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February 24, 2005

Whistle-blower sues Boy Scouts

Mail Tribune

"Phantom" troops have inflated Boy Scout numbers and executive salaries in the local scouting council,
according to a former employee who is suing the organization.

Claiming wrongful discharge from the Scouts' Crater Lake Council, the former western area director said he
was forced to resign after uncovering evidence of non-existent members on the rolls. In his lawsuit, John Mangan is seeking a judgment of $296,000 against the council for lost wages and emotional distress.

Mangan's case is the first reported instance of "phantom" Boy Scout troops in the state, said Victoria Cox, spokeswoman for the Oregon Department of Justice. The FBI has opened investigations around the country
into similar allegations against the Boy Scouts of America.

Mangan discovered numerous Scouts who did not exist but had been identified on the council's books shortly
after he was hired in November of 2001, according to his suit, filed in December in Jackson County Circuit
Court. A volunteer with the Boy Scouts for 25 years and a paid employee for 10, Mangan, 62, said he had no
previous knowledge of inflated troop numbers.

"I was shocked," he said Wednesday. "After I found out about all this stuff, I was really disheartened to go out and raise money for that council."

Mangan said seven phantom troops of about eight to 24 scouts each were on the books in Jackson, Josephine
and Siskiyou counties. One imaginary troop listed four handicapped scouts in its ranks, he added.

The Crater Lake Council serves 10 counties in Southern Oregon and Northern California and lists a membership of 5,300.

Mangan says the district manager previously in charge of scouting membership admitted to him that the
records were doctored to make them "look better" because annual salary increases were determined by
scouting participation. According to the suit, Mangan asked for the employee's resignation, and she agreed
to quit.

However, Mangan's own work then came under fire, he said. He alleges local Boy Scout executive Ed Weiseth
interfered with his projects, moved his staff and changed his job description. Mangan said he sought and
was approved for a job transfer to Utah, but was denied that position. On Sept., 1, 2003, Weiseth allegedly told Mangan he could resign or be fired.

"They got nervous that I was finding these," Mangan said.

After Boy Scout officials heard his allegation, the council's membership records showed a reduction of more than 600 scouts between 2001 and 2002, Mangan said. The biggest drop was in Josephine County, he added, from 942 youth to 703.

A former Central Point resident, Mangan now works for the Boy Scouts in Wyoming. But he said he failed to
find employment with the organization until January this year because Weiseth falsely characterized Mangan
as an unsatisfactory employee. Mangan is asking for $146,000 in lost wages and $150,000 to compensate him
for emotional distress.

When contacted Wednesday, Weiseth declined to respond to Mangan's allegations.

United Way of Jackson County executive director Dee Anne Everson, whose organization funds the Boy Scouts, said she called the local council office Wednesday after being contacted by the Mail Tribune. She said
Scout officials denied keeping ghost troops on the books.

"Our board would ask for some answers ... because they're donated dollars from people who trust us to do the right thing," Everson said.

In light of nationwide allegations against the Boy Scouts, the local United Way chapter had planned to scrutinize Scout participation before approving more funding, Everson said. The Boy Scouts' current grant of $9,537 is due to expire in June, she added.

While United Way of Jackson County has decreased its support of the Boy Scouts since 2001, it remains
United Way's fourth-largest youth program, Everson said.

The Crater Lake Council reported revenues of $1,143,271 for fiscal year 2003. Charitable contributions accounted for $422,485. The organization's expenses were $1,092,433.

Reach reporter Sarah Lemon at 776-4487, or e-mail (




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