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Camp Richard (Nantucket Island, Mass) being sold to developers

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  • #16
    From a local writer...

    LICKSPITTLE by Robert Barsanti

    The clustered hypocrisy of the Boy Scout Land and Bake Sale has become well known. The Cape Cod and Islands Council of the Boy Scouts of America decided to drop a sweetheart deal into the hands of a developer. They offered thirty acres of Nantucket land for a price not seen since the Ron Reagan was dropping jelly beans on the White House floor. The deal has the hallmarks of Doctor Evil and his finger sucking. At its grossest level, adults who tried to finagle this deal are neither “mentally awake” nor “morally straight.” At its most petty, the deal smacks of ripe stupidity; who sells thirty acres of Nantucket at a tenth of what it is worth. It reeks of Dunkin’ Donuts Duplicity. Boy Scoutmaster Mike Riley and The Donald Trump of Rockland D.J. Mackinnon sat down over a couple of crullers and came up with a wicked good idea.

    Even if you sit on the stool next to them and order your own Mochalatta, you can’t figure out how this works. Did they assume that nobody on conservation loving Nantucket would notice when Laurel and Stan tried to drag thirty acres through a loop hole? Did they think that somehow, in August when the island is collecting checks from the nation’s top 1%, this sale would hide under the 50% off sale at Molly Bloomers? Did they forget the sharp finned realtors sniffing for blood at a huge giveaway? Who thought this was a good idea and do they travel through Wal-Mart on a scooter?

    To blame the stupidity of this situation on those two spittle sprites misses a deeper point. They made slapstick comedy out of a bruised and bleeding tragedy. We can’t let these lackwits walk away with kick me signs and shoelaces tied together. This obscenity has deeper and fouler roots.

    In America, we build these cretin professionals. You need to be a manager or an earner, with a leather chair with lumbar support in your office and a leather binder from Staples. They measure their data, they craft their mission statements, and the collect input from the Board on neon green post-its. You don’t measure your performance in the eyes of Scouts, or projects, or graduates. You measure it in data. So, Boy Scoutmaster Mike has to justify and explain why he makes $100,000 a year. He can’t say that he tells really good ghost stories or can make bowline knots faster than anyone; he has to put his professional goals on crème paper in raised print. He doesn’t build a ropes course or make chili, he “manages.” So, even with a 2.7 million dollar endowment, he needs to build and “manage” it. The Cape Cod and Islands Council doesn’t need the money to pay off some legal judgment or to buy more lanyards; they need it to fluff Scoutmaster Mike’s resume.

    Scoutmaster Mike has taken the oath and has administered it, but may never have figured out what the words mean. None of his actions could be termed “trust worthy, brave, or loyal.” Hard to see how selling this land is doing “his duty to God and country.” My knowledge of modern Christianity is a little thin, but Jesus didn’t say that Atlantic Development will inherit the earth, for pennies on the dollar. Nor can Scoutmaster Mike’s disappearance behind the Big and Tall suits of his lawyers qualify as “brave or trustworthy”. “Lawyer Up” hasn’t become a badge yet.

    Of the oaths Boy Scoutmaster Mike has besmirched, the muck on “loyalty” is particularly thick and ripe. As members of the Boy Scouts, the Nantucket Boy Scout Leaders spent decades building up Camp Richard...for free. They maintained and built the camp over the years, then brought other Boy Scout Troops out here. Then, when they challenged the Dunkin’ Donuts Deal, the Boy Scouts threw them out of the organization, barred from entering and then sued for “fraud and conspiracy.” So, years of volunteer service to young men and the camp get tossed out as “fraud.” There was no meeting, no conversation, and no campfire of the Council. Instead, there were envelopes and lawyers. Thank you for your service, see you in court.

    Scoutmaster Mike and the lickspittles that surround him aren’t just in scouting. You can find them skittering along the darkened rooms of musical groups, athletic teams, and 4-H clubs (they love animal husbandry). The create these three hole punched paper mountains to scale with diarrhea and data; they sit in offices filled with binders and lit by PowerPoints that illuminate the “process” and the “feedback”, but not the kids. Scouts, musicians, athletes, and those future farmers aren’t the center of all activity, but something minor and petty like a river that flows outside the window.

