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Chapter 11 announced - Part 3 - BSA's Toggle Plan


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6 minutes ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

Agree, we got some good mods. they allow dissent, and only shut down things when things need to either cool down, or a new thread is needed.

Well, I am a bit wrangled about Matt deleting my music video. I'm kidding!! You guys have truly been AMAZING and especially gracious to me when things have gotten heated and sideways. I admire what you do tremendously. Not a job I would want or could do so well!!

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Forums work well in many ways, but it is probably not the best way to discuss the difficult feelings of this bankruptcy while also discussing the impact to child sex abuse survivors.  However, there a

The mental fallout from my abuse was mostly dormant prior to the current lawsuit. It would still torment me in idle moments. Or at night sometimes when I lay in bed trying not to blame myself after so

I would like to not lock the thread but we seem to be in a rut that we need to get out of before any progress can be made. Here are some observations that might help. First, human dignity is the

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11 minutes ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

How can anyone learn  about what is going on if they are editing and censuring it?

They insist only "positive" posts can happen there and that any talk (and I've seen items [Removed] that were clearly not that bad) is "doomsaying" and "speculation", despite several posters who simply linked to BSA bankruptcy documents, so, not speculation.

When the reality hits of camp losses and such, they'll squelch that, too.

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58 minutes ago, CynicalScouter said:

Because someone, somewhere along the line, erred.

I didn't see reason to mention it, but I have caught un-redacted documents that were marked redacted or sealed. I click on things just hoping I can get in. I called it to the attention of the clerk who linked me to the Omni Agent folks. I now have their contact info to go direct when these oopsies pop up. In fairness, they are absolutely mobbed by this case. From what I've learned, that handoff has been the point of communication breakdown. (Hm. I could post another music video on that note. Get it?)

I was referring to the Docket postings. If I missed the point, apologies.

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1 hour ago, CynicalScouter said:

But on the other hand, the mods of the largest BSA subreddit "over there" have all but removed ANY information

I've never even gone to the reddit website. Is the BSA forum (sub reddit, I guess) officially BSA, tightly associated, or is it more like here with a bunch of volunteer moderators? 

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11 minutes ago, MattR said:

I've never even gone to the reddit website. Is the BSA forum (sub reddit, I guess) officially BSA, tightly associated, or is it more like here with a bunch of volunteer moderators? 

Two mods. One was a BSA employee until the layoffs last year. The other's a unit leader. When the DEI draft leaked, several people self-identifying as scout employees/executives flooded in to make it clear these were "Draft" "not official" etc.

So, I suspect BSA corporate is watching it like a hawk, which may explain some of the clampdowns.

Or, the other is that they really just don't want to hear anything negative which their latest "megathread" made clear they don't want. It's all happy talk.

They just want ban-happy last week after the bankruptcy hearing as well and made it very public they had banned people who were "doomsaying."

And when reality sets in, camps get sold, etc. people are going to be real shocked and surprised.

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A lawyer friend forwarded this letter from a survivor to Judge Silverstein. I was very impressed with it. 

TO: Justice Laurie Selber Silverstein
       BSA Bankruptcy Case
       824 Market Street, 6th Floor
       Wilmington, DE 19801
 
REF: Case # SA-18492
 
 
Honorable Judge Silverstein,
 
Ma'am, it has come to my attention that Boy Scout of America (BSA) abuse survivors have been encouraged to reach out to you to let you know how victims, like myself, feel about the direction of this case - and BSA writ large.
 
BACKGROUND
 
In 1994, I, and a few others, spent a summer on BSA camp staff at Camp Avondale in Clinton, LA (Istrouma Area Council), where we were continuously sexually groped and fondled by the camp director - John Morgan. Our merit badge station was in the woods through a maze of trails, and he would come to the station in the evenings for what he called his "stress" relief sessions. These amounted to him talking about sexually explicit activities with women and then lying us on a table an giving sensual massages. For decades, I held the shame and embarrassment inside. For my entire life, after that summer, I have felt the need to protect those that are weaker and cannot protect themselves, which is why I joined the military in 1997, and which is why I ended up spending six (6) combat tours in Afghanistan - forever changing me as a person. Childhood abuse sends the child into downward spiral - not knowing who to trust, not wanting anyone to know the shame of the incident, and having to live a life always feeling like a piece of you has died.
 
I cannot begin to imagine the immense pressure you must be feeling given the magnitude of this case before you. We are not talking about a standard bankruptcy or child abuse case, we are talking about BSA... an institution that is synonymous with the spirit of America. But an American Institution that has profited off the abuse of children as they swept allegations under the rug for fear it would damage the flow of money into their coffers.
 
Before making a decision in how to proceed, I ask that you read the contents of this email and hopefully see that BSA will do anything in its power to protect an empire built on lies, deceit, countless abused children whose innocence was stolen from them. Remember, abusers always "blame the victim" or try to deflect using abstract moral equivalencies, which is exactly what BSA is doing now. It's not about protecting the innocent or making amends with the abuse-survivors, it is about protecting the fortune they have amassed over a century.
 
 
BSA'S SLEIGHT-OF-HAND LEGAL TACTICS
 
On 18 FEB 2020, I was told to reach out to BSA if I had information regarding any knowledge of sexual misconduct of an adult leader. I did just that, but instead of BSA responding, I received correspondence from the “BSA call center” under the “Scouts First BSA team” – who represented themselves as a BSA proxy handing information regarding abuse. After months of waiting for a response, I reached back out to this BSA entity to see if any follow-up was needed and then I was encouraged, by this BSA representative, to submit a claim. My only intent was to get the information to BSA to ensure this predator was no longer associated with the organization – I never wanted to file a “lawsuit claim”. Reluctantly, I agreed to file a claim because I was led to believe, by BSA’s proxy representative, that is was the only way BSA could pursue and investigate the allegation. I thought it was strange that BSA was encouraging people to file clams/lawsuits, but I now understand what they did it. Originally, BSA was claiming it was liable for 1200-1500 abuse claims. After getting tens of thousands of people to "file lawsuits" (near 95,000 the last I heard)... they can overwhelm the system and claim that the claims are fictitious, fabricated, unsubstantiated, or whatever other sleight-of-hand legal tactics their lawyers have concocted.

Case in point, I read an article (https://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/boy-scouts-seek-extend-halt-lawsuits-local-groups-76075359) wherein BSA’s attorneys questioned the legitimacy of the lawsuits they themselves encouraged survivors to file. Even worse, statements like, ““The TCC is apparently willing to gamble with the fortunes of abuse survivors and the debtors when the stakes are the highest.” Fortunes? I’m not sure what that really means, but, to me, this seems like a very big game to BSA. They led people to believe that “filing a claim” was the only way to investigate allegations, and when the survivors filed the claims… they turned around and said there were so many that the claims were most likely fraudulent and filed by people looking for “fortunes”. This is sickening and appalling. I did the right thing by coming forward, and now it feels like I am legal fodder for whatever game BSA is playing in court.

 
BSA'S TRUE FINANCIAL MOTIVES
 
While serving in the military, when learning how to conduct counter-terrorism, the first lesson was to always follow the money.
 
I have attached a few .pdf files to this affidavit that illustrate a few things. Not necessarily financial misconduct, but how BSA hides their wealth, dupes donors (all in the name "of the kids"), and is currently trying to say the 270+ councils across the United States are separate, "autonomous" entities not liable under this case.
 
In the file labeled "2020 Unaudited Financial Statements", BSA is claiming roughly $1,271,477,000 in assets and saying $675M of that has donor restrictions. When you read this financial statement, and who knows what type of accounting tricks they use to draft the numbers, it shows BSA brought in $175M in revenue ($100M in fees alone). BSA is further reporting they expended nearly $108M in salaries and benefits, which means they spent nearly 62% of all the revenue they generated in 2020, on salaries and benefits for themselves. Given that most of the money was spent on salaries to manage, dupe donors with fundraisers, and promote camps/activities most scouting families cannot afford to attend, at what point is BSA spending money on the scouts? BSA is reporting they expended $19.5M on executive salaries and fundraising salaries (plus benefits), which equates to 11% of all the revenue they generated in 2020. Of course, this is just for BSA National; all 270+ Councils have their own financial statements that are separate.
 
I urge you to really consider BSA's claim of financial hardship before making a decision. There are unfathomable numbers of scouts that cannot afford proper camping gear, they cannot afford to attend BSA camps (that serve industrialized garbage-grade food), and countless scouting units are closing because councils and district executives are more concerned about fleecing donors “for the kids" so they can fill their pockets and sit comfortable at fat-feast dining tables. BSA is morally-bankrupt and only cares about the money it can generate through fees and lied-to donors; BSA DOES NOT SPEND MONEY ON SCOUTS OR ADULT SCOUTERS. It is sickening that the Chief Scout Executive of BSA earns a salary of $1,577,600 per year (plus benefits), which means he is taking nearly 1.2% of the $175M in revenue for himself. BSA is claiming they cannot afford to pay victims, but their executives can pay themselves small fortunes.
 
