The company that has operated North Augusta Country Club since 2007 closed the club last week after losing insurance coverage and having its assets frozen, its manager said.
Club Manager Janet Meadows said the club shut down Thursday at the request of the new owner, Donnie Thompson. Meadows said the request came after Thompson learned that the managing company’s liability insurance had lapsed.
“Mr. Thompson came in and said it would be best if we shut down, considering the circumstances,” Meadows said.
Thompson, who purchased the 131-acre property for $1.2 million on June 27, said the decision to close wasn’t his.
“It wasn’t me,” he said. “I’m just the landowner.”
Meadows said she learned from Regions Bank that all the club’s accounts had been frozen, so she has no access to operating money. She said the bank would not say why the accounts were frozen.
Meadows said the only person who has the ability to close the accounts is Fred W. Layman III, the Martinez businessman who bought the country club in April 2007.
Layman is serving a 16-month federal prison sentence after pleading guilty last year to federal mortgage fraud charges. He was accused of having his stepdaughter falsify financial information on mortgage loan applications involving the federal lender Fannie Mae between December 2006 and December 2007.
Meadows, who served as the club’s controller before Layman was charged, said that as far as she knew, her former boss did not owe money to the federal government.
“He doesn’t owe anything,” she said. “He paid his taxes.”
Thompson said he has had limited contact with the current managers since he became owner and was waiting for their proposal to continue operating the club when events forced its closure.
“We really didn’t get a chance to sit down and talk,” he said.
For the past three weeks, Thompson said, he has had a crew at the club making necessary repairs.
“It has really been allowed to run down in the past few years,” he said.
Thompson said it appears the current management would need a big infusion of cash to resume operations.
In the meantime, he is looking to other companies that might want to come in and take over, although he currently has no firm proposals.
“I want it to be a first-class operation,” he said.