The Philadelphia-area swim club which 56 Black and Latino children were barred from attending last year was sold at a bankruptcy auction on May 13 to a nearby synagogue, after legal bills racked up in its defense of the incident left it broke.
The Huntingdon Valley Swimming Club was sold for $1.46 million to Congregation Beth Solomon of Northeast Philadelphia. Vlad Tinovsky, the synagogue’s attorney, did not say what the club would be used for.
“The congregation is very excited, but we are not yet sure how we intend to use it. We would like to use it within its existing recreational and educational nature,” Tinovsky told CNN.
On June 29, children from Philadelphia’s Creative Steps day camp visited the swim club on what was to be the first of a series of arranged swimming trips. When club members, none of whom where Black, complained, the deal with the day camp was rescinded and the day camp’s $1,950 payment was returned.
The swim club said the deal was rescinded due to safety and crowd control, not the racial makeup of the day camp, but by then a public furor had already begun.
As a result, the club was hit with lawsuits from the family of one child and the Justice Department, as well as a state Human Relations Commission investigation. The legal bills associated with the lawsuits left the swim club broke.
Officials from Creative Steps said they are excited that the club is out of business, but that they still regret that the event ever took place.
“Creative Steps is ecstatic at the verdict, but we’re sad that it took such an unfortunate situation involving children to occur to show that racism is still alive,” Antonio Wright, supervisor and program coordinator at Creative Steps, told CNN.