Monday, November 16, 2009

Racist Philadelphia Swim Club Files For Bankruptcy

The Valley Swim club — the "private, exclusive" swim club that turned away 65 inner-city day care children — is filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

But, they're quick to point out, it wasn't because of the allegations this past summer that they're all a bunch of racists and bigots who didn't want black and Hispanic kids in their pool.

(That's the same pool where some members said they just didn't want poor people, but race had nothing to do with it. "This has nothing to do with race. I paid my money for a private swim club…if they're gonna have it out to camps, then I want my money back," said one member.)

According to a story in the Philadelphia Daily News, Valley Swim Club president John Duesler emailed club members and said that the board of directors voted to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

But Duesler said that it wasn't the legal proceedings of defending themselves against several civil lawsuits. Rather, the rich, snooty members of the Valley Swim Club weren't enough to keep the pool afloat. (Get it? Pool? Afloat? Ah, never mind.)

And while many will point towards our legal situation and negative media exposure this summer as the reason for this decision, the truth is that the club has struggled to stay out of the red for at least the last decade. Despite our most ambitious efforts and countless hours of dedication towards the club, we have been unable to grow our membership enough to sustain The Valley Club any longer. Indeed, we have not been profitable, for as long as I’ve been with the club. And our current debt from this year’s operation and legal fees now exceeds $100,000.

Look at the next-to-last sentence. I think this says more than anything about why the club is going under for the last time:

Indeed, we have not been profitable, for as long as I’ve been with the club.

I'm not trying to gloat about the demise of an elitist, exclusionary, rich swim club that denied a bunch of kids the chance to swim, just after they had accepted a contract to allow them to swim, but I called this back when the story first broke: Duesler is basically incompetent.

Back in July, he said the reason they didn't want the kids there was because they didn't have enough lifeguards to handle the extra workload, despite accepting Creative Steps' check for $1,950, and the checks of two other day care centers. This is what I said:

What Duesler said he meant to say was his site does not have enough lifeguards to safely watch over the 65 extra kids.

Muh-huh. So you're not a racist, you're just incompetent?

In other words, he meant to say that he overcommitted his pool, that he failed to plan properly, that he couldn't find any way to fix the problem without becoming a pariah, that he wasn't able to marshal his resources properly, and basically can't properly run a private swimming club for a bunch of snooty rich people without sticking his foot in his mouth.

And now, he has said that during his entire tenure there, he hasn't been able to make the pool run successfully.

I can't say I feel bad for the Valley Swim Club. They were either incompetently run, which Duesler has admitted to, or they're a bunch of racists, which other members have shown themselves to be.

While I should feel bad about my overwhelming sense of schadenfreude, I don't. People who still believe in Jim Crow in the 21st century need to have this kind of shame and humiliation brought down on them. There is no place for racism in this country or this century, and the sooner you learn that, the better off we'll all be.

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