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Fate of 'Patch' up in air after proposed lease deal falls through

Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012 8:15 PM
Last updated Monday, Sept. 10, 2012 10:01 PM
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The fate of the Augusta Municipal Golf Course is up in the air again after the Augusta Commission refused repairs requested by three brothers who wanted to lease it.

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The fate of the Augusta Municipal Golf Course is up in the air again after the Augusta Commission refused repairs requested by three brothers who wanted to lease it.  MICHAEL HOLAHAN/FILE
MICHAEL HOLAHAN/FILE
The fate of the Augusta Municipal Golf Course is up in the air again after the Augusta Commission refused repairs requested by three brothers who wanted to lease it.

“We got shot down,” Dennis Kelly said. “We got nailed by the commission.”

Last week, Kelly and his brothers, Patrick and Brian, offered to assume the lease held by The Patch in Augusta LLC after the city found the Scottish firm in default for not paying five months’ rent.

The Kellys’ offer came with a few requests, however, that weren’t included in the lease assignment agreed to by the commission last week. In a closed-door meeting Wednesday, a consensus of commissioners agreed not to grant the requests, City Administrator Fred Russell said.

Russell said he’d agreed to Dennis Kelly’s requests after an informal meeting last week. They included the city making approximately $62,000 in repairs and giving the brothers free rent until July for covering annual memberships already sold by The Patch in Augusta, he said.

“I thought the request that he made in reference to the repairs and the deal with the memberships was reasonable,” Russell said.

On Wednesday, however, he said he “wasn’t authorized to move forward with the recommendation I had made.”

The closed-door conversation Wednesday was dominated by commissioners “who were not interested in outsourcing The Patch,” Commissioner Jerry Brigham said, declining to comment further.

Mayor Pro Tem Joe Bowles, who got six commissioners Friday to support assigning the lease to the Kellys, was unhappy about the result. He said those who opposed the Kellys “would rather see people get free golf.”

Outsourcing management of the city-owned golf course, a move intended to save money while keeping the course in the city’s hands, divided the commission last year.

“If we get the golf course back as a
liability,” Bowles said, “I’d be inclined to give it to Georgia Regents University. It sure as hell beats wasting $200,000 worth of taxpayer money every year.”

Commissioner Bill Lock­ett, an opponent of outsourcing who supported the decision Wednesday, said switching companies without putting the course out for bids “would be basically against the procurement directive.”

“There are other people that have an interest in running that golf course,” Lockett said. “Quite a few more when they understand what a lucrative contract that Hendry was getting.”

Aberdeen, Scotland, businessman Brian Hendry was the only bidder in the city’s past two efforts to find someone to run the course. Hendry created The Patch in Augusta LLC and spoke of reviving the course with a Scottish flair, brought in a Scottish golf pro and hired local staff. Since Masters Week, however, the firm hasn’t paid its $1,000 monthly rent. Lockett said he also agreed with the commission’s March decision against giving Hendry access to $300,000 in sales-tax dollars approved by voters for the course.

“To enhance the project of a private entity is ludicrous,” Lockett said.

Lockett said he preferred another group assembled by local businessman James Kendrick, which sought to hire Affiiniti Golf Partners for a $5,000 monthly fee to run the course while offering golf services to Richmond County schools, Augusta State University and First Tee of Augusta, a youth golf program.

The best option now is to bid the project out again, with the city running the course in the interim, Lockett said.

“I’m prepared to do that if necessary,” Russell said.

Comments (43) Add comment
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YeCats
11246
Points
YeCats 09/05/12 - 09:01 pm
5
0
Why not sell it to the

Why not sell it to the highest bidder?

Jake
32855
Points
Jake 09/05/12 - 09:10 pm
4
1
Fore!

What next indeed. Seems like Bowles would just as soon give the property away but Lockett wants to keep fishing and see if anything bites. I hope something bites, and soon. And I applaud the Kelly brothers for their interest in trying to save the Patch but I guess some folks were not on the same page as y'all were. Your requests were minimal to say the least.

SemperParatus
3225
Points
SemperParatus 09/05/12 - 09:50 pm
5
0
Daniel Field

Could the airport use the land?

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 09/05/12 - 10:08 pm
7
0
Secrecy?

Once again, our public officials hide from the public while conducting the public's business.

What reason did they give for meeting in secret?

Isn't that a bit fishy?

Little Lamb
46903
Points
Little Lamb 09/05/12 - 10:14 pm
6
1
Secrecy!

I share Insider's concern. Secret meetings are supposed to be about lawsuits or personnel matters. Discussing proposals for contracts should be meetings open to the public and the press. Just look at the comments up above. The commissioners tried to spin the information for the press instead of having the discussions in the public record. We have lost control of our city government.

dichotomy
34356
Points
dichotomy 09/05/12 - 10:17 pm
5
1
Can anyone name anything that

Can anyone name anything that this commission and this administrator have done correctly the first time? Just name one "deal" they have got us into that did not turn out to be a cluster......errr.....goat rope. Citizens of the "City of Augusta"....your commission and your administrator are blithering idiots, governing goof-ups, business zeros, procurement pathetics. Everything they touch, every decision they make turns out to be a costly disaster.

rebellious
21295
Points
rebellious 09/05/12 - 10:27 pm
8
0
However

i do agree that we must stick to the procurement procedures. If a bidder fails to perform, the operation contract must go back out for bids.

