November 6, 2014;

In yet another example of governance imposed externally on organizations when constituents disagree with board decisions, the Salvation Army will have to fight for the ability to sell one of its buildings in New York.

In New York yesterday, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed a motion to block the sale of a senior housing facility now owned by the Salvation Army to a luxury developer. The Salvation Army wants to sell the building, which it has owned for 50 years, for $108 million. It has offered to relocate the residents to a newer, state-of-the-art facility. Residents, however, do not want to leave their community, and some elected officials are supporting them. Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, for instance, argues that the sale is not consistent with the mission of the Salvation Army.

Schneiderman argued in his motion to the Supreme Court that the sale of the Williams Memorial Residence would cause “severe stress and hardship” to the 192 elderly residents and, further, would be a “betrayal” of the promises made to them that they could stay there through their lifetimes.

In the end, the attorney general must approve the sale, but a spokesman for the attorney general’s office has said:

“The Salvation Army’s proposed sale will result in stress, disruption, and relocation for elderly residents of the building they now call home…Attorney General Schneiderman strongly urges the Court to listen to the concerns of residents, consider the hardship this move will bring to almost 200 senior citizens, and dismiss the Salvation Army’s application.”

The case will go back to court on November 14th.—Ruth McCambridge