The clock is ticking for The Second Mile’s plan to transfer its assets to a Texas youth organization.
If it goes much longer, the charity might not have any money to transfer and might have to shut down, a charity official said Friday.
The case is awaiting a judge to set a date in Centre County Court to hear objections from the victims of the charity’s founder, Jerry Sandusky, who oppose the transfer of millions of dollars.
“If they give us a hearing six months from now, it’s going to be too late,” said Dave Woodle, the charity’s interim CEO and vice chairman of its board. “At some point, we won’t have the $2.5 million to transfer.”
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In May, the charity filed a petition to transfer its assets to Houston-based Arrow Child and Family Ministries Inc., saying it had lost significant donor and community support because of the criminal case that enveloped Sandusky, who after retiring from Penn State, devoted more time to the charity where he met his victims.
A month later, victims’ attorneys objected to the transfer, and the case was on hold until a judge from Warren and Forest counties was assigned last week.
Senior Judge William F. Morgan will preside over the case because the four Centre County judges recused themselves because of their connections to The Second Mile or Penn State.
Woodle said charity officials hoped to get a court date before Sandusky’s trial, which was in mid-June. Centre County court officials asked the state court for a judge’s assignment at the end of June, after the Sandusky verdict.
A state court spokesman said Morgan is reviewing the case and proceedings should be scheduled soon.
The charity may have to amend the petition. For instance, the amount of money — $2.5 million — may need to be changed. Other changes are “up in the air,” Woodle said.
“I think we’ll be making a tweak to the petition before we go to court,” he said.
The Second Mile isn’t taking donations and can’t touch a $3.5 million endowment that would be part of the proposed transfer to Arrow.
So it has to operate with money it has on hand to pay its staff of about nine and run its programs.
This week, the charity held a summer camp at Juniata College in Huntingdon. Next week, there’s another summer camp. This summer, more than 300 children were signed up for camps.
More than 30 highschoolers participated in a camp a few weeks ago that wrapped up with an awards ceremony in a Patton Township park. Participants spoke of how much they appreciated the camp and how they looked forward to it.
Programs like these are supposed to live on with Arrow after the proposed transfer.
The Second Mile’s board, which included a number of wealthy local residents and philanthropists, has been reduced to five from more than 30. The president is still real estate developer Bob Poole.
The charity’s headquarters on South Atherton Street is for sale, and the charity has a buyer for the land along Bernel Road in Patton Township where it hoped to relocate its offices before the scandal erupted.
As the charity’s shutting down draws closer, questions still remain over what Second Mile officials knew about the allegations against Sandusky. The grand jury presentment and Penn State’s Freeh report point to former CEO Jack Raykovitz knowing about allegations in 2001 and 2008.
An internal review done by a former Philadelphia prosecutor concluded, as the Centre Daily Times reported in May, with a recommendation the charity close and transfer its programs.
The review was thought to address what officials including Raykovitz knew, but whether those questions will be answered remains to be seen.
Mike Dawson can be reached at 231-4616. Follow him on Twitter @MikeDawsonCDT