And I don't have a problem with funding improvements, only we should negotiate a % of the profits rather than flat rate rental.

I like the idea of a low cost golf course owned by the city. I do not think it should lose money. It should be operated at break even, at minimum and at best, put moneys back into the general revenue fund.

Note Joe already has entered into the discourse to turn the course over to GRU. Watch this idea develop. Oh you won't be able to because that will occur in backrooms. Mark my words.

just an opinion
2718
Points
just an opinion 09/05/12 - 10:31 pm
5
0
It's all about free golf

The commissioners buddies didn't want to play by the rules and "pay for play"? Am I right Joe? It's just good ole fashion cheating and "certain" commissioners are willing to allow it!

Insider Information
4009
Points
Insider Information 09/05/12 - 10:45 pm
7
1
Classic backroom deal

This is the classic backroom deal.

The reporter is reporting on what she was told happened, but not necessarily what in fact did happen.

Why?

Because our elected officials only worry about protecting themselves and not about protecting the public. That's why they hide in backrooms and then tell us stories hoping that we buy it as truth.

MS B
7
Points
MS B 09/05/12 - 11:04 pm
5
1
THE PATCH

I HAVE BEEN A MEMBER OF THE PATCH FOR 26 YEARS AND WHAT HAPPEN TODAY IS TERRIBLE. OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS, HOW DARE YOU. WITHOUT ANY CONSIDERATION OF THOSE WHO WORK AND PLAY AT THE COURSE, YOU JUST SIT IN YOUR BACK OFFICE AND MAKE PRIVATE DEALS AT OUR EXPENSE.SHAME ON YOU JOE, YOU ARE NOT TO BE TRUSTED EVER. I KNOW IT HAS TO BE SOMETHING IN THIS MILK FOR YOU. JUST THE MENTION OF GSU. I WAS ON THE COMMITTEE TO SAVE THE PATCH, NO, YOU WANTED BACKROOM DEALS. NOW WE SEE HOW COSTLY IT HAS BEEN. WHAT HAPPENS TO THE MEMBERS WHO HAVE PAID THEIR DUES?? WHATS THE CONSIDERATION FOR THEM???
FOR THE KELLY BROTHERS, YOU ALL USED THEM TO GET THE PATCH UP AND RUNNING FOR THE MAYORS CUP. CHECK, THEY DID THAT, KEPT PEOPLE WORKING, CK, THEY DID THAT. WORKED DAY AND NIGHT CUTTING GRASS AND MAKING THE COURSE AGAIN A NICE PLACE TO PLAY.CK, THEY DID THAT. NOW WHEN THEY REQUESTED DOLLARS NOT FOR THEIR POCKETS BUT FOR NEEDED REPAIRS YOU SNATCH THE RUG FROM UNDER THEIR FEET AS WELL AS THE PAID MEMBERS. SHAME ON YOU, SHAME ON YOU, SHAME ON YOU.
DID YOU ALL FORGET YOU ARE ELECTED OFFICIALS. IF YOU CANNOT DO THE JOB HONESTLY, GET OUT. I REALLY HATE HOW YOU USED A REALLY GOOD GROUP OF BROTHERS.

palmetto1008
9782
Points
palmetto1008 09/05/12 - 11:37 pm
4
0
Closed door meeting??? What
Unpublished

Closed door meeting??? What is up with these commissioners?? They should thank their lucky stars that I'm not a Richmond county voter....I would be in their face on the oh, so many things, they have totally mucked up ...and, now, they can't conduct the business of the public in public?? How long are you going to tolerate this. crap, Richmond county???

JRC2024
9284
Points
JRC2024 09/05/12 - 11:39 pm
3
0
Ms. B. I do not know what

Ms. B. I do not know what went on but why should the city loose money so people can play a cheap round of golf. Make the membership fee, cart fee only or fee for walking and the cost for the round of golf high enough so that the Patch pays for itself. Running a golf course is expensive and those that use it should pay enough to keep it going. Not the taxpayeer and those who do not play.

omnomnom
3964
Points
omnomnom 09/06/12 - 12:21 am
4
0
the municipally owned golf

the municipally owned golf course should be a point of pride for the city which plays host to the mother of all golf events.