Let us look at a few facts and use one council as example of the game they are playing so they can continue to exploit kids for financial gain. (*see the three other  documents attached to this message):
 
  • 2018 Form 990 (Filed with IRS)
  • 2018 Annual Report (given to parents and donors)
  • 2018 Actuals (budget given to board members)

Mid-America provides three (3) different sets of numbers. What they tell their board members in the budget, what they tell parents and donors in terms of how money is spent on the kids, and what they report to the IRS. There is no transparency, and you can never get a straight answer from anyone within corporate BSA because if the word got out how they are exploiting youth to line their pockets, parents and donors would be furious. For the purpose of making a case, I will cite numbers from the 2020 Budget, which provides "actuals" from the previous years.

The primary goal for BSA and councils is to generate more revenue streams to increase their ability to expand their corporate salaries. If you look at the three (3) financial documents, you can extrapolate that this particular council spends approximately 60% of its generated revenue on corporate salaries. Note that nearly 45% of its income derives from donor/fundraising campaigns and product (popcorn) sales. When looking at the expenses, they really only spend 9.6% of their budget on camping and other activities. Meaning, they beg for money from donors and have little kids pander their popcorn on the streets. Here are the facts:

 

  • Fact # 1: There are 4991 volunteers listed on this council's 2018 Form 990. These volunteers have to pay membership fees, training fees, camping fees, and other fees. They have to pay for everything, and they do 99% of the work with the youth. They runs camps, they run activities, they run events, they run projects, they run units, and just about anything you can think of is actually run by volunteers who have to pay for everything they do in the BSA program.

 

  • Fact # 2: In 2018, 60% of the budget went to pay for salaries. Councils tells parents and donors 85-90% of their budgets go towards their youth programs, but it is simply lies they tell people. In 2018, this council spent $3.15M on salaries and benefits for its 40+ core corporate employees at its headquarters in Omaha, and only spent $161,000 on the salaries of its 170+ summer-camp employees, which handles the entire youth summer program at their summer camps. It listed 218 employees on its Form 990, which means the salaries of about 48 staff members consumed nearly 58% of the $5.3M in revenue brought in by the council. How does that benefit "the kids"? Again, looking at the numbers, only about 9.6% of the budget is spent on camping activities, the rest is spent on fundraising and generating money from donors.

 

  • Fact # 3: The “Big Lie” they tell donors and parents during their "Investment in Character Campaigns" (ICC) or other Friends of Scouting fundraisers, is that the money goes to pay for “the program”. When talking to BSA, they always use ambiguous terms like "program" or "youth activities" so they can illustrate something grand they are delivering to youth. This is a lie. Scouts pay for everything. They pay for national membership fees, event fees, training fees, camping fees, and unit fees before they even get into the costs of buying uniforms, camping gear, and other items needed to participate in scouting. When scouts sell popcorn, they get a small commission, but it generally only covers national and council fees/events; it does not cover the costs of where 90% scouting actually happens, which is at the troop or pack level with volunteers and parents (that is the real “program”). BSA national and councils constantly say they exist "for the kids", but the kids (and their families) pay fees for everything councils and districts have on their programs. All of these costs are compounded by the fact that volunteers do 99% of the work at the district events, and a good majority of the council events (and volunteers have to pay BSA to attend these events). So where do all these fees go? What are they paying for? Councils are simply professional fundraisers who exploit youth under the guise of the "scouting" name. These professional beggars at the council and the districts use the good name of scouting and the hard work of volunteers to solicit donations from high-end donors who don't realize those funds do not directly benefit the youth - in fact, they do not benefit the youth at all. Councils could reduce their staff to zero and most unit leaders would barely even notice - that's how much councils "do for scouts".

 

  • Fact # 4: Of the approximate $5.3M in revenue generated by this council in 2018, its council executive was paid almost $227K between salary and other compensation. This is ridiculous if you think about it. 7.2% of the $3.15M salary budget goes to one person. That's disgusting to think about. His salary is about four (4) times the average median household income for Nebraska families, yet he is perfectly fine with asking scout families to pay more than they are already paying to participate in scouting. These are lower income families, a majority of which are in rural areas, and he is perfectly fine with forcing them to pay more money so he can maintain his high salary and that of his professional fundraising-staff. That is just disgusting to think about. There are four (4) regions consisting of 272 councils. If we add up all those high-end salaries, to include the insanely high corporate salaries at national - like the $1.5M a year salary for BSA's CEO, it would most likely account for half the revenue brought in by scouting (maybe more, you can never get a straight answer from corporate scouters). That is sickening to think about. They use little kids to sell their product (popcorn) and use hundreds of thousands of volunteers (maybe more) to do 99% of the work, so why do they need to pay themselves so much money? It seems like a self-licking ice cream cone that only exists for the sake of generating revenue for paid scouters to fund-raise to benefit themselves. Some of these low-income families can barely afford the annual registration fees, and often the units (troops and packs) are stuck trying to figure out how to get gear for the kids/families that can’t afford proper gear for camping. This about how backwards that is. These professional beggars pay themselves ridiculous salaries, tell donors their mission “is for the kids”, but (after paying thousands and thousands of dollars to register with BSA)… the troops and packs have to figure out how to get money so little kids can go camping.

 

  • Fact # 5: In 2019, National raised its membership fee from $33 to $60 per year (in 2020, that membership fee went to $126, which includes a new “council program fee”); they essentially doubled their fees to pay for an increase in insurance costs and lawsuits (the latter is true regardless of the lies they tell everyone). Some councils, like Mid-America Councils, are hiding the fact that 60% of the revenue generated by (or for) "the kids" is paid to staff members to go out and solicit more money so they can keep paying themselves more-and-more money. It's a scam that exploits kids.

 

  • Fact # 6: A lot of council camps are in complete shambles because the councils spend little money on upkeep - let alone improvements. They charge hundreds-and-hundreds of dollars to scouts and leaders to attend summer camp, but then they claim they lose money on camps. This is yet another lie they tell parents and donors. If you look at the 2020 budget, you will see they generate positive net income from their summer programs, so why do they say they lose money on camps? It's because they constantly tell donors they need money for "upkeep or improvements", but use very little of the ICC/FoS money to actually make improvements or repairs, and they use that money to expand their staff and get another professional beggar out on the street to pull on the heart-strings of people to “give more money for the kids”.
 

THE CHAPTER 11 FARCE

This Chapter 11 tactic needs to be exposed for the farce and a sham it is. Every council around the nation operates like the council I've identified above. Furthermore, they are briefing parents and volunteers that national BSA is going through Chapter 11 to limit exposure to "independently operated councils, which is another lie. National has a fleet of lawyers and can slow-role this as councils, which fall under the absolute control of BSA, shuffle around their assets and insulate themselves from the fallout. These councils have already turned over their insurance policies to National BSA, and have used funds from their fortune-size endowments (usually in the tens-of-millions of dollars) to put towards BSA's bankruptcy and lawsuits. They are setup as "independent" on paper, but they are not independent by any stretch of the word.

 
As far as claims of "financial destitution", National BSA hosted the 2019 World Jamboree at Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia. 50-60 thousand people were there from around the world, and each paid, on average, 4-5 thousand to be there. It probably made $120,000,000 just in fees off that one event. It can claim the money was spent on the program, but that is a lie. 95% of the work was done by volunteers, who had to pay thousands of dollars to attend and work there. I don't know anywhere in the world where workers are forced to pay to be able to work. Again, BSA is exploiting the good name of scouting to make hundreds of millions of dollars. These were just attendance fees. There were other fees scouts had to pay just to participate in certain activities at this Jamboree, and then there was merchandise sales. I am not an accountant, but their 2019 financial statement does not seem to add up based on this one event alone. It is most likely because they create subsiderary companies/corporations for events like this, which look like seperate companies on paper (just like the councils), but I am sure if you pierced the corporate veil, it would show how everything actually operates under the corporate umbrella of BSA.
 

Moreover, you can also see how it was posturing for this chapter 11. It made a fortune off the world jamboree at Bechtel, yet it took out a mortgage on Philmont in New Mexico to make "much needed improvements"? https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/nation/2019/11/22/boy-scouts-mortgage-new-mexico-philmont-scout-ranch/40689885/

 

This too is a lie. To put this into perspective... Philmont is like "Camelot" in terms of name recognition for BSA scouts. It is the "holiest of holiest" places. Even scouts from around the world attend. There is a lot of anger and animosity because corporate mortgaged Philmont without getting approval from its board. A move that infuriated board members because they say it goes against the stipulations of the donation of the land from the original owners. BSA did this without telling anyone because now it is mortgaged... meaning, until that note is paid... it is owned by a bank, so it is safe from any asset seizure. Of course, they can also argue now that Bechtel is "in shambles" and not worth very much money, thus reducing their net worth.

