U.S. ex rel Glenn Goodwin v. Old Baldy Council of the Boy Scouts of America, Inc.
Suit was filed under the Federal False Claims Act charging that the Old Baldy Council of the Boy Scouts fraudulently obtained $15,000 in federal taxpayer funds to sponsor its recruitment activities. The Council
signed a certification of compliance with state and federal anti-discrimination laws, despite the Scouts' own rules prohibiting the hiring of (or accepting as youth or adult members) gays and lesbians and people who refuse to swear an oath to God.
To view the complaint (in a PDF file) filed against the Old Baldy Council, as well as a copy of the original contract entered into between the council and city, (which includes the nondiscrimination clause), click here.
In 2007, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit filed in July 2002 under the Federal False Claims Act charging that the Old Baldy Council of the Boy Scouts fraudulently obtained $15,000 in federal taxpayer funds to sponsor its recruitment activities. The council signed a certification of compliance with state and federal anti-discrimination laws, despite the Scouts' own rules
prohibiting the hiring of (or accepting as youth or adult members) gays and lesbians and people who refuse to swear an oath to God. The court held that since the facts alleging fraud were publicly disclosed, the False Claims Act whistleblower statute did not apply.
In this case the courts did not affirm that the BSA did not lie to obtain federal funds, but that since they publicly lied, the plaintiffs could not sue under the False Claims Act. The case is closed.
Claremont man sues Boy Scouts: ACLU claims group failed to disclose discriminatory policies when applying for county grant
Los Angeles Times
January 29, 2003
The Inland Valley Voice
By Tipton Blish
A Claremont activist is suing the local council of Boy Scouts with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union, accusing the organization of defrauding the federal government, according to documents unsealed Tuesday.
The lawsuit filed by Glenn Goodwin, a board member of the ACLU Southern California, challenges a $15,000 federal grant from San Bernardino County to the Old Baldy Council of Boy Scouts.
"They lied about the use of this money," said Goodwin. "They use public monies that go on to discriminate against gays and lesbians, discriminate against religious nonbelievers."
The Boy Scouts won the right to keep gay men and boys out of troops and from working for the organization in a 2000 Supreme Court decision in a New Jersey case.
County officials defended giving the Scouts public money. The grants are monitored regularly and were approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which provides the Community Development Block Grants, the source of the $15,000.
The money is for Boy Scout recruiting at nine middle and elementary schools, mostly Montclair, where more than half the students qualify for federally-subsidized free or reduced-price lunches.
"The Old Baldy Council has provided positive activities for youth in our community for a long time," Supervisor Fred Aguiar said. "It's a highly respected organization in the West End and I am not aware
of any incident when the Old Baldy Council has discriminated against anyone at any time."
Boy Scout officials did not return a call requesting comment late Tuesday afternoon. The lawsuit was made public Tuesday but has not been served on the Old Baldy Council.
The county has given the regional Boy Scouts several grants over the years, including about $30,000 to make restrooms
accessible to the disabled and an annual scholarship program that allows low-income children to attend Scout camps, a program that is also funded by the city of Montclair.
The Boy Scouts, as a condition of accepting local, county and federal money, signed an agreement that they would follow all applicable federal and state laws, including those banning discrimination based on religious belief or sexual orientation.
"They can't truthfully sign this certification because they openly discriminate," said Martha Matthews, a staff attorney for the ACLU.
"Old Baldy Council cannot both comply with the BSA's policies of discrimination on the basis of religion and sexual orientation in employment and also comply with the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the California Fair Housing and Employment Act, the lawsuit argues.
The suit does not allege that the local Boy Scouts have discriminated against anyone specifically.
"They can't avoid discrimination," Matthews said. They are out to recruit kids and if a youth won't swear an oath to God or says he is gay, he won't be recruited, she said.
Some public agencies are reviewing their connection to the Boy
Scouts of America. The Los Angeles and San Francisco bar associations have asked the state Supreme Court to consider banning state court judges from Scouting because of the policy that keeps gays out of the organization. A group of Republican politicians in Ventura County organized a fund-raising group to replace money lost when the local United Way stopped supporting the Boy Scouts.
The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Riverside in August, but was sealed under a provision of a federal whistle blower law that allows federal prosecutors a chance to pursue the case. Federal prosecutors declined to do so and the court documents were unsealed Tuesday.