Methodist Church Sues DocI
H Greg Meyer (hgmeyer@ROCKETMAIL.COM)
Tue, 9 Jun 1998 15:12:13 -0700
FAITH UNITED METHODIST CHURCH, a religious
corporation, BRUCE NELSON D/B/A B&G TRAIN WORLD, and
IN THE CIRCUIT COURT FOR THE 16TH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT
KANE COUNTY, ILLINOIS CH K 98 419
THREE FIRES COUNCIL OF THE BOY SOCUTS OF AMERICA, an
Illinois not-for-profit corporation, BOY SCOUTS OF
AMERICA, a Congressionally chartered organization,
SUZEITE HEINZE, LAWRENCE HARRINGTON, DAVID CLARK,
DANIEL DEBRUYCKER,) and JOHN KEMPER
NOW COME the Plaintiff-,, FAITH UNITED METH0DIST
CHURCH, BRUCE NELSON DIB/A B&G TRAIN WORLD, and
WILLIAM WERST by and through their attorneys, STROM,
REPAY & McCUTCHAN, and complaining against the
Defendants, THREE FIRES COUNCIL OF THE BOY SOCUTS
(sic) OF AMERICA, an Illinois not-for-profit
corporation, BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA, a Congressionally
chartered organization, SUZETFE HEINZE, LAWRENCE
HARRINGTON, DAVID CLARK, DANIEL DEBRUYCKER, and JOHN
KEMPER, state as follows:
COUNT Ii INSPECTION OF BOOKS AND RECORDS
1. Plainfiff, FAITH UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
("Methodist Church"), is a religious corporation,
duly incorporated in the State of Illinois since
1968, located at 19 Center Street, in the City of
Elgin, County of Kane, State of Illinois. The
Methodist Church has been a chartered member of
Defendant, THREE FIRES COUNCIL OF THE BOY SOCUTS
(sic) OF AMERICA ("Three Fires Council"), since 1984,
and as such pays annual dues to Three Fires Council.
The Methodist Church has chartered Cub Scout Pack 18
and Boy Scout Troop 18.
2.The Methodist Church has actively participated
and supported the Defendant, BOY
SCOUTS OF AMERICA ("BSA"), for many years through
both its regional conferences and its individual
3. Plaintiff, BRUCE NELSON D/B/A B&G TRAIN
WORLD ("B&G"), is a sole proprietorship located at
829 Walnut Avenue, City of Elgin, County of Kane,
State of Illinois. B&G has been a chartered member of
Three Fires Council since December 1993, and as such
pays annual dues to Three Fires Council. B&G charters
Explorer Post 991 1.
4. B&G, through its agent and assigns, has
actively supported BSA for years and regularly
participates in or sponsors the following events:
Rail-O-Rama, visiting area nursing homes, selling
Popcorn, Scout Day at the Illinois Railway Museum,
and participating in the annual breakfast with Santa
at Camp Big Timber.
5. Plaintiff, WILLIAM WERST ("Werst"), is a
resident of the City of Elgin, County of Kane, State
of Illinois. Werst has been actively associated with
and a member in good standing of BSA or Three Fires
Council since 1954.
6. As a scout, Werst earned Tender Foot,
Second Class, First Class, Star, Life, and Eagle
Ranks with Bronze, Gold, and Silver Palms. He earned
forty merit badges, fourteen trail hiking awards, and
the prestigious God and Country award. Werst also
attended summer camp at Camp Birch for five years,
and participated in monthly campouts on a year round
basis. He had six years of perfect attendance, and
held youth leadership positions of Assistant Patrol
Leader; Patrol Leader; Webelos' Den Chief, Troop
QuarterMaster; Troop Scribe; Senior Patrol Leader;
Junior Assistant Scout Master; and member of the
Troop Conunittee. Scouting was a very important and
integral part of Werst's youth.
7. As an adult volunteer, Werst has served
as Assistant Den Leader and Webelos' Den Leader of
Pack 62; a member of the Troop Committee; Troop
Public Relations Chairman and Committee Chairman of
Troop 14; Chartered Partner Representative of Pack
14; Chartered Partner Representative for Pack and
Troop 18; Advisor To Explorer Post 991 1; Council
Popcorn Fund Raising Committee; Scout 2
Day Chairman for Illinois Railway Museum; Council FOS
Presenter; Rail-O-Rama Event Chairman; Chairman of
Hiawatha District; and received the District Award of
Merit from the Hiawatha District in 1994.
8. At the begiiuiing of 1997, Werst was a
member in good standing of Explorer Post 991 1, a
chartered organization of B&G, and served as their
post advisor. At that time, Werst was also a member
in good standing of the Boy Scout Troop 14 and Pack
and Troop 18 Committee, and served as the
representative and voting delegate for the Methodist
9. Three Fires Council is an Illinois
not-for-profit corporation, duly incorporated in the
State of Illinois, with its principal office located
at 415 North Second Street, in the City of St.
Charles, County of Kane, State of Illinois. Three
Fires Council has a charter from BSA.
10.Defendant, DANIEL DEBRUYCKER ("Debruyeker"),
is the Council Commissioner of
Three Fires Council.
II. Defendant, DAVID CLARK ("Clark'), at
times relevant hereto, served as chairman of the
Hiawatha District, which is an administrative branch
of Three Fires Council.
12. Defendant, LAWRENCE HARRINGTON
("Harrington"), is a vice-president and board member
of Three Fires Council.
13. Defendant, SUZFTTE HEINZE ("Heinze"), at
times relevant hereto, served as the District
Executive for the Hiawatha District, which is an
administrative branch of Three Fires Council, and is
employed by Three Fires Council.
