Suburban swim club bankrupted by racism lawsuit begins pay-out of funds

A public swimming pool. Credit: Wikimedia Commons A public swimming pool. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Funds have begun to be dispensed from a swim club that was sued after turning away 65 minority kids who had paid to swim there.

About $1 million will be paid from Valley Club of Huntingdon Valley to more than 60 kids who were allegedly discriminated against by the club. On Tuesday, $65,000 — originally intended to create a Diversity Leadership Council,” was distributed to six community organizations selected by the parties in the case, the Inquirer reported,

The organizations receiving funds are Youth United for Change, Urban League of Philadelphia, Police Athletic League of Philadelphia, Boys and Girls Club of Philadelphia, Camp Sojourner and Fellowship Farm.

The payout stems from an incident which occurred in June 2009, after the New Frank­ford Com­munity Y closed. Creative Steps Day Care in Oxford Circle, who usually brought their kids to swim there, paid $1,950 to the Valley Club in Montgomery COunty so they could start bringing their 60 kids to the pool one day a week.

However, when kids visited the club on June 29, some of the club’s members allegedly made racist remarks, some of the children in the group claimed, including: “What are all these black kids doing here? They might do something to my child,” according to court documents.

The original lawsuit also claims that members began pulling their kids out of the pool and standing around with their arms folded, and only three white kids were left in the pool while the group from the daycare center swam.

The club later canceled a planned second visit by the daycare center on July 3, 2009, and refunded the daycare their payment.

The Pennsylvania Human Rights Commission and U.S. Department of Justice sued the club on behalf of the kids and their parents. Facing a settlement of more than $1 million, in November 2009 the club closed, filed for bankruptcy and sold off its land.

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