 

THE BSA PONZI SCHEME
 

As I said, BSA needs to be exposed. So much of the public unconditionally supports scouts, but that is because they do not understand just how evil the corporate side really is. BSA does not care about the kids... it exploits them. BSA has kids, especially the very young Cub Scouts, pander popcorn and camp cards on the streets, but very little of that money goes back to the camps or programs. Again, there are 272 councils around the country who are "independent" but they all operate in the same capacity. They also have to pay 80-100 thousand dollars a year to national for charter fees, this is in addition to the $60 each scout has to pay. If we do simple math, each council pays $100K to national, which is $27M a year national collects in council recharter fees alone. Next, if there are 2 million scouts, and each paid $60... that is $120M just in "membership fees". So, on average, it collects roughly $150M a year just on fees. It then charges scouts thousands upon thousands of dollars to use its four properties (Philmont, Bechtel, Sea Base, and Northern Tier). Councils operate the same way. They charge scouts membership fees, in addition to the national fees, but all that gets scouts is just the ability to say they are scouts. They still have to pay tons of fees for any event they attend (summer camps, Jubilees, Jamborees, day camps, camporees, etc.) Moreover, if a unit wants to use a council camp for a weekend campout, councils will charge that unit an atronomical rate. As an example, Mid-America council will charge units $1500-$2000 a weekend to use camps that are poorly maintained and in shambles.

 

This scam works because of Charter Organizations (churches, Legions, VFWs, and other sponsoring organizations). They charter a unit, a troop or a pack, and then they get parents to volunteer to be leaders. Those volunteers then have to pay council-level and national fees to complete mandatory training. Again, their lies are absolutely sickeing. Volunteers have to pay for their mandatory in-person training, and other volunteers (seasoned scout leaders) coordinate and teach 99.9% of those trainings, which they have to pay to teach. It is nothing more than a Ponzi scheme. Councils and national BSA make money off the training that volunteers perform. These charter organizations truly want to have youth programs that benefit the kids, but they simply are not aware of just how much scouts have to pay to councils and national.

 
Councils are made up of districts whole focus, outside of fundraising, is getting new charter organizations to sponsor a scout pack or troop. Why? Because that increases membership, which is more fees they can collect. The problem is that councils and districts set up these units, collect fees, but then do not care how run-ragged the volunteers get from selling popcorn and other "products". It drives volunteers to the brink of nervous breakdowns. But councils do not care. If a unit folds, they have more in the pipeline ready to be chartered by an organization. The last part of the Ponzi scheme includes the donors and deluge of fundraisers, which generates vast amounts of wealth for BSA because they use the allure of nostolgic "Americana" to market their organization to ususpecting people and corporations with deep pockets. It is sickening how they do things and how they use volunteers and kids to make money for themselves. This is how so many pedophiles were able to operate with impunity in BSA for all of those years. BSA only cares about the revenue stream for its executives.

 

THE SLIEGHT-OF-HAND PARADIGM OF "INDEPENDENT" COUNCILS

 

Councils are structured like independent "franchises" under BSA National, but they do not get to operation autonomously. They have to follow every policy and procedure national tells them to do. Also, recently, all councils have been required to sign over their insurance policies to BSA National, which shows just how "independent" they really aren't. They were also forced to take money from their endownments to help pay for the bankruptcy and lawsuits.

 

Councils are staffed by a president/CEO and other paid professionals. These professionals run the store where scouts have to buy their uniforms, merit badges, patches, and everything else. Scouts do not get anything for free. These professionals are given titles like "camping program director" or whatever title needs to be made up. They all handle the "business side" of the franchises. But, here is how National BSA and councils run their scams.

 

Councils are broken up into districts, and those districts are run by a paid professional called a District Executive whose sole purpose is to set up new units, increase membership, fundraise, and seek out donations from deep-pocketed donors "to help the kids". These districts have two volunteers in charge: the District Commissioner and the District Chair; they are responsible for all of the units (Packs and Troops) within their districts. Again, 99.999% of all scouting happens at the Unit level by volunteers (remember, all volunteers have to pay to register with National BSA and their councils, they have to pay to become trained, they have to pay to attend council/district events, and they have to pay for everything at the unit level - scouts get nothing for free). At times, these volunteers pay out of pocket so low-income kids can participate in the scouting program (whether that is to pay for event fees or buy equipment their families can’t afford).

 

Those volunteers arrange meetings and activities for the scouts, and they have to pay their councils 30% of any fundraising they do to pay for the right to use the "BSA Logo"; if a unit conducts a fundraiser without paying this "use fee", councils have their legal teams go after that unit. In addition, councils have units sell popcorn and camp cards to raise money to pay for activities at the district and council level (camporees, jubilees, day camps, summer camps, etc.) But, units generally get 30% of the "profits" councils make on popcorn and camp card sales. As an example, if a scout sells $1000 in popcorn, $750 most likely goes to pay Trails End for the popcorn and advertising, $175 goes to the Council and $75 goes to the "unit account" at council, which can only be used to pay for council and district programs, activities, and events. They cannot use it to buy things like tents, sleeping bags, unit campouts, or anything else the unit may do. It’s like the “company stores” that used to make their employees rent tools, pay for housing, and other fees to be able to “work at the company” and then most of the workers ended up in debt to the “company” and working for free. I’m glad this was outlawed years ago, but it is rampant in organizations like the BSA.

 

Next, there is the annual re-charter, which costs about $126 per scout/adult scouter. $66 goes to national and $60 goes to the councils. There are other fees and different levels, but that is the majority of what most scouts have to pay (adults are about half). A unit with 50 scouts and 25 adult volunteers would pay about $7900 per year to re-charter. This fee, which is carved up by the councils and National BSA, only covers annual fees just to be in the scouting program. Nothing actually goes to the scouts or benefits them in any way. After that enormous fee, scouts and volunteers have to figure out how to raise money to actually pay for the scouts to do things and to purchase rank badges, books, patches, and other items required by National BSA, as well as pay for things like council summer camps/day camps and district activities/camps (remember, councils also get 30% of these fundraising events as well). Generally, this forces units to charge scouts annual/monthly dues, charge scouts for monthly campouts, charge scouts for unit activities, and charge scouts for pretty much anything they do. Of course, this is in addition to what scouts have to pay when they attend a council/district camp or activity. To put this into perspective, here is an average cost for a scouting year (per scout).

  • $126 (annual membership)
  • $200-$300 (annual troop dues to pay for patches, rank items, and other BSA mandated items)
  • $240-$300 per year for unit campouts
  • $350-$450 per year to attend a Council Summer camp (varies by Council)
  • $2500-$3500 per BSA High Adventure (Philmont, Sea Base, Bechtel, Norther Tier) *this is just the cost for admission and doesn't cover travel costs to get there, activities at those events, or extra "add-ons".
  • $250 per year for misc. things like Order of the Arrow, NBZ, Mic-O-Say, and other BSA sanctioned events.

 

Needless to say, scouting can get expensive. But, after all those fees are paid... districts and councils runs an annual Investment in Character Campaigns (ICC) and/or "Friends of Scouting" wherein their paid professionals go to unit meetings and solicit more donations from families - the money goes directly to councils. They lie to families and tell them it pays for "the scouting program", but it doesn't. When scouts want to go to summer camp, high adventure, or anything... they have to pay for it. As a farce, councils lie and tell people the popcorn and camp cards pay for summer camps and such, but scouts have to sell an enormous amount of popcorn to get a small percent that goes towards these ridiculous and constant fees.  Councils lie and say these ICC donations pay for the scouting program, but, in reality, it goes into their general operating funds to pay for the salaries of the people that work for each council (most of which engage in fundraising). Additionally, councils will run "Friends of Scouting" fundraisers (some call it different names) which are fundraiser dinners and luncheons wherein deep-pocket donors pay to attend the event. At those events, councils will shamelessly get scouts in uniform to talk about their "great experiences" to get these donors to give large sums of money. Again, this money does not go to pay for anything for scouts... it goes into the council's general operating account. Scouts still have to pay all of their fees for membership and activities.

 

Next, councils have large camps and large endowment funds. As an example, a council may have a camp worth millions of dollars and they may have endowment funds worth tens of millions of dollars. But, scouts have to pay fees every time they step foot on any council camp. Councils lie and say those fees go to pay for upkeep, utilities, and other things, but a lot of camps are in shambles because the councils never put money into them. If we look at a typical summer camp, the average fee is $350-$400 per scout to attend a 5-day camp (this does not cover any travel costs to get to that camp). The camps are staffed with seasonal camp staff that get paid ridiculously low salaries, and some of the younger staff that are scouts do not get paid at all (these are Counselors in Training). Most of the time, these staff members are even required to purchase their own supplies and equipment to run their programs. In really bad camps, the medics have to purchase their own first aid and medical supplies. In summation, councils charge incredible fees to scouts, but put very little back into the programs. A lot of the money councils generate is to pay to hire new "scout professionals" whose sole focus is to fundraise and solicit donations. On the books, the councils can claim loses while their bank accounts steadily increase.

