Dow Jones Industrial Average plunge of 4.4% or 504 points, being the worst single day loss since the terrorist attacks of September 2001.(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
It’s attractive for politicians to keep taxes low and spending high. Each of our last four presidential administrations has benefited from this dynamic. Wall Street and global business, which dominates Washington policymaking, has also benefited greatly. These corporate actors care about their next financial quarter a lot more than our country’s state of affairs 10 or more years down the road. This period will be looked upon by historians as the saddest time in our history: a once-great country behaving so selfishly and with such short-term interests that they sold their children’s futures away with barely any debate. (RELATED: Here’s How To Avoid A Debt Disaster In The Next Decade)
The biggest cop-out in Washington is the presidential commission. It rarely accomplishes anything. Yet our situation is so bad that another bipartisan commission may be our best bet. The commission should include both corporatists and populists. As much of a cop-out as this is, we are not prepared to begin debating real solutions (which will involve some pain). Shining a light back on the problem may be all we can accomplish today. We should start.
Neil Patel co-founded The Daily Caller, one of America’s fastest-growing online news outlets, which regularly breaks news and distributes it to over 15 million monthly readers. Patel also co-founded The Daily Caller News Foundation, a nonprofit news company that trains journalists, produces fact-checks and conducts longer-term investigative reporting. The Daily Caller News Foundation licenses its content free of charge to over 300 news outlets, reaching potentially hundreds of millions of people per month. To find out more about Neil Patel and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators website at www.creators.com
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