    At its best, the Boy Scouts of America instill character. Character doesn’t define itself well in the dictionary, but it can be seen much more clearly on the playing field, classroom, and at the dinner table. For my sons, character means doing the generous and open in spite of the opinions of others. I want my children to speak the truth, to help others, to work hard, and to consider what’s going to happen seven years from now. And I want my boys to walk that walk during the day and at night.

    So many of the former Boy Scouts I know walk with that same character. They are doctors, lawyers, architects and builders. They are sons, fathers, and husbands. They stand when others will only sit; they speak when others will only mutter; they lead when others will only fade. They show up, line up, and even get punched in the mouth. This is the character the scouts are famous for.

    And that their leaders so sorely lack.


    • ghinson
      ghinson commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks for the salute. It feels like a Mr. Smith like battle. But we're going to win this. For the kids. They deserve it much more than Scoutmaster Mike!

    • packsaddle
      packsaddle commented
      Editing a comment
      That is an outstanding letter. Thanks for posting it. I hope it reflects the general attitude around there and if so, maybe the outcome will be a good one.

    • Scouter99
      Scouter99 commented
      Editing a comment
      I am reminded of spell check.

  • #17
    Here is the full text of the article from the local newspaper, not available online due to paywall:


    Cape Cod council sues island Boy Scout leaders, locks them out of their camp

    Judge orders two sides to mediate while developer eyes property

    By Jason Graziadei

    I&M Staff Writer
    With a developer eyeing the 100-acre Boy Scout campground on Nantucket known as Camp Richard, a feud has erupted be¬tween the Yarmouth-based Cape Cod & Islands Council of the Boy Scouts of America, which intends to sell a portion of the property, and Nantucket’s Boy Scout leaders, who want to protect it.

    After attempting to block the sale of the island campground, a group of Nantucket’s adult volunteer scout leaders were sued by the Cape Cod Council, had their registration with the national Boy Scouts of America organization revoked, and were barred from Camp Richard it-self.

    Over the weekend, the Cape Cod Council went as far as changing the locks at the Camp Richard facilities.

    The legal showdown for con¬trol of the property got under¬way Tuesday afternoon in Barnstable Superior Court, when judge Gary Nickerson de¬nied an emergency motion from the Nantucket Land Council to intervene in the case, and or¬dered both sides to craft an in¬terim plan by Friday that will determine how Camp Richard will be managed and operated while its ownership in dispute.

    The controversy began last month after the Cape Cod Council revealed to Nantucket’s Boy Scout leaders that it had received a $3.5 million offer from Atlantic Development, a Hingham, Mass. company, to purchase 30 acres within Camp Richard, according to Bob Graves, the president of the Nantucket District Committee of the Boy Scouts of America.

    “We have spent thousands of hours and over $200,000 that we raised locally to improve the site so that scouts from all over can enjoy a rural camping expe¬rience, and now they act as though they can just walk in and take over,” Graves said in a statement. “It is outrageous.”

    “We have spent thousands of hours and over $ 200,000 that we raised locally to improve the site so that scouts from all over can enjoy a rural camping experience, and now they act as though they can walk in and take over.

    It is outrageous.” – Bob Graves Pres., Nantucket Boy Scouts

    The 100-acre Camp Richard property was given to the Nantucket District Committee of the Boy Scouts of America by the Nantucket Civic League in a series of deed transfers in 1955, 1971 and 1972. The land was donated with one explicit condition: that if the Nantucket Boy Scouts ever ceased using the property, that ownership would revert back to the Civic League. Those deed restrictions, however, expired after 30 years, as dictated by state law, and were never renewed, leaving the property vulnerable.

    Given that history, Nantucket’s adult Boy Scout leaders voted unanimously to reject the developer’s offer, and in an effort to scuttle the potential sale, they transferred the deed for the Camp Richard property on July 25 from the Nantucket District Committee of the Boy Scouts of America to the island nonprofit that has been running the campground for decades: the Camp Richard Campers Association, Inc. The response from the Cape Cod & Islands Council was swift, and strong. The regional scouting agency filed a lawsuit last week against 10 of Nantucket’s Boy Scout leaders alleging fraud, conspiracy and unjust enrichment. The council’s scout executive, Mike Riley, stated in an affidavit that the deed transfer was invalid, and “essentially amounts to stealing the land.”

