Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Philanthropist's lawyer questions city's real estate deal with Scouts

The lawyer for a philanthropist who submitted a competing bid for the Boy Scouts’ Logan Square headquarters has sent a letter to the Nutter administration questioning why the city can't consider his client's $1.5 million offer, given that it has not completed a final sale agreement with the scouting group. William Ewing, a lawyer for real-estate investor and philanthropist Mel Heifetz, asked City Solicitor Shelley Smith whether the city’s agreement to sell the building to the Scouts for $500,000 was final. The sale agreement also calls for the Scouts Cradle of Liberty Council to forgive about $960,000 in legal fees it is owed by the city. The fees stem from a federal lawsuit that the city lost after it moved to evict the Scouts over the group’s policy of excluding gay people. “As I understand the term 'agreement in principle,' it means a tentative oral agreement which may be outlined in a brief memorandum but contemplates a subsequent detailed written agreement which will be formally executed by the parties,” Ewing wrote. “Is that true of the 'agreement in principle' to which you refer? Is there an agreed writing? Is it executed by the parties? Does the Law Department take the position that the 'agreement' was legally binding on the City when the City received Mr. Heifetz’s offer?” Smith was not immediately available for comment. She has said previously that she considered the current status of the agreement like having a completed contract on a house sale. She also said the agreement had been negotiated with the oversight of the federal court. Ewing’s letter also questions the city’s decision to sell the building through the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corp., which eliminates a requirement that the property be put up for bid. “Would the settlement with the Boy Scouts produce any industrial development in the City? Would it create any jobs,” Ewing asked.

Philanthropist's lawyer questions city's real estate deal with Scouts

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The lawyer for a philanthropist who submitted a competing bid for the Boy Scouts’ Logan Square headquarters has sent a letter to the Nutter administration questioning why the city can't consider his client's $1.5 million offer, given that it has not completed a final sale agreement with the scouting group.

William Ewing, a lawyer for real-estate investor and philanthropist Mel Heifetz, asked City Solicitor Shelley Smith whether the city’s agreement to sell the building to the Scouts for $500,000 was final. The sale agreement also calls for the Scouts Cradle of Liberty Council to forgive about $960,000 in legal fees it is owed by the city. The fees stem from a federal lawsuit that the city lost after it moved to evict the Scouts over the group’s policy of excluding gay people.
 
“As I understand the term 'agreement in principle,' it means a tentative oral agreement which may be outlined in a brief memorandum but contemplates a subsequent detailed written agreement which will be formally executed by the parties,” Ewing wrote. “Is that true of the 'agreement in principle' to which you refer? Is there an agreed writing? Is it executed by the parties? Does the Law Department take the position that the 'agreement' was legally binding on the City when the City received Mr. Heifetz’s offer?”
 
Smith was not immediately available for comment. She has said previously that she considered the current status of the agreement like having a completed contract on a house sale. She also said the agreement had been negotiated with the oversight of the federal court.
 
Ewing’s letter also questions the city’s decision to sell the building through the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corp., which eliminates a requirement that the property be put up for bid.
 
“Would the settlement with the Boy Scouts produce any industrial development in the City? Would it create any jobs,” Ewing asked.
 

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