14. Defendant, JOHN KEMPER ("Kemper"), is
the Assistant Regional Director of the Central Region
of BSA, and is employed by BSA.
15. BSA was incorporated in 1910; however,
such incorporation was later superseded by a national
charter from the U.S. Congress in 1916. The express
terms of the national charter provide that BSA is
entitled to "make and adopt bylaws, rules, and
regulations not inconsistent with the laws of the 3
United States of America, or any State thereof."
16. BSA is divided into four regions, and
the Three Fires Council is part of the Central
Region. 'I'liree Fires Council's relationship with
BSA is that of franchisee. An organizational chart of
the entities involved is attached and incorporated by
reference as Exhibit A.
17. Beginning in 1994, the Plaintiffs began
having concerns about the management of Three Fires
Council and its effect upon BSA.
18. At that time, Werst and others were part
of the Hiawatha District Committee and Commissioner
Staff in the Hiawatha District.
19. The Hiawatha District Committee and
Commissioner Staff were two administrative arms of
the Three Fires Council. These groups comprised
volunteers who helped coordinate the activities of
the District with those of the chartered
organizations within the District.
20. In March, 1994, Werst and numerous
volunteers of the Hiawatha District Committee and
Commissioner Staff met with Clark to discuss some
concerns over mismanagement of the Three Fires
Council, and to try to obtain some basic information
in accordance with the policy they had learned in
training from Three Fires Council and BSA.
21. Rather than provide any information or
respond to the legitimate concerns of WeFst and the
numerous volunteers of the Hiawatha District
Committee and Commissioner Staff, Clark chose to keep
matters secret, and on information and belief, acted
in concert with Heinze to disband the Committee and
22. Also in 1994, Clark and Heinze twice
sought to have their own slate of individuals elected
to positions in thL- District. Both times the
volunteer members rejected their slate.
23. On information and belief, despite this
rejection, Clark and Heinze caused the Council
President to appoint Clark and Heiiize' slate to
positions of responsibility for conducting the
affairs of the Hiawatha District, to the detriment of
the Council and BSA.
24- In 1996, a letter was circulated to the
membership of Three Fircs Council from a committee of
concerned volunteer members, including Werst,
challenging the actions of Clark and Heiiize. These
volunteers sought information regarding the use of
pledged funds, the use of funds from the United Way,
and various statistics being used by management in
the solicitation of funds from the public.
25. Heinze and Clark refused to provide any
information or acknowledge any of the legitimate
concerns of volunteer members including Werst.
26. On April 7, 1997, Werst wrote a letter
to Kemper at the Central Region Office of BSA,
requesting a copy of the publication "Procedures for
Maintaining Standards of Member.-,hip and Leadership".
27. On May 9, 1997, Kemper sent a letter to
Werst refusing to send this publication or any other
28. On June 5, 1997, Werst sent a letter to
Kemper again requesting a copy of the publication
pursuant to state law.
29.On June 10, 1997, Kemper sent a letter again
refusing to send any additional information.
30. On information and belief, on June 19,
1997, Illinois State Senator Steven Rauschenberger
sent a letter to Kemper informing BSA of the right of
individuals to inspect books and records of an
Illinois not for profit corporation, and requesting
that Werst be provided a copy of the publication
'Procedures for Maintaining Standards of Membership
and Leadership". On information and belief, Senator
Rauschenberger never received any response to this
letter, and no materials were ever provided to Werst
pursuant to his request.
31. On July 11, 1997, Bishop C- Joseph
Sprague, Bishop for the Methodist Churches of the
Northern District of Illinois, wrote a letter to BSA
on behalf of Werst and the Methodist Church
requesting corporate documents and information.
32.On July 18, 1997, BSA sent a letter to Bishop
Sprague refusing to provide any information
33. On April 18, 1998, B&G sent a letter to
Dennis Cook, the registered agent and Scout Executive
of Three Fires Council, requesting to review the
books and records of the Council. A copy of this
letter is attached as Exhibit B to this Complaint. In
the letter, the owner of B&G, Bruce Nelson, and B&G
Scouting Coordinator John P. 'Bud" Jones, designated
Werst as their agent to conduct a review of Three
Fires Council records. As stated on the face of his
request, the purpose of the review was for B&G's use
in "reviewing and evaluating [it-,] continued support
and participation" with Three Fires Council.
34. Also on April 18, 1998, the Methodist
Church, by Earl Lowery, chairman of the Church
Council, and Rev. Donald Keck, its Scouting
Coordinator, sent a letter to Dennis Cook, making a
similar request of the Three Fires Council. A copy of
this letter is attached as Exhibit C to this
Complaint. The Methodist Church likewise designated
Werst as its agent for the purpose of conducting an
inspection of the books and records of Three Fires
Council in order to review and evaluate the Church's
continued support and participation with the Council.
35. On April 20, 1998, Werst sent a letter
to Dennis Cook, referencing the prior letters of B&G
and the Church, and requesting the right to inspect
books and records of Three Fires Council during the
afternoon of Wednesday, May 6, 1998. In this letter,
a copy of which is attached as Exhibit D to this
Complaint, Werst requested fifteen separate records
for review in furtherance of B&G and the Church's
36.To date, Werst has received no reply from
Three Fires Council.
37. On April 30, 1998, the Church and B&G
received virtually identical letters from Three Fires
Council, purportedly in response to their letters of
April 18, 1998. In the letter, Three Fires Council
neither granted nor denied the Church's request to
review Three Fires Council's books and records.
However, the letter does contain a threat to revoke
the Church's membership in Three Fires Council as 6
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