*The private suburban Philadelphia swim club that made headlines last year for turning away black and Hispanic kids has been sold at a bankruptcy auction to a local synagogue.
The Huntingdon Valley-based Valley Club was sold for $1.46 million Thursday to Congregation Beth Solomon Synagogue & Community Center, according to reports. The club had filed for bankruptcy in November after a slew of racial discrimination lawsuits and a critical state report.
The gated club sits on a leafy hillside in a village straddling two overwhelmingly white townships. Last summer, the Creative Steps day camp had arranged for the youngsters to swim each Monday during last summer. But during the first visit on June 29 by 56 children — 46 black and 10 Hispanic — two youngsters reported hearing racist comments. [Watch CNN news clip of the incident below.]
The club revoked the memberships of all 56 day campers — saying there were too many children and many couldn’t swim — and the day camp’s payment was later refunded, according to the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission.
When the story sparked national outrage, club officials claimed the decision was made out of safety considerations and race had nothing to do with it. But, the commission said in a 33-page decision in September that it had found probable cause to conclude that the campers were asked not to return because of the “racial animus” expressed by one member and “racially coded comments” by other members.
The club’s bankruptcy trustee says once the sale is cleared by the court the money will be parceled out to the claimants.