Thursday, September 21, 2006

Supreme Court hears arguments on sale of Mental Health property

From the Times and Democrat:

The South Carolina Supreme Court is weighing the questions of whether or not charitable trust law applies to the nearly 200 acres of Department of Mental Health land in downtown Columbia and under what conditions the property may be sold.

The state Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday, after the Mental Health Commission and the State Budget and Control Board asked the state's top court to clarify whether a trust controls the massive Bull Street campus.Attorney General Henry McMaster said the agency's mission is a public charity and the entire Bull Street property is thus a charitable trust, an argument he also gave in an opinion he issued last December.

"A charitable trust is not an office or an address or a location but it's a relationship and that clearly existed here," McMaster said, adding that promises dating to the 1800s call for the land to be used to care for the mentally ill.McMaster said the state couldn't just sell the land for another use. "Most properties bought by the state can be handled in that fashion but this one was different," McMaster said.

No comments: