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John Buffington says Frankford Y sheriff sale delayed till December

In the ongoing saga of the New Frankford Community Y, I received this via email from John Buffington:

As of this afternoon, the Sheriff’s office reports that the sale is postponed until December.  This is GOOD news, as it gives those of us who care about the place, who, I believe, are legion, time to talk to each other about what needs to happen.  Please notify your readers about the delay, so that nobody wastes time going down there tomorrow, and please ask anybody who is interested to talk to me, at


7 thoughts on “John Buffington says Frankford Y sheriff sale delayed till December

  1. One should remember that when buying at a Sheriff Sale, all liabilities on the property will also come with the property.

    “Community center closing after 70 years
    Wednesday, June 03, 2009

    Lisa Thomas-Laury VIDEO:

    NORTHEAST PHILADELPHIA – June 3, 2009 (WPVI) — The New Frankford Community Center, located in Northeast Philadelphia, has been a fixture in the area for nearly seven decades, but its future is in doubt.

    Terry Tobin, the Executive Director of the center for the past 12 years, is hoping for a miracle to keep the center open.

    “I was doing everything we could possibly do to try and stay open; we were grasping at straws and that didn’t work, so we had to make a tough decision,” Tobin said. …” read complete text, See Video:

    The building is valued at One Million Dollars and was purchase with charitable contributions from both the public & private sectors.

    On Friday, I personally visited three local institutions who have the way & the means to purchase the building at Sheriff Sale (if it happens to go that way).

    I also made a few phone calls to various agencies mentioning the legality of selling the “debt” of a non-profit in order to mask the fact that “assets” were being sold along with the debt under fair market value.

    There is a contingency in Frankford who have intentions to have this situation made known to the IRS and into Orphans’ Court for settlement.

    The Northwood Civic Association is no longer part of this group, although they were on the right track about 18 months ago.

    I also contacted Flora Becker, the widow of the Honorable Edward R. Becker to give he an update on how the Norhwood Civic Association handled this situation. Flora was shocked and was also putting out some phone calls.

    Let’s begin looking at the history of the Y, in the not so distant past:

    “Leaders Prepare Frankford Ywca For Independence Taking The Y Private, They’ll Serve The Public. It’s Either That Or Close.

    November 16, 1994 |By Lea Sitton, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER

    It was Independence Day in Frankford yesterday, with speeches, cheers and a declaration by the YWCA branch there that it would fight for freedom.

    “Since 1942, these doors have never closed. Never,” branch director Marian Wolfe said.

    Wolfe and the other five administrators at her Y have been working without salaries for nearly a month, keeping programs going as the YWCA of Philadelphia, long financially troubled, founders.

    About three and a half weeks ago, the Y’s largest branch, at 2840 Holme Ave. in Pennypack Park, was closed. It’s up for sale. That leaves two working branches – Frankford and Southwest-Belmont. The North Central branch closed two years ago. The North Central building, at 1517 W. Girard Ave., is also on the sale block.

    The Germantown YWCA is not affiliated with the Philadelphia association.
    The demise of the YWCA’s Northeast branch in October fired up rumors that Frankford would be next.

    Supporters want to cut the Frankford branch from the main office and turn it into an independent, nonprofit corporation. Backers say the breakaway organization might keep YWCA affiliation, but that is not a primary concern.
    Yesterday, civic and religious leaders told a group of about 75 gathered at the Y – Arrott and Leiper Streets – that independence is possible.

    “It’s going to be a struggle,” Councilman Dan McElhatton told them. ”Membership is what will have to do it. We must increase the membership of the Frankford Y. . . . We can’t do it without your help and your getting the word out that the Frankford Y is not going to close.”

    Frankford needs more members to help generate income to run the operation, which will have to assume the $240,000 mortgage on the building. McElhatton said supporters also are working to identify other financing sources, including a possible city contract and help from United Way.

    “I think there is a willingness to look at the Frankford branch when they become separate,” said Joe Divis, a United Way spokesman, adding that technical expertise might also be available.

    The YWCA of Philadelphia has a history of financial woe and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in October 1991. Although offering some protection, the move also forced the Y to forfeit a crucial money source: the United Way.

