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Augusta golf course operators months behind on rent payments

Friday, Aug 17, 2012 5:29 PM
Last updated Saturday, Aug 18, 2012 8:38 AM
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“The Patch” is late on the rent.

In fact, The Patch in Augusta LLC, headed by Scottish businessman Brian Hendry, hasn’t paid rent since April 11, according to a notice issued Wednesday by the city to Hendry’s Augusta attorney.

The city is demanding that the firm cover an outstanding balance of $5,000 in 10 days or risk the immediate termination of its lease, which had a 10-year term.

The Augusta Commission considered the deal a bargain when it voted last year to lease the golf course to Hendry. Instead of the thousands of dollars in annual operating losses the course experienced under city management, the city gained rental income of $1,000 a month.

Any issues with nonpayment of employee wages had been cleared up Friday, said Mayor Pro Tem Joe Bowles, who supports outsourcing the course’s management.

Bowles said club pro Ronnie MacDonald had been prevented from re-entering the United States at one point because his visa had expired.

He added that a local group of Patch players was “chomping at the bit” to take on management of the course because Hendry’s group was having trouble.

The group is not Affiniti Golf Partners, Bowles said. Affiniti, which operates nearby Forest Hills Golf Course, offered to manage the course for a $5,000 monthly fee last year, but the commission voted to lease the course to The Patch in Augusta instead.

This year, the commission voted against authorizing the firm to use a $300,000 sales tax allocation approved by voters for the city-owned course to make improvements at The Patch.

City Administrator Fred Russell said he had received recent reports that conditions have gone down at the golf course.

Hendry did not respond to an e-mail requesting comment.

Comments (14) Add comment
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Tullie
2930
Points
Tullie 08/17/12 - 04:36 pm
3
0
What is a

What is a cure notice?

Another fine example of contracting out instead of using resources from within that turned to crap.

augusta citizen
10010
Points
augusta citizen 08/17/12 - 04:55 pm
3
0
why so long?

Haven't paid rent since April, this is August, has ARC taken this long to figure this out?

augusta citizen
10010
Points
augusta citizen 08/17/12 - 04:58 pm
3
1
Has anyone called?

Hey, rather than discussing it at a Commission meeting and going on and on for another month or so to vote and decide what to do, how about give me the phone number of this Brian Hendry, and I'll give him a no-nonsense collection call and hammer down on when the payment will be made.

soapy_725
44110
Points
soapy_725 08/17/12 - 07:29 pm
0
0
Third Friday in River City.....
Unpublished

More incompetent management of ARC trust and tax revenues by clowns with no shame. They defraud and rape the citizens of Augusta on a minute by minute schedule. It is criminal. Our "International Heritage" apart from the ANGC, is that if you are looking for a county government of idiots to rob, the name is spelled AUGUSTA GA.

soapy_725
44110
Points
soapy_725 08/17/12 - 07:32 pm
0
0
Where can you go in the world
Unpublished

to find the MOST INCOMPETENT, CORRUPT group of city officials. East of 1-20 on the Savannah River.

tckr1983
365
Points
tckr1983 08/17/12 - 08:20 pm
2
1
Guess this would explain

the knee-high grass when I drove by to the ASU forum yesterday... it looks horrible. Quickly running out of options here...

Jake
34040
Points
Jake 08/17/12 - 08:27 pm
4
1
Sad

When I played the Patch in early April it was not in the shape I had expected. Other than the bunker on the right of the first hole I did not see any improvements to the course. And even that bunker did not add anything to the first hole in terms of "improvement", it was just something different. I had originally thought that this Scottish group was going to implement improvements into the course and at least bring it up to the level of play of Forest Hills. I was wrong and it looks like this venture is just a waste. Sad, because I love the Patch for many sentimental reasons.

Little Lamb
48969
Points
Little Lamb 08/17/12 - 08:28 pm
4
3
Get Rid of It

Demolish the clubhouse and the barns; harrow and pan the land to make it level; and donate the land to gru. There's no need for city taxpayers to continue paying the deficits on this enterprise.

justthefacts
24990
Points
justthefacts 08/17/12 - 08:54 pm
4
0
Mistake

Looks like Grady Smith was right. Should have chosen Affiniti Golf Partners.

Little Lamb
48969
Points
Little Lamb 08/17/12 - 09:32 pm
5
0
No Worry

The administrator of this city is Fred (What, me worry?) Russell. He is expected to manage the personnel and the finances. He knew the Patch was in arrears, but he doesn't care; he doesn't worry. He has six votes on the commission on his side.

HighSociety
1841
Points
HighSociety 08/18/12 - 03:42 am
5
0
Hendry has been MIA for

Hendry has been MIA for awhile. I'm surprised they've just noticed. Once the commission decided not to provide the three hundred thousand Hendry was in the wind. Most of the regulars have jumped ship to other courses, so I would shut it down and sell the land.