 

The last aspect of the sham is how scouts are able to meet. A scouting unit has to have a Charter Organization (i.e. American Legions, VFWs, churches, schools, rotaries, auxiliaries, PTAs, etc). Those organizations have to provide scouts a place to meet, but nothing more. Scout units are responsible to pay their re-charter fees, pay for their programs, buy equipment, and everything else. And, at the end of the day, all money raised by the unit or equipment they purchase, belongs to the Charter Organization - not the units themselves. This is how councils limit their liability and increase their profits. Scouts are literally charged fees left and right for everything they do, and councils rake in incredible donations under the guise of "it's for the kids", but Charter Organization bear all the responsibility of providing places for the scouts to meet.

 

BSA is engaging in the most elaborate and legally intricate Ponzi Scheme ever created. They've created a franchise-style legal structure to limit their liability while being able to dupe donors into giving incredibly large donations so they can hire more people to fundraise to pay for their high executive salaries. It is absolutely sickening and needs to stop. BSA is exploiting kids. On paper, BSA can legally claim councils are separate entities, but they aren't. It's like the McDonald's Corporation. While there may be "independent franchisees", McDonald's owns the land they sit on and everything from burgers to napkins has to be purchased from the McDonald's Corporation. If a franchisee doesn't do what McDonald's tells them to do, McDonald's vacates them from the land and gets another franchisee in there. It's the same way for BSA and the councils under their umbrella. They have to do everything BSA National tells them to do or the lose their council charter and BSA will put a new council in its place. It's such a fraud. It's like companies that hire people as 1099 contractors to avoid paying taxes on a W2 employee. While it may not be illegal, it is a slimy practice.

 

CLOSING
 
Baden Powell, the founder of world scouting, had a vision, and that vision is shared with 50,000,000 scouts around the world. BSA is not scouting. It offers nothing to scouts other than a financial burden to pay one fee after another; this has nothing to do with scouting. Real scouting takes place in the troops and the packs (at the unit level). This is where parents coordinate campouts, community activities, and 99% of what scouts actually do. These leaders are just parents that get raked over the coals like everyone else, so they have to look for ways to do scouting adventures for as cheap as they can because they know families are burdened with paying so many fees up to councils and national. This is why scouting membership is declining so rapidly. It had nothing to do with policies or letting girls in. Girls have been in scouting for 40+ years (venturing and explorers). The decline is due to the fact that every time scouts turn around they are being metaphorically raped by council and national fees. Every time they turn around they are being asked to sell popcorn and camp cards, or donate money to ICC and "friends of scouting" campaigns, pay for camps, pay for events, pay for uniforms, pay for training, and pay for everything they do in BSA.
 

The Boy Scouts of America National Headquarters and local councils have all reached a point that their existence and primary functions have the sole function of self-preservation and self-expansion - meaning, they only contribute a small percentage of their money to youth programs, but that is so they can have information to print on fundraiser data sheets for donors. Their mission is to make money so they can continue to solicit money from donors and sell their product (kids selling popcorn like street urchins in old England).

 

In the end, BSA told me to come forward and report what happened to me when I was a kid. I did, but now it feels like they are simply using all of us that came forward to make the case of “rampant fraudulent claims” so they can side-step these lawsuits and get back to making money off the youth they exploit. Instead of granting BSA the ability to "get back to business as usual", councils need to be compelled to audits by third-party organization to show just how much money they are making versus how little they are spending on the scouts and "the program". I am not an accountant or financial analyst of any kind, but… from what I can see, this should make everyone sick from what they are doing. If councils are compelled to “open up their books” and really show where all of the money goes, it would make everyone scout family and donor leave BSA.

 

Before that summer camp that the abuse happened, scouting shaped my outlook on life, which is why I felt so ashamed (for the longest time) to call myself a scout when the allegations started coming out. I didn’t want the stigma of being labeled or judged. Admittedly, I got back into scouting to give a great experience to my own kids because my experience was stolen from me by a sick and twisted camp director. But, the more I found out about “new BSA scouting”, the more-and-more I see it for the vulture organization it is. This always comes down to money for BSA, as evidenced by their legal statement in court “gambling with the fortunes of abuse survivors”, when they know for a fact that they have accumulated over a billion dollars’ worth of assets off the backs of little kids the adult volunteers that make scouting possible. Without a doubt, there were predators in scouting,  and BSA shieled that information from law enforcement and the public because it threatened the reputation they were using to build an empire and amass their own fortune.  Scouting (across the world) is a great idea if organizations like BSA weren’t always looking for a way to make financial gains by using youth to pull on the heart-strings of would-be donors and benefactors. BSA needs to go away – we need a new “scouting program” in the United States. One that isn’t built off of lies, deceitful practices of exploitating of children, and hiding sick pedophiles in its ranks.

 

I am still in scouts today to protect youth from vultures like BSA and their subsidiaries (“councils”). I have been terrified to come forward because if BSA and its lawyers found out my name, they would come directly after me (a victim of childhood abuse in scouting) because I am threatening their empire of deceit and child abuse. Like my time in the military trained me to do... I followed the money trail and it led me down a path to discover a vast fortune of legal intricacies to protect an empire that preys on children.

 
Ma'am, with all that is good and holy in this world, I urger you to not give BSA a pass and hold them responsible for the evil, corrupt organization they are. Follow the money trail; conduct a true audit of BSA, all of its councils, and all of its other subsidiary organizations.
 
BSA does not represent the values of scouting. I was asked to share "how I felt" about BSA, and, without any equivocation, it is my hope they are forced into dissolution. It is my hope that you have the fortitude to end this morally-bankrupt organization so we, the abused childhood-victims, can start to make a better future that doesn't include BSA.
 
I will absolutely stand behind this affidavit in court if asked to do so. I pray this letter helps sway your decision in the favor of the abused-victims, and not so that BSA can maintain its Ponzi Scheme organization that has amassed a vast fortune over a century by covering for the evil pedophiles in its ranks.
 
Very respectfully,
 
- All 95,000+ Victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse in the Boys Scouts of America
 
Edited by elitts
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3 hours ago, Muttsy said:

A lawyer friend forwarded this letter from a survivor to Judge Silverstein. I was very impressed with it. 

TO: Justice Laurie Selber Silverstein
       BSA Bankruptcy Case
       824 Market Street, 6th Floor
       Wilmington, DE 19801
 
REF: Case # SA-18492
 
 
Honorable Judge Silverstein,
 
Ma'am, it has come to my attention that Boy Scout of America (BSA) abuse survivors have been encouraged to reach out to you to let you know how victims, like myself, feel about the direction of this case - and BSA writ large.
 
BACKGROUND
 
In 1994, I, and a few others, spent a summer on BSA camp staff at Camp Avondale in Clinton, LA (Istrouma Area Council), where we were continuously sexually groped and fondled by the camp director - John Morgan. Our merit badge station was in the woods through a maze of trails, and he would come to the station in the evenings for what he called his "stress" relief sessions. These amounted to him talking about sexually explicit activities with women and then lying us on a table an giving sensual massages. For decades, I held the shame and embarrassment inside. For my entire life, after that summer, I have felt the need to protect those that are weaker and cannot protect themselves, which is why I joined the military in 1997, and which is why I ended up spending six (6) combat tours in Afghanistan - forever changing me as a person. Childhood abuse sends the child into downward spiral - not knowing who to trust, not wanting anyone to know the shame of the incident, and having to live a life always feeling like a piece of you has died.
 
I cannot begin to imagine the immense pressure you must be feeling given the magnitude of this case before you. We are not talking about a standard bankruptcy or child abuse case, we are talking about BSA... an institution that is synonymous with the spirit of America. But an American Institution that has profited off the abuse of children as they swept allegations under the rug for fear it would damage the flow of money into their coffers.
 
Before making a decision in how to proceed, I ask that you read the contents of this email and hopefully see that BSA will do anything in its power to protect an empire built on lies, deceit, countless abused children whose innocence was stolen from them. Remember, abusers always "blame the victim" or try to deflect using abstract moral equivalencies, which is exactly what BSA is doing now. It's not about protecting the innocent or making amends with the abuse-survivors, it is about protecting the fortune they have amassed over a century.
 
 
BSA'S SLEIGHT-OF-HAND LEGAL TACTICS
 
On 18 FEB 2020, I was told to reach out to BSA if I had information regarding any knowledge of sexual misconduct of an adult leader. I did just that, but instead of BSA responding, I received correspondence from the “BSA call center” under the “Scouts First BSA team” – who represented themselves as a BSA proxy handing information regarding abuse. After months of waiting for a response, I reached back out to this BSA entity to see if any follow-up was needed and then I was encouraged, by this BSA representative, to submit a claim. My only intent was to get the information to BSA to ensure this predator was no longer associated with the organization – I never wanted to file a “lawsuit claim”. Reluctantly, I agreed to file a claim because I was led to believe, by BSA’s proxy representative, that is was the only way BSA could pursue and investigate the allegation. I thought it was strange that BSA was encouraging people to file clams/lawsuits, but I now understand what they did it. Originally, BSA was claiming it was liable for 1200-1500 abuse claims. After getting tens of thousands of people to "file lawsuits" (near 95,000 the last I heard)... they can overwhelm the system and claim that the claims are fictitious, fabricated, unsubstantiated, or whatever other sleight-of-hand legal tactics their lawyers have concocted.

