- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 4, 2014

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) - A Scott County judge has ruled that a Girl Scout council has the right to decide whether to sell any of the group’s property without the approval of members.

Judge Marlita Greve sided Monday with the local council and against a group of five women who sought to block the sale of Girl Scout camps in eastern Iowa. The Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois had considered selling the camps in an effort to resolve financial difficulties.

Diane Nelson, the chief executive officer of the local Girl Scouts council, told the Quad-City Times (https://bit.ly/1q02taC ) on Monday she was relieved by the verdict.

“It hasn’t really stopped us from moving forward with providing great outdoor programs for our girls, but it’s unfortunate we had to use so many resources with the case,” she said.

Nelson said the lawsuit cost the council “thousands of dollars, and endless hours and time that we had to use to defend.”

The decision followed a two-day trial in January in which the five women sought to block the local council from selling property without the approval of members. The council had considered shoring up its finances by selling Camp Conestoga near Davenport, Camp Little Cloud near Dubuque, Camp L-Kee-Ta near Burlington and Camp Tahigwa near Decorah.

The Bettendorf-based nonprofit had argued the group needed to make changes because the camps were losing hundreds of thousands of dollars amid declining attendance and interest from members. However, Girl Scout officials now say they don’t intend to sell the camps.

The women who filed the lawsuit said in a statement Monday night that they were reviewing their options.

One of them, Jane I. Duax, was disappointed by the ruling.

“The Girl Scout movement is supposed to be led by members and create leaders, yet they don’t trust their members to make intelligent decisions and vote on property that donors from the community raised with cookie sales,” she said.

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Information from: Quad-City Times, https://www.qctimes.com

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