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Bullowa Trust Fund trustees have filed suit against Boy Scouts of American Hudson Valley Council over their failure to repay loan and attempt to take control of $3.8M


Entrance to Camp Bullowa
Entrance to Camp Bullowa

Every organization has its internal politics, but you might not expect the Boy Scouts Hudson Valley Council and Camp Bullowa Trust Fund to top the list of intrigue. Yet, it’s up there at the moment.

Camp Bullowa of Stony Point was bequeathed a trust 73 years ago and that trust has grown to nearly $4 million over the decades. The trust clearly states all monies are to be used solely for Camp Bullowa and entrusts three trustees with keeping that promise.

Camp Bullowa itself, however, is owned by the Boy Scouts of America Hudson Valley Council and its chairman Howard Hellman, better known for being CEO of All Bright Electric, and executive director David Horton, as well as a majority of the Hudson Valley Council would like to see those $3.8M in funds reevaluated. The Council has been having difficult financial times.

Back in 2003 the Council actually borrowed $500,000 from the Bullowa Trust, and for about a decade continued to make minimal payments, never paying down the loan itself but keeping up with interest.

Then the Council stopped paying. Hellman and allies attempted to negotiate a new deal with the Bullowa Trust trustees, who are led by local  attorney Ralph Heavner. When that failed, the Council continued not to pay and eventually Heavner filed a legal action against the Boy Scout Council.

This amazed the Council, who in turn have made moves to have the Trust trustees removed from their positions. In that event it seems the Council has other ideas for the $3.8 million besides what the Trust Fund’s mission statement indicates.

There is no clear procedure laid out for how to elect new trustees to the Bullowa Trust, so if the Hudson Valley Council should get allies in those trustee positions, they could in reality fund other parts of the Boy Scout operation with Bullowa Trust’s money.

A judge upheld Heavner’s request for a stay on his removal as trustee, as all prior trustees had simply died or retired and there never had been a power struggle litigated before over the Trust. No precedent. The fate of the Trust lay in the court’s hands. If the HV Council appoints their allies to the Bullowa Trust, expect to see that money spread around the entire Hudson Valley.


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