Case in point, I read an article (https://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/boy-scouts-seek-extend-halt-lawsuits-local-groups-76075359) wherein BSA’s attorneys questioned the legitimacy of the lawsuits they themselves encouraged survivors to file. Even worse, statements like, ““The TCC is apparently willing to gamble with the fortunes of abuse survivors and the debtors when the stakes are the highest.” Fortunes? I’m not sure what that really means, but, to me, this seems like a very big game to BSA. They led people to believe that “filing a claim” was the only way to investigate allegations, and when the survivors filed the claims… they turned around and said there were so many that the claims were most likely fraudulent and filed by people looking for “fortunes”. This is sickening and appalling. I did the right thing by coming forward, and now it feels like I am legal fodder for whatever game BSA is playing in court.

 
BSA'S TRUE FINANCIAL MOTIVES
 
While serving in the military, when learning how to conduct counter-terrorism, the first lesson was to always follow the money.
 
I have attached a few .pdf files to this affidavit that illustrate a few things. Not necessarily financial misconduct, but how BSA hides their wealth, dupes donors (all in the name "of the kids"), and is currently trying to say the 270+ councils across the United States are separate, "autonomous" entities not liable under this case.
 
In the file labeled "2020 Unaudited Financial Statements", BSA is claiming roughly $1,271,477,000 in assets and saying $675M of that has donor restrictions. When you read this financial statement, and who knows what type of accounting tricks they use to draft the numbers, it shows BSA brought in $175M in revenue ($100M in fees alone). BSA is further reporting they expended nearly $108M in salaries and benefits, which means they spent nearly 62% of all the revenue they generated in 2020, on salaries and benefits for themselves. Given that most of the money was spent on salaries to manage, dupe donors with fundraisers, and promote camps/activities most scouting families cannot afford to attend, at what point is BSA spending money on the scouts? BSA is reporting they expended $19.5M on executive salaries and fundraising salaries (plus benefits), which equates to 11% of all the revenue they generated in 2020. Of course, this is just for BSA National; all 270+ Councils have their own financial statements that are separate.
 
I urge you to really consider BSA's claim of financial hardship before making a decision. There are unfathomable numbers of scouts that cannot afford proper camping gear, they cannot afford to attend BSA camps (that serve industrialized garbage-grade food), and countless scouting units are closing because councils and district executives are more concerned about fleecing donors “for the kids" so they can fill their pockets and sit comfortable at fat-feast dining tables. BSA is morally-bankrupt and only cares about the money it can generate through fees and lied-to donors; BSA DOES NOT SPEND MONEY ON SCOUTS OR ADULT SCOUTERS. It is sickening that the Chief Scout Executive of BSA earns a salary of $1,577,600 per year (plus benefits), which means he is taking nearly 1.2% of the $175M in revenue for himself. BSA is claiming they cannot afford to pay victims, but their executives can pay themselves small fortunes.
 
Let us look at a few facts and use one council as example of the game they are playing so they can continue to exploit kids for financial gain. (*see the three other  documents attached to this message):
 
  • 2018 Form 990 (Filed with IRS)
  • 2018 Annual Report (given to parents and donors)
  • 2018 Actuals (budget given to board members)

Mid-America provides three (3) different sets of numbers. What they tell their board members in the budget, what they tell parents and donors in terms of how money is spent on the kids, and what they report to the IRS. There is no transparency, and you can never get a straight answer from anyone within corporate BSA because if the word got out how they are exploiting youth to line their pockets, parents and donors would be furious. For the purpose of making a case, I will cite numbers from the 2020 Budget, which provides "actuals" from the previous years.

The primary goal for BSA and councils is to generate more revenue streams to increase their ability to expand their corporate salaries. If you look at the three (3) financial documents, you can extrapolate that this particular council spends approximately 60% of its generated revenue on corporate salaries. Note that nearly 45% of its income derives from donor/fundraising campaigns and product (popcorn) sales. When looking at the expenses, they really only spend 9.6% of their budget on camping and other activities. Meaning, they beg for money from donors and have little kids pander their popcorn on the streets. Here are the facts:

 

  • Fact # 1: There are 4991 volunteers listed on this council's 2018 Form 990. These volunteers have to pay membership fees, training fees, camping fees, and other fees. They have to pay for everything, and they do 99% of the work with the youth. They runs camps, they run activities, they run events, they run projects, they run units, and just about anything you can think of is actually run by volunteers who have to pay for everything they do in the BSA program.

 

  • Fact # 2: In 2018, 60% of the budget went to pay for salaries. Councils tells parents and donors 85-90% of their budgets go towards their youth programs, but it is simply lies they tell people. In 2018, this council spent $3.15M on salaries and benefits for its 40+ core corporate employees at its headquarters in Omaha, and only spent $161,000 on the salaries of its 170+ summer-camp employees, which handles the entire youth summer program at their summer camps. It listed 218 employees on its Form 990, which means the salaries of about 48 staff members consumed nearly 58% of the $5.3M in revenue brought in by the council. How does that benefit "the kids"? Again, looking at the numbers, only about 9.6% of the budget is spent on camping activities, the rest is spent on fundraising and generating money from donors.

 

  • Fact # 3: The “Big Lie” they tell donors and parents during their "Investment in Character Campaigns" (ICC) or other Friends of Scouting fundraisers, is that the money goes to pay for “the program”. When talking to BSA, they always use ambiguous terms like "program" or "youth activities" so they can illustrate something grand they are delivering to youth. This is a lie. Scouts pay for everything. They pay for national membership fees, event fees, training fees, camping fees, and unit fees before they even get into the costs of buying uniforms, camping gear, and other items needed to participate in scouting. When scouts sell popcorn, they get a small commission, but it generally only covers national and council fees/events; it does not cover the costs of where 90% scouting actually happens, which is at the troop or pack level with volunteers and parents (that is the real “program”). BSA national and councils constantly say they exist "for the kids", but the kids (and their families) pay fees for everything councils and districts have on their programs. All of these costs are compounded by the fact that volunteers do 99% of the work at the district events, and a good majority of the council events (and volunteers have to pay BSA to attend these events). So where do all these fees go? What are they paying for? Councils are simply professional fundraisers who exploit youth under the guise of the "scouting" name. These professional beggars at the council and the districts use the good name of scouting and the hard work of volunteers to solicit donations from high-end donors who don't realize those funds do not directly benefit the youth - in fact, they do not benefit the youth at all. Councils could reduce their staff to zero and most unit leaders would barely even notice - that's how much councils "do for scouts".

 

  • Fact # 4: Of the approximate $5.3M in revenue generated by this council in 2018, its council executive was paid almost $227K between salary and other compensation. This is ridiculous if you think about it. 7.2% of the $3.15M salary budget goes to one person. That's disgusting to think about. His salary is about four (4) times the average median household income for Nebraska families, yet he is perfectly fine with asking scout families to pay more than they are already paying to participate in scouting. These are lower income families, a majority of which are in rural areas, and he is perfectly fine with forcing them to pay more money so he can maintain his high salary and that of his professional fundraising-staff. That is just disgusting to think about. There are four (4) regions consisting of 272 councils. If we add up all those high-end salaries, to include the insanely high corporate salaries at national - like the $1.5M a year salary for BSA's CEO, it would most likely account for half the revenue brought in by scouting (maybe more, you can never get a straight answer from corporate scouters). That is sickening to think about. They use little kids to sell their product (popcorn) and use hundreds of thousands of volunteers (maybe more) to do 99% of the work, so why do they need to pay themselves so much money? It seems like a self-licking ice cream cone that only exists for the sake of generating revenue for paid scouters to fund-raise to benefit themselves. Some of these low-income families can barely afford the annual registration fees, and often the units (troops and packs) are stuck trying to figure out how to get gear for the kids/families that can’t afford proper gear for camping. This about how backwards that is. These professional beggars pay themselves ridiculous salaries, tell donors their mission “is for the kids”, but (after paying thousands and thousands of dollars to register with BSA)… the troops and packs have to figure out how to get money so little kids can go camping.

 

  • Fact # 5: In 2019, National raised its membership fee from $33 to $60 per year (in 2020, that membership fee went to $126, which includes a new “council program fee”); they essentially doubled their fees to pay for an increase in insurance costs and lawsuits (the latter is true regardless of the lies they tell everyone). Some councils, like Mid-America Councils, are hiding the fact that 60% of the revenue generated by (or for) "the kids" is paid to staff members to go out and solicit more money so they can keep paying themselves more-and-more money. It's a scam that exploits kids.

 

  • Fact # 6: A lot of council camps are in complete shambles because the councils spend little money on upkeep - let alone improvements. They charge hundreds-and-hundreds of dollars to scouts and leaders to attend summer camp, but then they claim they lose money on camps. This is yet another lie they tell parents and donors. If you look at the 2020 budget, you will see they generate positive net income from their summer programs, so why do they say they lose money on camps? It's because they constantly tell donors they need money for "upkeep or improvements", but use very little of the ICC/FoS money to actually make improvements or repairs, and they use that money to expand their staff and get another professional beggar out on the street to pull on the heart-strings of people to “give more money for the kids”.
 