    In February 1993, the YWCA emerged from bankruptcy with a restructuring plan that called on each branch to become a self-sustaining, subsidiary corporation of the head office. The branches had been working toward that end when the financial tide again grew overpowering.

    On Oct. 4, the Philadelphia YWCA board directed the three branches to plan for independence or closure. Gillian R. Gilhool, executive director of the Y, said yesterday that the direction was in keeping with the restructuring plan.

    The Southwest-Belmont branch, as well as the one in Frankford, moved to remain open. Sharon Bembery, administrator at Southwest-Belmont, said yesterday that her branch is also moving toward becoming an independent non- profit corporation.

    Gilhool said her board plans to meet Monday to consider proposals by the two branches for reshaping, or severing, their association with the main office. She said it was not clear whether the latest financial crisis would kill the Philadelphia YWCA.

    “We would like to be the YWCA of Philadelphia as we were for the past 124 years,” Gilhool said. “It certainly would be very sad if the YWCA would cease to exist, with its 125th anniversary next year.”

    But [Dan] McElhatton told the group in Frankford yesterday that “the corporate structure of the Philadelphia YWCA can’t survive. . . . The Philadelphia YWCA’s financial problems . . . have caused the Y system to disintegrate.”

    Ed Becker, a federal judge and a lifelong Frankford resident, assured the gathering that officials in the head office were ready to let go.

    “They have given me their word,” said Becker, who sits on the Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. “They are finished. They are out of business, and they will let Frankford go. . . . We will get our freedom, but we’ve got to earn our freedom.”
    He explained: “We’ve got to vastly increase our membership.”

    Becker is working to put together a founding board of directors, which would shape the new organization. One question raised at the gathering was whether that board should be all women, as is the board governing the Frankford YWCA.

    “My recommendation would be that it be a mixed board,” McElhatton said, adding that the effort to save the institution has not been single-sex. ”Believe it or not, some men in this community have made a meaningful contribution,” he said, drawing laughter.

    Wolfe, the branch director, said after the meeting, “I think it’s very important that there is a strong female presence on the board.”

    The Rev. Robin Hynicka, director of Frankford Group Ministry, said the Y is the only organization in the community “with these two goals: a mission to empower women and, along with that, to eliminate racism.”

    “The Y is absolutely necessary in this community because it has a vision for how all God’s children can be involved,” Mr. Hynicka said, his voice booming above cheers from those gathered. “Let’s continue to spread the word: This Y’s open for business.”

    If the Y was “absolutely necessary” for “all God’s children” back in 1994, then I suppose by June of 2009 “all God’s Children” have left Frankford for better places.


  2. From my current understanding of the process of sheriff sale, the property belongs to the first mortgager and they’re taking back possession through the sheriff sale. It doesn’t matter what debts the non profit has, the building isn’t theirs if they’re not keeping up on the mortgage.

  3. Jim Says: “From my current understanding of the process of sheriff sale, the property belongs to the first mortgager and they’re taking back possession through the sheriff sale. It doesn’t matter what debts the non profit has, the building isn’t theirs if they’re not keeping up on the mortgage.”

    That would normally be – but Terry Tobin did not own the Property.

    A building valued at One Million Dollars belongs to a non-profit, who did not declare bankruptcy and is subject to an Orphans’ Court hearing and everyone involved knows it.

    You cannot force one to testify against themselves but there are all those videos on You tube.

    Question? – why was the last 18 months wasted on all this:

    At the Nov. 17, 2009, Northwood Civic Association, president Barry Howell discusses Northwood Civic’s take on the possible new owner of New Frankford Y, a team led by a Anthony Bannister.

    At the Nov. 17, 2009, Northwood Civic Association meeting, Frankford Community Developers representative Anthony Bannister talks about buying the New Frankford Y and respecting the neighborhood.

    New Frankford Y: Terry Tobin introduces Anthony Bannister
    At the Nov. 17, 2009, Northwood Civic Association meeting, Frankford Community Developers representative Anthony Bannister is introduced to the

    Dec 3, 2009
    Northwood Civic Association President Barry Howell tells members of the Frankford Civic Association that his organization opposes proposed plans for the New Frankford Y, which were put forth at the November Northwood Civic Association meeting.

