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Heirs of Boy Scouts founder purchased dams to avoid taxes

When the sale of a property occurred in connection with the estate of the man who founded the Boy Scouts of America, the money from the sale needed to be reinvested. If the heirs of the BSA founder did not reinvest the money within a year, they would have to pay taxes of more than $500,000 to the IRS. Four hydroelectric dams were purchased, but it wound up leading to many legal problems, including those that stem from a disaster that occurred regarding the dams.

Since the dams were purchased 14 years ago, the heirs have been entangled in legal battles with various parties, including government officials, fishermen and the trust that manages the estate of the BSA founder. For years, federal regulators demanded that the largest of the four dams be upgraded with increased flood capacity. The changes were not made, resulting in a dam failure that sent billions of gallons of water downstream. More than 10,000 residents in three separate counties had to be evacuated.

An attorney speaking for one of the heirs that had purchased the dam said his client was devastated when the disaster occurred. He also stated that lack of funds is keeping his client from initiating needed repairs at the dam site. Local residents say they are not buying this excuse, adding that the heirs and the trust have been absentee owners who have neglected their obligations to make repairs for years.

The dams were purchased for $4.8 million, but the heirs did not have enough money to make the deal, so they borrowed from a private source and set up a plan to pay back the loan. It was a complex transaction that sparked disputes between the heirs and numerous other parties. Anyone in Illinois who inherits property and wishes to avoid taxes by making a purchase is wise to seek recommendations from an experienced estate law attorney in order to avoid legal problems such as those that have been unfolding in this case for more than a decade now.