THE CHAPTER 11 FARCE

This Chapter 11 tactic needs to be exposed for the farce and a sham it is. Every council around the nation operates like the council I've identified above. Furthermore, they are briefing parents and volunteers that national BSA is going through Chapter 11 to limit exposure to "independently operated councils, which is another lie. National has a fleet of lawyers and can slow-role this as councils, which fall under the absolute control of BSA, shuffle around their assets and insulate themselves from the fallout. These councils have already turned over their insurance policies to National BSA, and have used funds from their fortune-size endowments (usually in the tens-of-millions of dollars) to put towards BSA's bankruptcy and lawsuits. They are setup as "independent" on paper, but they are not independent by any stretch of the word.

 
As far as claims of "financial destitution", National BSA hosted the 2019 World Jamboree at Summit Bechtel Reserve in West Virginia. 50-60 thousand people were there from around the world, and each paid, on average, 4-5 thousand to be there. It probably made $120,000,000 just in fees off that one event. It can claim the money was spent on the program, but that is a lie. 95% of the work was done by volunteers, who had to pay thousands of dollars to attend and work there. I don't know anywhere in the world where workers are forced to pay to be able to work. Again, BSA is exploiting the good name of scouting to make hundreds of millions of dollars. These were just attendance fees. There were other fees scouts had to pay just to participate in certain activities at this Jamboree, and then there was merchandise sales. I am not an accountant, but their 2019 financial statement does not seem to add up based on this one event alone. It is most likely because they create subsiderary companies/corporations for events like this, which look like seperate companies on paper (just like the councils), but I am sure if you pierced the corporate veil, it would show how everything actually operates under the corporate umbrella of BSA.
 

Moreover, you can also see how it was posturing for this chapter 11. It made a fortune off the world jamboree at Bechtel, yet it took out a mortgage on Philmont in New Mexico to make "much needed improvements"? https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/nation/2019/11/22/boy-scouts-mortgage-new-mexico-philmont-scout-ranch/40689885/

 

This too is a lie. To put this into perspective... Philmont is like "Camelot" in terms of name recognition for BSA scouts. It is the "holiest of holiest" places. Even scouts from around the world attend. There is a lot of anger and animosity because corporate mortgaged Philmont without getting approval from its board. A move that infuriated board members because they say it goes against the stipulations of the donation of the land from the original owners. BSA did this without telling anyone because now it is mortgaged... meaning, until that note is paid... it is owned by a bank, so it is safe from any asset seizure. Of course, they can also argue now that Bechtel is "in shambles" and not worth very much money, thus reducing their net worth.

 

THE BSA PONZI SCHEME
 

As I said, BSA needs to be exposed. So much of the public unconditionally supports scouts, but that is because they do not understand just how evil the corporate side really is. BSA does not care about the kids... it exploits them. BSA has kids, especially the very young Cub Scouts, pander popcorn and camp cards on the streets, but very little of that money goes back to the camps or programs. Again, there are 272 councils around the country who are "independent" but they all operate in the same capacity. They also have to pay 80-100 thousand dollars a year to national for charter fees, this is in addition to the $60 each scout has to pay. If we do simple math, each council pays $100K to national, which is $27M a year national collects in council recharter fees alone. Next, if there are 2 million scouts, and each paid $60... that is $120M just in "membership fees". So, on average, it collects roughly $150M a year just on fees. It then charges scouts thousands upon thousands of dollars to use its four properties (Philmont, Bechtel, Sea Base, and Northern Tier). Councils operate the same way. They charge scouts membership fees, in addition to the national fees, but all that gets scouts is just the ability to say they are scouts. They still have to pay tons of fees for any event they attend (summer camps, Jubilees, Jamborees, day camps, camporees, etc.) Moreover, if a unit wants to use a council camp for a weekend campout, councils will charge that unit an atronomical rate. As an example, Mid-America council will charge units $1500-$2000 a weekend to use camps that are poorly maintained and in shambles.

 

This scam works because of Charter Organizations (churches, Legions, VFWs, and other sponsoring organizations). They charter a unit, a troop or a pack, and then they get parents to volunteer to be leaders. Those volunteers then have to pay council-level and national fees to complete mandatory training. Again, their lies are absolutely sickeing. Volunteers have to pay for their mandatory in-person training, and other volunteers (seasoned scout leaders) coordinate and teach 99.9% of those trainings, which they have to pay to teach. It is nothing more than a Ponzi scheme. Councils and national BSA make money off the training that volunteers perform. These charter organizations truly want to have youth programs that benefit the kids, but they simply are not aware of just how much scouts have to pay to councils and national.

 
Councils are made up of districts whole focus, outside of fundraising, is getting new charter organizations to sponsor a scout pack or troop. Why? Because that increases membership, which is more fees they can collect. The problem is that councils and districts set up these units, collect fees, but then do not care how run-ragged the volunteers get from selling popcorn and other "products". It drives volunteers to the brink of nervous breakdowns. But councils do not care. If a unit folds, they have more in the pipeline ready to be chartered by an organization. The last part of the Ponzi scheme includes the donors and deluge of fundraisers, which generates vast amounts of wealth for BSA because they use the allure of nostolgic "Americana" to market their organization to ususpecting people and corporations with deep pockets. It is sickening how they do things and how they use volunteers and kids to make money for themselves. This is how so many pedophiles were able to operate with impunity in BSA for all of those years. BSA only cares about the revenue stream for its executives.

 

THE SLIEGHT-OF-HAND PARADIGM OF "INDEPENDENT" COUNCILS

 

Councils are structured like independent "franchises" under BSA National, but they do not get to operation autonomously. They have to follow every policy and procedure national tells them to do. Also, recently, all councils have been required to sign over their insurance policies to BSA National, which shows just how "independent" they really aren't. They were also forced to take money from their endownments to help pay for the bankruptcy and lawsuits.

 

Councils are staffed by a president/CEO and other paid professionals. These professionals run the store where scouts have to buy their uniforms, merit badges, patches, and everything else. Scouts do not get anything for free. These professionals are given titles like "camping program director" or whatever title needs to be made up. They all handle the "business side" of the franchises. But, here is how National BSA and councils run their scams.

 

Councils are broken up into districts, and those districts are run by a paid professional called a District Executive whose sole purpose is to set up new units, increase membership, fundraise, and seek out donations from deep-pocketed donors "to help the kids". These districts have two volunteers in charge: the District Commissioner and the District Chair; they are responsible for all of the units (Packs and Troops) within their districts. Again, 99.999% of all scouting happens at the Unit level by volunteers (remember, all volunteers have to pay to register with National BSA and their councils, they have to pay to become trained, they have to pay to attend council/district events, and they have to pay for everything at the unit level - scouts get nothing for free). At times, these volunteers pay out of pocket so low-income kids can participate in the scouting program (whether that is to pay for event fees or buy equipment their families can’t afford).

 

Those volunteers arrange meetings and activities for the scouts, and they have to pay their councils 30% of any fundraising they do to pay for the right to use the "BSA Logo"; if a unit conducts a fundraiser without paying this "use fee", councils have their legal teams go after that unit. In addition, councils have units sell popcorn and camp cards to raise money to pay for activities at the district and council level (camporees, jubilees, day camps, summer camps, etc.) But, units generally get 30% of the "profits" councils make on popcorn and camp card sales. As an example, if a scout sells $1000 in popcorn, $750 most likely goes to pay Trails End for the popcorn and advertising, $175 goes to the Council and $75 goes to the "unit account" at council, which can only be used to pay for council and district programs, activities, and events. They cannot use it to buy things like tents, sleeping bags, unit campouts, or anything else the unit may do. It’s like the “company stores” that used to make their employees rent tools, pay for housing, and other fees to be able to “work at the company” and then most of the workers ended up in debt to the “company” and working for free. I’m glad this was outlawed years ago, but it is rampant in organizations like the BSA.

 

Next, there is the annual re-charter, which costs about $126 per scout/adult scouter. $66 goes to national and $60 goes to the councils. There are other fees and different levels, but that is the majority of what most scouts have to pay (adults are about half). A unit with 50 scouts and 25 adult volunteers would pay about $7900 per year to re-charter. This fee, which is carved up by the councils and National BSA, only covers annual fees just to be in the scouting program. Nothing actually goes to the scouts or benefits them in any way. After that enormous fee, scouts and volunteers have to figure out how to raise money to actually pay for the scouts to do things and to purchase rank badges, books, patches, and other items required by National BSA, as well as pay for things like council summer camps/day camps and district activities/camps (remember, councils also get 30% of these fundraising events as well). Generally, this forces units to charge scouts annual/monthly dues, charge scouts for monthly campouts, charge scouts for unit activities, and charge scouts for pretty much anything they do. Of course, this is in addition to what scouts have to pay when they attend a council/district camp or activity. To put this into perspective, here is an average cost for a scouting year (per scout).