    The lawsuit aims to annul or void the deed transfer, and seeks unspecified damages from 10 island Boy Scout leaders, including Bob Graves, Bert Johnson, Tripp Cobb, George Rezendes, Homer Ray, Ralph Hardy, Bill McGuire, Chuck Lenhart, David Murray Jr., and Michael Wilson.

    “It is a well established principle in Scouting that land belongs to the local Council regardless of what may be stated on the instrument transferring the property,” the complaint states. The Camp Richard Campers Association was created by the island’s district leaders nearly four decades ago to provide for the care, maintenance and management of the property. It has essentially the same members and leadership as the Nantucket District Committee of the Boy Scouts of America.

    Ownership, control of Camp Richard a key question in lawsuit In the Cape Cod & Islands Council’s lawsuit, as well as in accompanying affidavits from members of its leadership team, the organization asserted that the Nantucket District Committee had been disbanded and consolidated into the regional council roughly five years ago. As further proof, the lawsuit states that the Camp Richard property was added to the council’s insurance policy.

    As such, the island-based Nantucket District Committee “does not legally exist nor does it have legal authority to act or convey the property in question,” the complaint states.

    But the island’s Boy Scout leaders believe the Nantucket District Committee was never disbanded, and documents verifying its nonprofit status have been filed with the Internal Revenue Service annually, and as recently as June 2012. According to Graves, Riley said as recently as July 9 that the Nantucket District Committee remained an active entity. Its name has remained on the deed for the property for over 40 years.

    Determinations of the ownership and control of Camp Richard, as well as the existence of the Nantucket District Committee as a legal entity, will be the two key points as the case moves forward.

    Cormac Collier, the executive director of the Land Council, which attempted to secure an option to purchase a $1.5 million conservation restriction on Camp Richard last week, weighed in strongly against the Cape Cod & Islands Council’s claim of ownership.

    “They have no record title, and their claims are little short of ridiculous,” Collier said in a statement. “This is a heavyhanded, naked land grab by an off-island organization and developer trying to circumvent the intent of the donors and take the money and run.”

    As recently as early July, the Cape Cod & Islands Council’s own website stated that Camp Richard was “owned and operated by the Nantucket District…” That phrase has since been removed.

    Follows national trend of selling off camping, conservation land The potential sale of the Camp Richard property reflects a national trend in which regional Boy Scout councils have been selling off valuable camping and conservation land into development. In 2009, a nationwide review by Hearst Newspapers found that the Boy Scouts of America had swelled its coffers by tens of millions of dollars from selling campgrounds and other properties.

    Riley, whose annual salary was just over $100,000, according to the group’s IRS filing, as well as Deron Smith, a national spokesman for the Boy Scouts of America, did not return phone calls seeking comment.

    Bob MacGregor, the Cape Cod & Islands Council’s president, also did not return a phone call seeking comment.

    By Wednesday afternoon, nearly 1,000 people had added their names to an online petition circulating on Nantucket that urges the Boy Scouts regional leadership and Atlantic Development to reconsider the potential sale of Camp Richard.

    The petition, started by island resident Greg Hinson, stated, in part, “On Nantucket, land is our most precious resource, and land that is set aside for conservation is our Holy Land! We will not let you desecrate it without a fight.”

    Nantucket attorney Michael Wilson, an Eagle Scout himself who was named in the Council’s complaint, was among those who were stripped of their registration with the Boy Scouts of America and barred from entering Came Richard. Wilson has volunteered as a Cub Scout den leader on the island for several years, and his 8-year-old son is an active scout as well.

    Cape Cod & Islands Council seeking to boost its endowment with sale “It saddens me that I’ve been taken out of scouting and I can’t be a leader anymore,” Wilson said. “It’s a difficult thing to be told you can’t volunteer in a program that you benefitted from so much as a young man. It meant a lot to me to be able to give back, and when my son told me he wanted to be a scout, I was very proud of him.”

    The legal dispute “shouldn’t impact the status of all those guys who have been volunteering for years to keep Camp Richard functioning,” Wilson added.

    The Cape Cod & Islands Council described the offer to acquire a portion of Camp Richard as a “substantial amount of money” in exchange for 30 acres of a “remote and unused portion” of the property.