    Frankford Civic on the Y
    Residents discuss at the Dec. 3, 2009 Frankford Civic Association meeting plans to have a for-profit purchase the Frankford Y. In this video, I confront Peyton’s office with the Orphan’s court procedures

    Barry Howell on auditing Frankford Y
    Northwood Civic Association Barry Howell talks at the Jan. 7, 2009 Frankford Civic Association meeting about asking for an orphans court audit of the Frankford Y.

    Northwood civic on the New Frankford Community Y
    At the Northwood Civic meeting on April 20, 2010, Barry Howell, president, reports on a meeting with New Frankford Developers on their plans for the now closed Frankford Community Y. Edward R. Becker Community Center – Felicia Richardson

    Frankford Y plan changes, still scheduled to reopen in September …
    Apr 21, 2010 … New Frankford Development President Felicia Richardson … be renamed for the late former federal appeals judge Edward Becker, who was a

    Felicia Richardson at the Northwood Civic
    At the Northwood Civic Association meeting on April 20, 2010 talks about plans for the Frankford Y. President of the New Frankford developers LLC

    Barry Howell on Frankford Y news
    Uploaded by NEastPhilly on Apr 21, 2010
    no description available

    New Frankford Community Y Stakeholders Meeting « The Frankford …
    Apr 20, 2010 – Tags: barry howell, felicia richardson, Jorge Santana, New Frankford Community Y, new frankford developers, northwood civic association,

    • Barry Howell brought up that they’ve lost a lot of credibility with the Northwood Civic over the financial records issues, but that stated clearly he’s known Terry Tobin a long time and doesn’t believe Terry Tobin was involved with any financial improprieties.  Ms Richardson welcomed Mr Howell to investigate the records
    • they plan on renaming the Y after the late Edward Becker, the former federal appeals judge that once sat on the board.  They stated they had already approached his family for permission
    The meeting ended well, all parties expressed cautious optimism of the future, with the presenters pledging a fresh start.

    Frankford Y meeting group homes.mpg
    Uploaded by frankfordgazette on Apr 26, 2010
    At the meeting about the Frankford Y proposal, this is the segment where the issue of group homes is discussed. At this Luncheon, Terry Tobin is alive & well.

    Tony Bannister on Frankford Y failure
    Developer Tony Bannister outlines his failure to acquire the Frankford Y, at the Northwood Civic Association meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2010.

    We’re going to ask to level’ the Frankford Y
    At Sept. 20, 2011, Northwood Civic Meeting, President Barry Howell says the Frankford Y has to go, if no tenant is found.

    The You-Tube videos are proof & testimony that Peyton’s office & Sanchez’ Office & the Civic are aware of the Orphans Court & IRS rules but have chosen to ignore them.

    Let’s Gamble & let the chips fall where they may.


  4. I cant imagine that property being valued at a million dollars.

  5. Judge Edward Becker was a friend of mine. If he was alive today, no-one would even try and pull off a scam like they are trying to pull off with this sheriff sale.

    This is an outrageous rip-off of the Frankford & Northwood Community and Tony Payton should hang his head in shame for not following the rules of law.

    The One Million dollar figure is the assessment by the City of Philadelphia BRT:

    Certified Values for 2011
    Sales Information
    Market Value: $1,247,400
    Sales Date: 7/3/1996
    Assessed Land (Taxable):
    Sales Price: $145,000

    The Frankford Y never filed to the State for dissolution.

    The first thing that should be investigated is the Articles of Incorporation to see if there is a dissolution clause:

    Dissolving a 501(c)(3)
    A 501(c)(3) organization must file for dissolution first with its state and then send the approved dissolution documentation to the IRS. It is important for an organization to include items such as property and investments.

    I will have a copy of the New Frankford Community Y’s Articles of Incorporation for the Frankford Gazette to display by the week’s end.

    There is a very good reason why the Orphans’ Court should be involved.

    In 1941 the Frankford YWCA was formed under a bequeath in accordance to the Will of Eliza Heggerman which left specific property to be used for the formation of a Christian Woman’s Organization in Frankford. That bequeath led to the formation of the Frankford Branch of the Y.W.C.A. ( which latter became the Frankford Y).