Riverman1
93494
Points
Riverman1 08/18/12 - 07:04 am
5
1
Another Way to Look at It

If the city were paying the other operator $5 thousand a month to run it we would be even farther behind moneywise.

owensjef3
5639
Points
owensjef3 08/18/12 - 06:38 am
3
0
Saw this coming
Unpublished

Saw this coming

blues550
380
Points
blues550 08/18/12 - 06:57 am
0
0
Unfair
Unpublished

Shame on each and every one. There have been massive upgrades. Why just the other month they invested in a Scottish flag hanging at the club house. Folks, that is progress.

404Law
226
Points
404Law 08/18/12 - 07:48 am
4
1
Lockett was right

Lockett was right about the parking deck deal AND he was right about the outsourcing of the city's bus services AND he was right about the outsourcing of the patch. His concerns about these half witted deals seem to have been right on the mark. Funny how the establishment turns to Joe Bowles each time Lockett has been proven correctly about these issues. Take a look back through the Chronicle's archives. Without fail, Joe has been summoned to explain on behalf of the gang of six why outsourcing for these projects didn't work. Lockett appears to be a bit ahead of the gang. I wonder when the AC and commenters on this page will start giving credit where credit is due.

scorehouse
196
Points
scorehouse 08/18/12 - 08:04 am
1
0
no harm...
Unpublished

no foul. the reason the patch was outsourced was to stop losing money. so no money lost. the Affiniti group is ready to step in so you have a new management team ready to go. this may be a blessing in disguise. don't know why the city either reneged on the 300,000 for improvements or maybe it was never promised by just assumed by the Patch Group they would receive it? in hindsight, if given the money, they may have absconded with it anyway. actually a good way to flush out the potential theives. as for the back rent, i don't know the terms of the lease as to how far you can go into arrears. is 5000 due in 10 days or 3 to 4 months back rent in total?

omnomnom
3964
Points
omnomnom 08/18/12 - 09:23 am
2
1
amen 404. lockett is called a

amen 404. lockett is called a stonewaller when keeping the powers in check and calling them out. he's not given credit for looking and letting others know nows not the time to leap

Riverman1
93494
Points
Riverman1 08/18/12 - 10:51 am
1
1
Agree with the positive remarks about Lockett

He does look at things in logical ways that go against the grain at times and recognizes when things are amiss. Still a philosophy to privatize in order to save money is not a bad one and he may be missing the bigger picture here.

ImPOed
18
Points
ImPOed 08/18/12 - 12:22 pm
2
0
If the patch is that stretch

If the patch is that stretch of land on Demascus Road just kill the lease and either lease it to Augusta State (or whatever the name will be) or sell it to them so they can expand.

Lanah30
4
Points
Lanah30 08/18/12 - 02:18 pm
2
1
Whats the other side?

First let me say I realize the reasoning for going public with the story. The community has a right to know what is going on and also to be left in wonder as to what will happen from this point on. However, there is always another side to a story. Though Hendry is "MIA" as some say, I rest assure he is not walking away just like that. As any smart person would do in his situation, he is surely talking to his own legal reps and has his own plan. Perhaps there was a 'reason' behind lack of payment and that there WAS communication. I know Brian personally and as a friend. I can tell you that even though he is not from the U.S., he loves Augusta. I'd feel confident in saying.. Even more so than some of the citizens that reside here. He has spent lots of money in this community and has a passion for golf. I was also fortunate to meet Ronnie and must say I rather liked him. Prior to the course being leased over to Brian, I was paid to go out and photograph the club house and the entire grounds. I still have those photos, and I can't speak for what it looks like now because I haven't been there.. But I will say the place was not in good condition. I spoke with Brian and he shared some big ideas about the course. Apparently those things have not come to pass. Why, is none of my business. All I can say is that it was a work in progress. Perhaps he changed his mind? Perhaps he ran into problems? I can't tell you the reasoning.. but I doubt it is due to money issues. If I were to rent a home and move in, does that person have the right to tell me I have to pay and cannot move? Let's not put too much personal bashing into this topic. Let the course go to someone else or bulldoze the thing.. But to put a man on blast for trying to bring some damn good to this community is just plain wrong!

scorehouse
196
Points
scorehouse 08/18/12 - 04:47 pm
1
0
back rent
Unpublished

he owes the city 3-5 months back rent? money is a problem. i don't care how "good a guy" he is, a contract is a contract. if he wants to walk, that's fine by me but he owes the money. he had a vision, a doomed one. if the city needs the money, sell the land to the highest bidder. the national may even want the property. they have vision that comes to fruition. giving the land to azziz and GRUSOM is gruesome!

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