I can't believe we'll pour millions into a gamble of a convention center and we won't keep an institution open that somehow made it through the 70s recession (maybe the depression? anyone know how long the patch has been there?

we'll pay money for a Costco to add traffic on a road that was constructed to relieve traffic on Washington Road.

nnaugusta
533
Points
nnaugusta 09/06/12 - 12:41 am
1
1
GRUG....... Georgia Regents

GRUG....... Georgia Regents University Golf

Riverman1
86855
Points
Riverman1 09/06/12 - 04:47 am
5
1
The Kellys made a noble try

The Kellys made a noble try and I feel sorry for them.

seenitB4
90674
Points
seenitB4 09/06/12 - 05:53 am
2
2
Yep River

The Kellys gave it their best shot....Augusta I feel sorry forya....you can have a big center downtown that is empty most of the time......but when a bunch of strong --willing--caring guys want to pull the Patch up & make it profitable you pulled the rug out .....GEEZ
So what now---ole wise ones...

joebowles
104
Points
joebowles 09/06/12 - 06:03 am
4
2
Assignment

Maybe my fellow commissioners should read the lease. ARTICLE XIV-14.01 Lesee shall not have the right to assign....this lease..without the prior written consent of Lessor. We have that consent.
All of this was followed and the Kellys were unfairly mistreated.

seenitB4
90674
Points
seenitB4 09/06/12 - 06:07 am
2
1
This says a lot.....

Mayor Pro Tem Joe Bowles, who got six commissioners Friday to support assigning the lease to the Kellys, was unhappy about the result. He said those who opposed the Kellys “would rather see people get free golf.”

When will some realize that this nation isn't free......young men & women need to learn that "working" isn't a bad word....what happened at the Patch is happening across our Nation----we are going under with this freebie stuff!
Goodness we have to change the politics in America! SOON!

seenitB4
90674
Points
seenitB4 09/06/12 - 06:11 am
2
0
Well good am Joe

I hope my typing didn't wake ya....:)

blues550
380
Points
blues550 09/06/12 - 06:38 am
0
1
GHU Cool Golf Links
Unpublished

Great idea! Give it to GHU lock, stock & barrel. Take the SPLOST money that is supposed to be used there and redo the 18th hole with the Clown's Mouth, featuring none other than the grinning Ricky Ricardo Azziz.

Bantana
2071
Points
Bantana 09/06/12 - 07:18 am
4
1
It's for the best

Pehaps the takeover by the Kelly's didn't pass the smell test?

Techfan
6461
Points
Techfan 09/06/12 - 07:10 am
4
2
Definitely not a fan of the

Definitely not a fan of the game but, it seems to me that a city owned golf course should be run by the city using city employees. Fees should be enough to cover operating costs and to have a small emergency fund. The course, like all city departments, should be audited regularly to make sure everything's on the up and up. It should exist for the enjoyment of the city's population, not as a for profit entity.

seenitB4
90674
Points
seenitB4 09/06/12 - 07:15 am
3
2
Oh yeah right :(

Oh that is exactly what we need...more giverment running .....more $$$ down the hole.....just like the $$$ wasted with the solar company.....what you say...just 47 millioin....hey what's a million here or there....:(

Techfan
6461
Points
Techfan 09/06/12 - 07:43 am
1
2
Is there something in the

Is there something in the water that causes some sort of reading comprehension problem with the people around here? "Fees should be enough to cover operating costs and to have a small emergency fund. The course, like all city departments, should be audited regularly"..

seenitB4
90674
Points
seenitB4 09/06/12 - 07:47 am
2
1
I can read tech...

I read this....

It should exist for the enjoyment of the city's population, not as a for profit entity.

Yeh...why have profit in any business--hey---the very reason we are sinking in the USA.

Techfan
6461
Points
Techfan 09/06/12 - 07:58 am
1
4
Government is not a business.

Government is not a business. I guess the US should charge the countries we invade so we show a profit on a war.

justthefacts
22681
Points
justthefacts 09/06/12 - 08:06 am
4
0
Actually

That's a pretty good idea. And, we know that gov't isn't a business. If it were a business we wouldn't be $16T in debt.

Techfan
6461
Points
Techfan 09/06/12 - 08:07 am
1
3
"Keep count on how many

"Keep count on how many bullets you use men, we have to include it on their billing statement."

Techfan
6461
Points
Techfan 09/06/12 - 08:08 am
1
2
Didn't Cheney tell us that's

Didn't Cheney tell us that's how Iraq would work out?

obkad
222
Points
obkad 09/06/12 - 08:12 am
4
0
course management

This course has been part of the "Black" and "irish Mafia" community for years. A great layout for a course, and very competitive for play. Augusta made a fatal mistake several years ago when Jerry Pate offered a huge amount of money to take this course and make it into something the whole city of Augusta would be proud, only to have it shot down from the two groups and others who felt they would lose their established right to play as they choose. You grilled Tom Beck for lack of performance when in fact deals made in the back room prevented Mr. Beck from doing and firing those who failed to perform. Now when someone who tried to bring a little class into the fray, Augusta turns it's back on them assuring them defaulting on their debt and not allowing help when needed. Now another group comes in to help restore this fine piece of property only to again have the commission turn it's back. I think a deal is in the making to give the land to Augusta State, GRU or what ever snob hill wants to call itself, and the commission is waiting for the funds to roll in only to be spent on another useless adventure somewhere else. In the mean time the old the two "mafias"and others are fanning out to other courses throughout the CSRA only to find out they have to "pay" their fair share and wait their turn on the courses they now play. Sad to say it's only going to get worse.

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