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State Bank & Trust Co. v. Park Ridge School

MARCH 20, 1962.

STATE BANK AND TRUST COMPANY, AN ILLINOIS BANKING CORPORATION, AS TRUSTEE UNDER A TRUST CREATED BY LILLIAN B. BUCK UNDER INSTRUMENT DATED DECEMBER 31, 1930, KNOWN AS TRUST NO. 1158, AND THE FIRST NATIONAL BANK OF CHICAGO, A NATIONAL BANKING ASSOCIATION, AS TRUSTEE UNDER A TRUST CREATED BY LILLIAN B. BUCK UNDER INSTRUMENT DATED FEBRUARY 19, 1931, KNOWN AS TRUST NO. 13702, PLAINTIFF,

v.

PARK RIDGE SCHOOL FOR GIRLS, AN ILLINOIS NOT-FOR-PROFIT CORPORATION, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE. FIRST CHURCH OF CHRIST (SCIENTIST), AN UNINCORPORATED RELIGIOUS BODY, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. DANIEL A. ROBERTS, Judge, presiding. Decree and final order affirmed; cross-appeal dismissed.

MR. PRESIDING JUSTICE FRIEND DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Plaintiffs, as trustees under two separate inter vivos trusts created in 1930 and 1931 by Lillian B. Buck, now deceased, filed a complaint for construction of the trusts and instructions relative thereto. Each of the parties defendant, Park Ridge School for Girls and First Church of Christ (Scientist), made conflicting demands upon plaintiffs, both of whom claimed to be in doubt as to what course to follow regarding the payment of income and corpora of the trusts. Pursuant to a full hearing, the chancellor entered a decree, dated December 23, 1960, holding that the school had not violated the conditions of the trusts and specifically had not violated the conditions of paragraphs 7 and 8 thereof (which were primarily in contention); the decree provided that the attorneys' fees, costs, and expenses incurred in the proceeding by all the parties be paid from the trust assets. On April 26, 1961 the chancellor entered a final order providing specific disbursements from the trust assets in payment of the attorneys' fees and other expenses incurred in connection with the prosecution of the suit. The church appeals from the decree and the order except for those portions thereof which awarded attorneys' fees, costs, and expenses. The school filed a cross-appeal from such portions of the decree and order as allowed to the church payment from the trust assets of its attorneys' fees, costs, and expenses incurred in these proceedings. The chancellor made the appeal and cross-appeal supersedeas.

The school was organized after the Civil War to help care for girls left without families or homes. In 1879 it was incorporated as the Illinois Industrial School for Girls, but since only State institutions are privileged to use the word "Illinois" as the first word in their titles the name of the school was legally changed in 1913 to the Park Ridge School for Girls. The Old Soldiers' Home in Evanston was originally used as quarters for the school. In 1883 an improved farm of forty acres was purchased in what is now Park Ridge, and for many years all food and supplies for the school were produced there. As the attendance increased, enlarged quarters became necessary, and in 1908 a building program was begun. The school is presently situated on a fifteen-acre tract of the original farm and is improved with seven brick houses in which the girls reside, a school building, an administration building, a house for the administrator, and two houses for the staff.

The school is governed by a board of directors composed solely of women; over the years it has included many outstanding civic and welfare leaders — Myra Bradwell, Jane Addams, Mrs. Charles Henrotin, Ella Flagg Young, Mrs. Emmons Blaine, Mrs. James Houghteling, and Mrs. Andrew MacLeish. The settlor of these trusts, Lillian B. Buck, was a member of the board for many years and managed the farm department when it was being operated. The first trust, dated December 31, 1930 and administered by the State Bank and Trust Company of Evanston, provided for the erection as well as the maintenance of the Orlando J. Buck Hall; the second trust, dated February 12, 1931 and administered by the First National Bank of Chicago, provided for the maintenance of Buck Hall.

In recent years the average attendance at the school has been forty-four girls, ranging in age from twelve to nineteen years, sent there principally through the family court and other county courts. The intake policy is nonsectarian, and girls of various religions are accepted. The school maintained on the premises covers seventh grade through first-year high school and is academically accredited. The Park Ridge School is accredited by the Welfare Council of Metropolitan Chicago, the Social Service Exchange, the Chicago Association of Commerce and Industry, and the Community Fund of Chicago. Its sources of revenue are contributions from individuals and organizations, endowments, and trust funds such as those under consideration. It receives deficit financing through the Community Fund of Chicago. Under the practice of that fund the school is required to prepare monthly accounts of expenditures, classified in accordance with the requirements established by the Community Fund.