  • $126 (annual membership)
  • $200-$300 (annual troop dues to pay for patches, rank items, and other BSA mandated items)
  • $240-$300 per year for unit campouts
  • $350-$450 per year to attend a Council Summer camp (varies by Council)
  • $2500-$3500 per BSA High Adventure (Philmont, Sea Base, Bechtel, Norther Tier) *this is just the cost for admission and doesn't cover travel costs to get there, activities at those events, or extra "add-ons".
  • $250 per year for misc. things like Order of the Arrow, NBZ, Mic-O-Say, and other BSA sanctioned events.

 

Needless to say, scouting can get expensive. But, after all those fees are paid... districts and councils runs an annual Investment in Character Campaigns (ICC) and/or "Friends of Scouting" wherein their paid professionals go to unit meetings and solicit more donations from families - the money goes directly to councils. They lie to families and tell them it pays for "the scouting program", but it doesn't. When scouts want to go to summer camp, high adventure, or anything... they have to pay for it. As a farce, councils lie and tell people the popcorn and camp cards pay for summer camps and such, but scouts have to sell an enormous amount of popcorn to get a small percent that goes towards these ridiculous and constant fees.  Councils lie and say these ICC donations pay for the scouting program, but, in reality, it goes into their general operating funds to pay for the salaries of the people that work for each council (most of which engage in fundraising). Additionally, councils will run "Friends of Scouting" fundraisers (some call it different names) which are fundraiser dinners and luncheons wherein deep-pocket donors pay to attend the event. At those events, councils will shamelessly get scouts in uniform to talk about their "great experiences" to get these donors to give large sums of money. Again, this money does not go to pay for anything for scouts... it goes into the council's general operating account. Scouts still have to pay all of their fees for membership and activities.

 

Next, councils have large camps and large endowment funds. As an example, a council may have a camp worth millions of dollars and they may have endowment funds worth tens of millions of dollars. But, scouts have to pay fees every time they step foot on any council camp. Councils lie and say those fees go to pay for upkeep, utilities, and other things, but a lot of camps are in shambles because the councils never put money into them. If we look at a typical summer camp, the average fee is $350-$400 per scout to attend a 5-day camp (this does not cover any travel costs to get to that camp). The camps are staffed with seasonal camp staff that get paid ridiculously low salaries, and some of the younger staff that are scouts do not get paid at all (these are Counselors in Training). Most of the time, these staff members are even required to purchase their own supplies and equipment to run their programs. In really bad camps, the medics have to purchase their own first aid and medical supplies. In summation, councils charge incredible fees to scouts, but put very little back into the programs. A lot of the money councils generate is to pay to hire new "scout professionals" whose sole focus is to fundraise and solicit donations. On the books, the councils can claim loses while their bank accounts steadily increase.

 

The last aspect of the sham is how scouts are able to meet. A scouting unit has to have a Charter Organization (i.e. American Legions, VFWs, churches, schools, rotaries, auxiliaries, PTAs, etc). Those organizations have to provide scouts a place to meet, but nothing more. Scout units are responsible to pay their re-charter fees, pay for their programs, buy equipment, and everything else. And, at the end of the day, all money raised by the unit or equipment they purchase, belongs to the Charter Organization - not the units themselves. This is how councils limit their liability and increase their profits. Scouts are literally charged fees left and right for everything they do, and councils rake in incredible donations under the guise of "it's for the kids", but Charter Organization bear all the responsibility of providing places for the scouts to meet.

 

BSA is engaging in the most elaborate and legally intricate Ponzi Scheme ever created. They've created a franchise-style legal structure to limit their liability while being able to dupe donors into giving incredibly large donations so they can hire more people to fundraise to pay for their high executive salaries. It is absolutely sickening and needs to stop. BSA is exploiting kids. On paper, BSA can legally claim councils are separate entities, but they aren't. It's like the McDonald's Corporation. While there may be "independent franchisees", McDonald's owns the land they sit on and everything from burgers to napkins has to be purchased from the McDonald's Corporation. If a franchisee doesn't do what McDonald's tells them to do, McDonald's vacates them from the land and gets another franchisee in there. It's the same way for BSA and the councils under their umbrella. They have to do everything BSA National tells them to do or the lose their council charter and BSA will put a new council in its place. It's such a fraud. It's like companies that hire people as 1099 contractors to avoid paying taxes on a W2 employee. While it may not be illegal, it is a slimy practice.

 

CLOSING
 
Baden Powell, the founder of world scouting, had a vision, and that vision is shared with 50,000,000 scouts around the world. BSA is not scouting. It offers nothing to scouts other than a financial burden to pay one fee after another; this has nothing to do with scouting. Real scouting takes place in the troops and the packs (at the unit level). This is where parents coordinate campouts, community activities, and 99% of what scouts actually do. These leaders are just parents that get raked over the coals like everyone else, so they have to look for ways to do scouting adventures for as cheap as they can because they know families are burdened with paying so many fees up to councils and national. This is why scouting membership is declining so rapidly. It had nothing to do with policies or letting girls in. Girls have been in scouting for 40+ years (venturing and explorers). The decline is due to the fact that every time scouts turn around they are being metaphorically raped by council and national fees. Every time they turn around they are being asked to sell popcorn and camp cards, or donate money to ICC and "friends of scouting" campaigns, pay for camps, pay for events, pay for uniforms, pay for training, and pay for everything they do in BSA.
 

The Boy Scouts of America National Headquarters and local councils have all reached a point that their existence and primary functions have the sole function of self-preservation and self-expansion - meaning, they only contribute a small percentage of their money to youth programs, but that is so they can have information to print on fundraiser data sheets for donors. Their mission is to make money so they can continue to solicit money from donors and sell their product (kids selling popcorn like street urchins in old England).

 

In the end, BSA told me to come forward and report what happened to me when I was a kid. I did, but now it feels like they are simply using all of us that came forward to make the case of “rampant fraudulent claims” so they can side-step these lawsuits and get back to making money off the youth they exploit. Instead of granting BSA the ability to "get back to business as usual", councils need to be compelled to audits by third-party organization to show just how much money they are making versus how little they are spending on the scouts and "the program". I am not an accountant or financial analyst of any kind, but… from what I can see, this should make everyone sick from what they are doing. If councils are compelled to “open up their books” and really show where all of the money goes, it would make everyone scout family and donor leave BSA.

 

Before that summer camp that the abuse happened, scouting shaped my outlook on life, which is why I felt so ashamed (for the longest time) to call myself a scout when the allegations started coming out. I didn’t want the stigma of being labeled or judged. Admittedly, I got back into scouting to give a great experience to my own kids because my experience was stolen from me by a sick and twisted camp director. But, the more I found out about “new BSA scouting”, the more-and-more I see it for the vulture organization it is. This always comes down to money for BSA, as evidenced by their legal statement in court “gambling with the fortunes of abuse survivors”, when they know for a fact that they have accumulated over a billion dollars’ worth of assets off the backs of little kids the adult volunteers that make scouting possible. Without a doubt, there were predators in scouting,  and BSA shieled that information from law enforcement and the public because it threatened the reputation they were using to build an empire and amass their own fortune.  Scouting (across the world) is a great idea if organizations like BSA weren’t always looking for a way to make financial gains by using youth to pull on the heart-strings of would-be donors and benefactors. BSA needs to go away – we need a new “scouting program” in the United States. One that isn’t built off of lies, deceitful practices of exploitating of children, and hiding sick pedophiles in its ranks.

 

I am still in scouts today to protect youth from vultures like BSA and their subsidiaries (“councils”). I have been terrified to come forward because if BSA and its lawyers found out my name, they would come directly after me (a victim of childhood abuse in scouting) because I am threatening their empire of deceit and child abuse. Like my time in the military trained me to do... I followed the money trail and it led me down a path to discover a vast fortune of legal intricacies to protect an empire that preys on children.

 
Ma'am, with all that is good and holy in this world, I urger you to not give BSA a pass and hold them responsible for the evil, corrupt organization they are. Follow the money trail; conduct a true audit of BSA, all of its councils, and all of its other subsidiary organizations.
 
BSA does not represent the values of scouting. I was asked to share "how I felt" about BSA, and, without any equivocation, it is my hope they are forced into dissolution. It is my hope that you have the fortitude to end this morally-bankrupt organization so we, the abused childhood-victims, can start to make a better future that doesn't include BSA.
 
I will absolutely stand behind this affidavit in court if asked to do so. I pray this letter helps sway your decision in the favor of the abused-victims, and not so that BSA can maintain its Ponzi Scheme organization that has amassed a vast fortune over a century by covering for the evil pedophiles in its ranks.
 
Very respectfully,
 
- All 95,000+ Victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse in the Boys Scouts of America
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Wow, that is quite the read. Maybe it takes letters like it to move the case forward.

Unfortunately, 90% of that letter is just opinionated and uneducated BS. It is obvious that he is unfamiliar with nonprofit budgets and he has never seen a detailed council statement....pages and pages for every little event etc is accounted for and budgeted annually. 

Councils could benefit from sharing their board minutes and financial statements with those who have an interest. If they did, then maybe units could better understand why councils love for thier troops to attend the council camp vs. paying more to go out of council.  