    “From a financial perspective the sale proceeds will provide a much needed boost to the Scouting program on Cape Cod and the Islands,” said Riley, the council executive, in his affidavit.

    In an earlier letter to Graves, Riley said he envisioned the money from the sale of the property being set aside for three distinct purposes, including an endowment used to support the Cape Cod & Islands Council’s operations; funds for the “care and development” of Camp Richard; and funds directly supporting the scouting units on Nantucket.


    • #18
      part 2...

      According to the Council’s most recent IRS filing, it already has an endowment of more than $2.7 million.

      The island’s Boy Scout leaders suggested that the Council consider a sale to one of Nantucket’s conservation groups instead of a developer, and while it “explored other options,” the Council ultimately continued to negotiate with Atlantic Development.

      In its complaint, the Council asserted that it had reached an agreement with the Nantucket Land Bank for the sale of a conservation restriction on the property, but Land Bank executive director Eric Savetsky disputed that claim on Wednesday, emphasizing there was no agreement.

      The purported developer interested in acquiring a portion of the property, Atlantic Development, has been involved in at least two other real estate deals on Nantucket, including its acquisition of the Craig property next to the Boys & Girls Club off Sparks Avenue. On the mainland, Atlantic Development has been involved with the construction of a Lowes complex in West Bridgewater, a senior housing project in Rockland, and the redevelopment of the Hingham Harbor waterfront. Atlantic Development’s owner, D.J. MacKinnon, did not return several phone calls seeking comment. Geri Davis, MacKinnon’s secretary, said he was traveling out of the country this week.
      On Tuesday afternoon, Barnstable Superior Court judge Gary Nickerson waded into the dispute by denying an emergency motion by the Nantucket Land Council to intervene in the legal battle, and ordered the two sides to negotiate a management and operational plan for the Camp Richard.

      “On Friday afternoon, unless a memorandum of understanding resolves the issues, I’ll deal with who has custody, control and possession of the camp property and the management of the camp going forward,” Nickerson said.

      The judge, not a stranger to Nantucket-related cases, having recently presided over the retrial of convicted murderer Thomas Toolan, indicated his familiarity with the island at the outset of Tuesday’s hearing.

      After hearing a forceful argument by the Cape Cod & Islands Council’s attorney Thomas Perrino for a preliminary injunction, Nickerson looked at him and asked “Did you ever read Bob Mooney’s book ‘The Nantucket Way’?”

      But after a lengthy closed-door discussion among the judge, attorneys and their clients, Nickerson returned to the bench and admonished Bob Graves and Tripp Cobb, two members of the Camp Richard Campers Association, and ordered them to undo a document granting the Nantucket Land Council an option to purchase a $1.5 million conservation restriction on the Camp Richard property.

      The option was signed and recorded Aug. 12, six days after another Superior Court judge had ordered them to refrain from “further conveying, transferring, restricting or otherwise encumbering” the Camp Richard property.

      “I don’t know how or why you signed the document, but I’m going to be very clear: that document is to be wholly and entirely undone by whatever means necessary, no later than noontime on Friday,” Nickerson said. “I consider what you did contemptuous of this court.”

      Camp Richard, a wooded area located between Lovers Lane and Fairgrounds Road, was named for the late Rev. Clayton E. Richard, who died in 2001. Richard, an Eagle Scout, was the minister of the First Congregational Church of Nantucket from 1951 to 1957, and served as the scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 97 during his time on the island. Richard was instrumental in securing the Civic League’s donation of the mid-island land for the Boy Scout campground, and it was subsequently named Camp Richard in his honor.

      Today the campground includes a lodge, obstacle course, orienteering course, a compass course and an Adirondack shelter with four large shelters.

      It has been used by generations of Nantucket children participating in the island’s Boy Scout troop, as well as thousands of visiting Boy Scouts from the mainland who also make use of the campground.

      One of those Scouts, Dr. TJ Lepore, a former island resident who went on to become an Eagle Scout, wrote a strongly worded message to the Cape Cod & Islands Council this week. Lepore, who said he participated in the early cleanup effort at Camp Richard with Bob Graves, urged the council to reconsider its tactics with regard to the property.