    As much as I dislike many existing “Christian Organizations,” this might save the Frankford Y by replacing it with a similar operation; one already in Frankford:  (02-23-1999)
Example of Dissolution Provision

    1. The following language illustrates a dissolution provision that properly dedicates an organization’s assets: “Upon the dissolution of this organization, assets shall be distributed for one or more exempt purposes within the meaning of section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or corresponding section of any future federal tax code, or shall be distributed to the federal government, or to a state or local government, for a public purpose.”  (02-23-1999)
Operation of State Law a/k/a “The Cy Pres Doctrine”

    1. If an organization’s articles do not expressly provide for proper distribution of its assets on dissolution, state law may intervene to provide for distribution. If assets are properly dedicated by operation of law, no amendments to the articles are needed.

    2. Rev. Proc. 82–2, 1982–1 C.B. 367, identifies four areas of state law, depending on the form of entity, that can provide for dissolution:

    A. The cy pres doctrine as to inter vivos charitable trusts;

    B. The cy pres doctrine as to testamentary charitable trusts, which can exist in a particular state by case law or statute;

    C. State corporate law provisions that provide for the distribution of assets upon the dissolution of nonprofit corporations;

    D. State law by court decision or statute that govern unincorporated associations.

    3. The cy pres doctrine is a principle of law that courts use to save a charitable trust from failing when a charitable objective is originally, or later becomes, impossible or impracticable to fulfill. Cy pres, which comes from French law and means “so near” or “as near as possible” , is based on the theory that a court has the power to revise a charitable trust if the maker (also called the creator, settlor, or—if under a will—testator) had a charitable intent to meet unexpected emergencies or changes in conditions that threaten the trusts existence. The court may substitute another charitable object it believes will approach the original charitable purpose as closely as possible.

    4. Courts do not automatically apply the cy pres doctrine to charitable trusts. They usually first need to find that the testator had a general charitable intent in creating the trust. If it appears that the testator wanted only to accomplish a particular purpose and did not have a general intent to benefit charity, the majority of courts will presume that the testator would prefer to have the trust fail if the particular purpose is or becomes impossible to accomplish.

    5. In contrast, the majority of courts apply the cy pres doctrine when a testator makes a general bequest for charity, or for general charitable purposes, without specifying a particular purpose or beneficiary. In such a case, the court will choose a particular purpose for the disposition of the property consistent with the testator’s general charitable intent. The following example shows how a state court might apply cy pres: X bequeathed his residuary estate to Hospital A for the benefit of tubercular children. When X died, Hospital A no longer existed. His heirs filed suit claiming that the legacy lapsed and the residuary estate passed to them by intestacy. The court held that the gift to Hospital A was a charitable bequest because the gift was not intended for a particular institution, but for the benefit of tubercular children as a class with the hospital as trustee. As the trust’s purpose (treatment of tubercular children) still existed, even though the hospital did not, the legacy did not lapse because cy pres applied. The court awarded the legacy to another local hospital as trustee for the benefit of tubercular children.

    After the State dissolves the corporation You should then notify the IRS that your organization has been dissolved.

    The IRS instructions are at:,,id=156422,00.html

    If you are not dissolving you would need to use the funds for religious, educational or charitable purposes as required by Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Code and your Articles of Incorporation.  


  6. NCA President Emeritus

    I hope you continue your investigation into the legality of this sheriff sale.

    The first time the Frankford Y was to go up for sheriff sale was in December 2010, two months after Anthony Bannister said he was backing out of the deal to lease the Frankford Y. At that time I suspected that the sheriff sale was a way for Terry Tobin and Anthony Bannister to obtain ownership of the Y. Anthony Bannister and Terry Tobin’s original plan was to buy the property and run it as a for profit business. Mr. Bannister’s organization was called New Frankford Development Corp. and he claimed to own the apartments next door to the Frankford Y on Leiper St. The owner of those apartments still shows as “Grand Leiper,LP”.

    By the way, anybody know what ever happened to the New Frankford Development Corp. and Felicia Richardson and Anthony Bannister?

  7. Northwood Civic Will be talking about the Frankford Y at our next meeting 10-18-11@ St James @ Castor and Pratt 7:00 pm . Anyone with questions are welcome . Barry Pres. NWCA

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