Most people have no clue what the professionals do and don’t really care. Those who do, let them know they are crazy for working the hours and handling all the small and large issues they deal with on a daily basis. The turnover rate is crazy. Those that survive and do a good job are recognized and eventually move from mid 30k a year into 40, 50,60 and 70, 80 in management roles. 

Camp fees....$350 for a week at camp. Go down the road to a YMCA camp and it’s 1200 for basically the same schedule with some judo lessons thrown in.

it does not take a genius to figure out why fees have increased from 12 to 70...insurance has gone from 30million to a hundred million annually.

Of the 270 councils, I would just guess that over 50% of Scout Executive /CEO’s earn less than 130k a year. This would be after 20 years working in various roles and possibly moving their wives and families to new homes in different districts and councils unless they were lucky enough to work in a big council where promotions were available.  Try buying and selling your home 4 times with no help or support like many for profit corporations would do. If you are lucky, the council will throw you some change to help move, but only top management and scout executives are going to have a full pack moving truck. If you want talent, you pay for it. 

Now national is different. However, the top paid execs are not completely out of line for the company’s size. The current ceo was selected to handle and move the bsa through this bankruptcy. It’s the first time a “professional” has not been the chief scout.  The top execs at national were compensated well. But, an area director is likely an experienced former scout executive that “managed” 8-10 councils in thier area. They travel a lot and do a bunch of nasty HR junk. Some like it and some use it as a stepping stone to jump into thier next Scout Executive role in a large 100-200 class council. That is where the big salaries are for scout executives. But don’t blame BSA, the local board hires them and approves their salary.

Every private and sergeant thinks the first lieutenant is an idiot and some may be. Too many uninformed scouters think the district executive is that first lieutenant. All the private’s, sergeants, and lieutenants think the majors and generals are overpaid and useless. 

Local councils are going to have to rebuild their memberships and staffs when all this is over. I’m not so sure that attacking the local fundraising efforts will do anyone a favor.  I am sure that some councils will mortgage thier camps before they ever sell them. Or, they will get someone friendly to scouting to buy it. If not, oh well. 

Whoever said that preachers and council employees should work for peanuts? Do popcorn profits not lower camp fees? Does FOS not keep fees low?  How many Boy Scouts in a Troop now were recruited into cub scouts at a school night? 

That is one heck of a negative letter that seems to focus more on defunding the BSA vs. how the abuse affected him. 

It just pains me to see an organization that has done so much good for  the community and our nation to be destroyed. There will be a lot of scouts placing flags on graves this Memorial Day weekend. Who is going to teach youth to honor our nation and our flag? It is not sports leagues and video games. 

Im ready to see the TCC plan. Let’s make BSA hurt and that includes some more pain for the councils...a lot more. But, lets not destroy the BSA to where they can’t even ask the community or a family to give to FOS for current support and to rebuild.

BSA did some bad things. But, did BSA really do it? Evil pedophiles did it.  I do believe the secret files were the best attempt to try and keep bad people out of Scouting during a time when society and technology maybe could not. 

None of the victims will receive any reasonable settlement from BSA national and the local councils. Period. 

The money is with the insurance companies. And, I have no problem asking them to pay. That is where the overpaid salaries are...the insurance companies. 

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I’ve watched enough Ellen Brochavich and John Grisham movies to know that insurance companies will do just about anything not to pay up.  I wonder how many fraudulent claims were submitted by persons hired by the insurance companies? 

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7 hours ago, RobertCalifornia said:

Maybe it takes letters like it to move the case forward.

Yeah. Maybe. I tend to think it's so long it was only read to check for things to redact. To me, in this context, the length negates the impact and the content negates the intent. It seemed more like a letter to the BSA executives than to the judge about the impact of abuse and the need to do right by victims.

7 hours ago, RobertCalifornia said:

...seems to focus more on defunding the BSA vs. how the abuse affected him. 

Same. See above. I have no idea what's true in there and what's not. To me, sorry to say, it's less than material because it blurs the focus of what I hope to see from all of this.

7 hours ago, RobertCalifornia said:

Im ready to see the TCC plan. Let’s make BSA hurt and that includes some more pain for the councils...a lot more. But, lets not destroy the BSA to where they can’t even ask the community or a family to give to FOS for current support and to rebuild.

Me too. I'm not interested in inflicting pain, per se, though that may be the result. I'm ready for progress and an end of the nonsensical posturing. I felt like we were on the just on cusp of it when the judge bent to the wishes of the mediators and pushed us back down the hill. Perhaps those mediators are genius soothsayers and snake charmers. We shall see. Or not.

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Posted (edited)

Regarding letters to the judge: please be aware that at this point she has been very clear: she's not reading them.

Quote

I haven't read all of the letters coming in recently, that's simply not possible, they're overwhelming our clerk's office and we're getting them on the docket as soon as we can. Many of them tell tragic stories. But many of them as I've said also recognize the need for Boy Scouts to continue. So there is a balancing act.

 

 

 

 

Edited by CynicalScouter
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14 minutes ago, ThenNow said:

Yeah. Maybe. I tend to think it's so long it was only read to check for things to redact. To me, in this context, the length negates the impact and the content negates the intent. It seemed more like a letter to the BSA executives than to the judge about the impact of abuse and the need to do right by victims.

Same. See above. I have no idea what's true in there and what's not. To me, sorry to say, it's less than material because it blurs the focus of what I hope to see from all of this.

Me too. I'm not interested in inflicting pain, per se, though that may be the result. I'm ready for progress and an end of the nonsensical posturing. I felt like we were on the just on cusp of it when the judge bent to the wishes of the mediators and pushed us back down the hill. Perhaps those mediators are genius soothsayers and snake charmers. We shall see. Or not.

Yeah, one page is about the right length to make a letter that will actually get read (really more like 3-4 paragraphs); so even a dedicated person is going to put that novel on the bottom of the pile.

Unfortunately it's clear from his complaints that most of what he's upset about revolves around a mistaken understanding of how organizations, events and activities work in general.  I work (volunteer) for an organization that runs an annual arts festival that is run almost entirely by volunteers, with only one paid part time person.  Even with all staffing being free, the budget is  over $450,000 for a one weekend event and we still usually either break even or make or lose 5%-10% of that budget each year.  And the most lavish thing we spend money on is a golf cart rental for me and my staff (my son) to drive around so that we can patrol the perimeter of the event to maintain the barricades.

So while I do question some of the BSA LC expenditures, in particular the amount of travel for trainings and conferences they regularly send staff on, I don't have any suspicions that all of BSA is just a giant perpetual fundraising scheme designed to funnel money to some nebulous person/persons.

Though I do think that non-profits in general are often wasteful when they try and compete with for-profit businesses on pay scales for top leadership.

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7 hours ago, RobertCalifornia said:

BSA did some bad things. But, did BSA really do it? Evil pedophiles did it.  I do believe the secret files were the best attempt to try and keep bad people out of Scouting during a time when society and technology maybe could not. 

Here is where I have an issue.  It isn't to me so much what the BSA did but what they did not do.  They did not help those that were in need and that was the victims of the "evil pedophiles". In my situation the local council knew that one of my rapists victimized 12 to 13 boys such as myself and never lifted a finger to try and identify any of us and get us the help that was needed.   Yes they prevented him from being a volunteer again in another city several years later but essentially covered up what he had previously done.  Does anyone know of a situation where after a Boy Scout was victimized that the BSA went to the victim and made sure that the proper counseling and therapy was provided?  Yesterday after 54 years I had my first therapy session and that is 54 years to late.

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8 hours ago, RobertCalifornia said:

BSA did some bad things. But, did BSA really do it? Evil pedophiles did it.

The reason BSA is being sued (and has lost numerous times in state courts prior to 2020) is that yes, the pedophile did it, but BSA was negligent in allowing it to happen. In short, and I mean very, very short:

1) Boy Scouts of America (BSA National, the Congressionally Chartered entity) created the Boy Scouts (or Cub Scouts, or whatever) program and chartered local councils to carry that program out.

2) Boy Scouts of America directly chartered each year the units in question.

3) Boy Scouts of America knew from early, early on it had a pedophile problem and created the Ineligible Volunteer Files.

4) Boy Scouts of America, the Local Council, and the CO still acted recklessly or negligently in allowing the abuser to access to the scout.

Therefore

  1. Negligence/Duty of reasonable care - BSA had an obligation to look after these kids and not let them be harmed.
  2. Negligence in Supervision - the abusive leader was an "agent of [Boy Scouts] was under [Boy Scouts] direct supervision, and control" using BSA methods, uniforms, instruction, etc.
  3. Negligence in Retention - the abusive leader was not shoved out the door fast enough
  4. Negligence in Hiring - (yes a volunteer is "hired" for these purposes) Boy Scouts failed to do enough of a background check to detect the abuser's tendencies and nevertheless held the abusive leader out as a "competent and trustworthy scout leader, supervisor, servant, teacher, and counselor."

Now, before people start screaming "That's not fair! That's not right!" keep in mind that these are the underlying arguments that have already been successfully used against BSA and LCs in the past.

 

Edited by CynicalScouter
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