      “You can imagine my sadness in learning what the Cape and Islands Council was attempting to do with Camp Richard, a rare refuge on Nantucket where a young kid in scouts can really feel like they are off ‘in the wild,’ without a sight line into a nearby house or within ear shot of a loud party,” Lepore wrote. “To see and read the recent steps you have taken is an affront to much of what scouting stands for. In pursuing legal action you appear to be trying to punish those who watched over that land for the last 30 years, as well as breaking the trust we all had in you, all in the name of making a ‘quick buck’.”

      The executive committee of The Nantucket Civic League convened last week and voted unanimously to reaffirm the intent of the group’s original conveyance of the Camp Richard property to the Boy Scouts. Two of its members, Mary Wawro and her husband, Peter Morrison, attended Tuesday’s court hearing in Barnstable.

      “This is a heavyhanded, naked land grab by an off-island organization and developer trying to circumvent the intent of the donors and take the money and run.” – Cormac Collier Executive director Nantucket Land Council

      “It saddens me that I’ve been taken out of scouting and I can’t be a leader anymore. It’s a difficult thing to be told you can’t volunteer in a program that you benefitted from so much as a young man. ” – Michael Wilson Eagle Scout


      • #19
        Some thoughts, questions:
        - the interim agreement gives the impression that the disputing parties are equal owners. They are not. “It is a well established principle in Scouting that land belongs to the local Council regardless of what may be stated on the instrument transferring the property,” is laughable. Council website needs to be corrected.

        - As a practical matter, only one group (Nantucket) should handle camp reservations.

        - how much money has Council spent on Camp Richard over the past year. ten years? What improvements has Council initiated?

        - Council should be admonished for locking down camp (that they neither own nor control) and expelling scouters.


        - did Council restore all scouter memberships?


        - This Scout Executive should to be fired
        My $0.02,


        • #20
          It is hardly an example of Scouting's values to sell this land, which was protected by a specific easement causing it to revert to its original owner if the land was ever not used for Scouting. Unfortunately that easement was not renewed as it should have been, back in 1991. So there's clear evidence that the land was intended for Scout use.

          Plus, dealing in the land behind the backs of the local Scout leaders is underhanded and dishonorable.

          And the tax records of the Cape Scouts aren't clear about why they needed to spend $400,000 or more; $300,000 over the amount they pay their Executive Director--who's getting paid?

          Many people think there's something fishy about the entire deal. The price is way too low. Here's one local essayist's take on it:


          • #21
            It sadden me to see greed of "Professional Scouter" to overide the good for the youth in the program. The camp was clearly given to the local scouts & district, not the council. It has been them that have maintained itsince it's creation. It has been much inprove through local donations & the labor of local leaders & volunteers. I spent many hours working at the camp, greating off island troops to the camp & helping make their visits enjoyable to the best of my abilities. Lindy Lindstrom would be rolling over in his grave if he knew what was going on.

            Sadly this is not the first time I have seen a Council Executive try to pad his resume. When I was a Lodge Chief for my local OA chapter we agreed to provide labor in a food shack for a Counsel Camporee. It was agreed we would split the profits. The manager invited me & a fw other to join his troop the following week on a deep sea fishing trip. He had figured out expenses & told me what our cut would be. I was standing next to him when a few minutes later the District & Council Exec showed up & he repeated the same figures. Next day I get a call from the Lodge Advisor saying we made an amount over $100 shy of what I was told. He first response was maybe the Exec got the wrong numbers. When I explained I was standing right next to him when he got the figures. He decided to check into it. A short time later he called back & informed me the Lodge had helped purchase a new popcorn machine for the summer camp & that's why our cut was off. I was glad I moved soon there after & didn't have to deal with him. I had a problem working with somebody I don't consider trustworthy. Yet he managed to get promoted a few years later because he built a new Council office.


            • #22
              Originally posted by Basementdweller View Post
              Not exactly sure where it is exactly on fairground rd on the island.....But looking at the google is in the middle of some really big homes and right on the edge of town.
              Congrats, BD, you're famous! Someone linked this thread on the "Save Camp Richard" FB page, and it picked up your avatar as the thumbnail.

              Also, "Save Camp Richard" 429 likes. "Camp Richard" 8 likes. It looks like a really cool camp:
              Last edited by Scouter99; 08-21-2013, 10:11 AM.


