scouts-l Mail Archive for November of 1999: Re: Who "owns" a Troop?
Ted Burton (scouter@CONSULTBURTON.COM
Mon Nov 01 1999 - 23:10:29 CST
At 13:42 -0600 on 10/31/99, Ronald W. Fox spake about Who "owns" a Troop? thus:
>In order for the CO to properly conduct the BSA program, it needs to
>accumulate certain assets (flags, tents, cook kits, etc.). The fact
>that usually the only source for those assets (or the money that
>pays for them) are people who are members of or otherwise assocated
>with the Troop is immaterial, as is the fact that 99.9% of the
>donors think they are giving those assets to the unit, not to it's
>CO. Everything given to the Troop or purchased using the Troop
>treasury in fact belongs to the CO.
The problem I have with this analysis is, that if Joe sells a tent to
Bob, and Bob uses Bob's money to make the purchase, and Joe believes
he is selling to Bob, and Bob believes he is buying, then it does not
matter that some third party thinks it should be otherwise. Title was
in Joe, and Joe sold title to Bob, and Bob did not intend to buy it
on behalf of his C. O. , then what force of what law says otherwise?
The only way that the C. O. would own this tent would be if Bob
believed he was making a gift to the C. O. -- but Bob has to believe
and intend that, the C. O. can't behave as if Bob intended that if
Bob did not in fact intend that.
It may be that in some Scouting holy writ somewhere it is provided
that the C. O. shall own things. In that case, Bob is breaking the
rule by not intending the gift. The result is a broken rule, not an
Scouts is not government. Scouts cannot impose rules on the public.
Scouts can impose conditions on the Charter, but that is still a
matter of private rule making. The result is that enforcement of the
rules is up to private parties. Absent enforcement, such rules cannot
impose unintended legal consequences upon the actions of people who
make their own private purchases and sales.
Perhaps the clearest example of this principle would be in a motor
vehicle title state. Suppose I buy a motor vehicle, say a van or
school bus, for use of the Troop. The State motor vehicle title is in
the name of the Troop Committee of Troop 162. By law that vehicle
belongs to the Troop Committee. Say it is titled to Troop 162. Then
it belongs to Troop 162. The fact that the rules say (if they do)
that the vehicle should have been titled to Council 1024 of the
Knights of Columbus does not make it so. The law says it belongs to
the person/entity named on the Certificate of Title, and in such a
case the Knights might have a right to demand a change, but until
they do, the vehicle belongs to whomever titled. If the Troop goes
smash, and another unit asks for the vehicle, and the Committee sells
or donates the vehicle to them, the new unit owns it. It makes no
difference that the Knights might have wanted to keep it.
Asst Scoutmaster, District Committee, District Commissioner,
Lewis-Clark Trail District, Inland Northwest Council 611, & 'a good
ol' Fox too'; Es Kaielgu Lodge 311, Tseminicum Chapter, Vigil,
mailto:email@example.com ; and Macintosh fan. Take a look at