Girls who have completed the first year of high school on the grounds are then accredited to go to the Maine Township High School where their tuition costs are assumed by the Park Ridge School. Those girls who are not able to meet the requirements of Maine High School are given vocational training at the Park Ridge School. The school does not offer academic courses during the summer, but during the vacation period a program of recreation is provided in which participation is voluntary.

The school maintains a case-work program with three professionally trained workers who have the responsibility of dealing with any emotional and antisocial problems presented by the girls; the purpose of the program is to help them clarify their position with respect to society, and to return them to their families and to society as quickly as possible.

Except for the numbers of the trusts, dates of execution, and other differences not here relevant, both trust agreements are substantially similar. Each preamble recites that the school maintains a home for girls who are dependent or in need of charitable aid. Paragraph 7, one of the provisions out of which this controversy arises, provides that the trustee of each trust shall make quarterly payments to the school for the care, maintenance, and upkeep of Orlando J. Buck Hall

"so long as said School is operated strictly as a Protestant institution and lives up to the conditions hereinafter set forth, and the term `Protestant institution' is hereby understood and agreed to be as follows:

"Membership on the Board of Directors or on the teaching staff or in the housing administration of the Park Ridge School for Girls of any person of the Roman Catholic faith shall be understood to violate the provisions of this Trust";

and further provides that in such event "said Trust Estate then remaining shall be turned over" to the "Mother Church — the First Church of Christ Scientist" of Boston, Massachusetts or San Francisco, California for certain specific uses.

With respect to paragraph 7 it appears from the evidence that during the period involved in this litigation sixty-three women have served on the board of directors, none of whom has been of the Roman Catholic faith. Nine persons have served on the teaching staff, none of whom has been of the Roman Catholic faith. Three executive directors have been employed, but no case-work administrator or assistant director has been employed. None of the persons so employed has been of the Roman Catholic faith. Seventy-five other employees have been on the pay roll of the school, ten of the Roman Catholic faith: one janitor, one relief switchboard operator, one maid, one dietician, three housemothers, one relief housemother, one summer program director, and one assistant group worker or housekeeper. Each cottage in which the girls reside has a housemother who lives there on a twenty-four-hour basis five days a week. During the time the full-time housemother is off duty a relief housemother is assigned to the house. Approximately nine housemothers are employed by the school at any given time. If the housemother is married and has a family, they live in the cottage with her. The job description specifically provides that "the mothers of cottage groups are under the general supervision of the Casework Administrator and the direct supervision of the Executive Director." It appears from the undisputed testimony that the housemothers are responsible for implementing the rules and regulations set up by the executive director. A housemother acts as a substitute mother, creating a homelike atmosphere and maintaining a well-run household; she supervises the girls with respect to personal care, social behavior, and housekeeping duties. The girls come to their housemother for advice on minor problems — what clothes to wear, what boys to date; but any emotional problems are referred to the caseworker. Housemothers are directed to encourage each girl to attend the church of her choice and to make arrangements therefor, but not to force a child to go to any church. Although no professional training is required of a housemother it is sometimes difficult for the school to attract suitable applicants; it recruits such employees by means of newspaper advertising.

With respect to paragraph 7, the chancellor found that the Park Ridge School complied with the terms of the trusts. In his oral remarks at the time the case was decided he observed that "there was a reason for the woman's act in giving the money. That was, that she wanted to see the school maintained and taken care of, as far as she could, that is, the administration of an institution based on the Protestant aspect." Park Ridge School at the time the Buck trusts were created was a Protestant institution and is at the present time generally regarded as such. In its essential aspects it has been and is now operated as a Protestant institution within the requirements set forth in the trust agreements. It is conceded that these requirements were observed in that persons of the Roman Catholic faith were excluded from membership on the board of directors and from membership on the teaching staff. Dispute arises as to whether employment of four Catholic housemothers in the third category, the housing administration, and of Joseph Magee, a Catholic, as summer recreational director, violated the trusts. The chancellor held that the housing-administration category includes only the top-level executive core which makes policy; that it does not include such employees as janitors, maintenance men, maids, dieticians, housekeepers, or housemothers, who carry out the policy and maintain and operate the housing facilities. In his oral remarks the chancellor expressed his findings as follows:

"The Court's view, after hearing all that has been said, is that the word `Directors' and the word `Teachers' and the words `housing administration' include the top level and do not include the bottom, do not include the middle, have nothing whatever to do with the use ...


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