Facing tens of thousands of sexual abuse complaints and filing for bankruptcy, the Boy Scouts of America said they plan to sell their portfolio of Norman Rockwell paintings to help fund a fund for victims of death. ‘at least $ 300 million.
The organization announced its intentions in court documents filed in federal bankruptcy court in Delaware on Monday after filing for Chapter 11 protection in February last year. This followed allegations of widespread sexual abuse by Scout leaders, staff and volunteers dating back to at least 1944.
The BSA’s plan to sell around 60 paintings “demonstrates that considerable progress has been made” in providing fair compensation to victims and meeting financial obligations, the organization said in a statement to HuffPost on Wednesday.
The work was commissioned by BSA during a 64-year relationship with the late painter and illustrator, who got his first paid job as an artist with the organization’s Boys’ Life magazine in 1912, said the BSA. The paintings have been on display at the Medici Museum of Art in Howland, Ohio, since 2020.
The museum said in a statement posted to Facebook on Wednesday that it was “clearly disappointed” with the planned sale but has been aware of the possibility since agreeing to exhibit the art in 2019.
The artwork has not been formally appraised, BSA said, and an estimated value was not included in the court filing.
“We strongly believe that these iconic works of art represent the best of the Scout movement and that their value should be maximized for the benefit of survivors,” the organization said in a statement.
Although Rockwell’s scout paintings are famous, they are not ranked among his best works, an art critic and Rockwell biographer told The New York Times.
“He was not free to invent or imbue the canvases with his usual array of closely observed detail,” Deborah Solomon said of the work commissioned by Rockwell, which came with specific rules and instructions for him. .
Lawyers representing BSA victims said the proposed sale, which did not include sales of the BSA camps and various real estate, was not enough.
“The BSA and its local councils are not making the necessary effort to provide minimum compensation to the men and women whose lives have been forever changed by the fact that the BSA and local councils have failed to protect them by as children, ”John Humphrey, president of the tribunal – appointed a tort claims committee that represents victims of abuse, told the Los Angeles Times.
Humphrey estimated that the BSA’s proposal would result in approximately $ 6,100 per claimant.
Another lawyer representing individual plaintiffs called the proposed plan “shameful” to the LA Times.
The BSA, in a statement posted online, said claimants will have an opportunity to vote on its proposed victim compensation plan and that it hopes to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy this fall.
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