              • #23
                too funny.

                Last edited by Basementdweller; 08-26-2013, 08:23 AM. Reason: removed some comments of fraud


                • #24
                  May 2, 2014 update


                  The Nantucket Civic League is now a party to a lawsuit between the Nantucket Committee of the Boy Scouts and the Cape and Islands Council of the Boy Scouts. "The lawsuit regards ownership and use of 100 acres of open land near Rugged Road on Nantucket.

                  The Civic League was allowed to intervene in the suit so that it could assert its claim that the property should be returned to it, if the property ceases to be used by the Boy Scouts as a campground. Founded in 1903, the Civic League is an islandwide, nonprofit community organization representing more than 20 neighborhood associations. It donated the land in question to the local Boy Scouts, beginning with a grant of 30 acres in 1954, and the rest in the early 1970s, but it retained a right to have the land revert to the Civic League if it ceased to be used for Boy Scout purposes."


                  • #25
                    We found out the same thing about our remaining Camp when Council thought about selling it off...It goes Back to the Family Heirs. So we can not sale it. I bet the other Family who donated the Land for our Largest camp we ever had (1200 Acres) had made the Same Clause. We sold it for 1.1 Million. Now it is a Fancy Housing Developement


                    • #26
                      I see double posting is back
                      Last edited by jpstodwftexas; 05-11-2014, 02:42 PM. Reason: Double post


                      • #27
                        Shades of Owasippe ...


                        • #28
                          NANTUCKET CIVIC LEAGUE SERVES

                          NANTUCKET—In the latest development involving the legal battle for ownership of Boy Scout Camp Richard on Nantucket, the Nantucket Civic League has served a motion for summary judgment, asking the Court to rule in its favor without the need for a trial.

                          Lead control and ownership of Camp Richard is being contestedby the Hyannis-based Cape and Islands Boy Scout Council, which wants to sell a substantial portion of the 100-acre Camp Richard to a Boston real estate firm, Atlantic Development. Earlier this year in April, Barnstable Superior Court Judge Gary Nickerson upheld the Civic League’s right to become a party to the lawsuit between the Nantucket Boy Scouts and the Cape and Islands Council.

                          The 111-year-old nonprofit Nantucket Civic League is basing its motion for summary judgment on terms of deeds by which the Civic League donated 100 acres to the Nantucket Boy Scouts, so long as the Civic League would retain a right to have the land revert to Civic League ownership if the property ever ceased to be used for Boy Scout purposes.

                          “We believe the facts and the law are so clear and definitive that no trial is necessary to uphold the Civic League's reversionary rights,” said Mary Wawro, secretary of the Civic League.

                          Members of the Nantucket Boy Scout Committee, who have owned and operated the site for over 40 years, have joined in the Civic League’s motion for summary judgment. The Boy Scout Committee’s and Civic League’s legal defense is being supported by the nonprofit Nantucket Land Council and numerous individual Land Council members who have expressed their displeasure about the Cape and Islands Boy Scout Council’s actions.

                          Robert Graves, a retired colonel in the United States Army and the chair of the Nantucket Boy Scout Committee, said, "The sale and development of a significant portion of Camp Richard would irrevocably change the nature of the Camp and destroy its function as a place where Scouts from all over the country come to experience a unique rural campground."

                          Camp Richard has been declared environmentally sensitive by the Land Council since the land as presently used is essentially protected open space, nestled between the State Forest and land held in conservation by the Nantucket Conservation Foundation. According to Land Council Executive Director Cormac Collier, it constitutes an important wildlife corridor and contiguous open space, together with adjoining open and protected land.

                          "The past and current use by the Nantucket Boy Scouts is in harmony with the interests and values to which the Land Council has been dedicated since our organization was founded 40 years ago,” said Collier. “There is no better use of our time and resources than helping the Civic League and the Boy Scouts in this important legal fight.”

                          “It just shows once again how Nantucket’s people and organizations come together to support each other and their community as a whole,” he added. “It is a part of what makes Nantucket such special place.”


                          • #29
                            Cape Cod and Islands Boy Scout Council.

                            Hope Nantucket wins big time!


                            • #30
                              Thanks for keeping us up-to-date on this.