by Jeff Switzer
Television camera crews were on hand at the Bothell City Council meeting this past week as the council decided if finders would be keepers in the case of the honest Boy Scout.
On Mar. 11, the Bothell City Council voted to put the four gold coins found by Matthew Wolff on display in a public place acknowledging Wolff and members of the Alderwood Manor Scout troop. The city will also set aside a community-services projects fund for the Boy Scouts and other volunteer groups.
On Feb. 24, 14-year-old Wolff and 10 members of the Alderwood Manor Scout troop were digging weeds and clearing garbage in a city-owned vacant lot when Wolff found four gold coins, wrapped in leather, inside a jam jar. Rather than keep for himself the four $20 gold pieces--three dated 1911 and the fourth from 1907, the total valued at $2,000--Wolff turned them in to the Bothell police.
But the city wouldn't give the coins back to Wolff. The city attorney said Wolff was an agent of the city working side-by-side with city employees on a city-supervised project on city property when he found the coins. State law says a city employee or agent of the city cannot put in a claim for property found on city land or while working for the city.
Assistant City Manager Manny Ocampo said that while the city's hands were tied with respect to returning the unclaimed coins to Wolff, it was the city's intention to "provide value to the Boy Scouts and recognize the honesty and integrity of this young man."
The coins are tentatively scheduled to go on display either at the Bothell Library or at the Bothell museum.