The Country Club Negotiations–Down the Drain. Another Hit for Taxpayers!

Negotiations that began during the reign of David Brown with the only company interested in leasing and managing the Coral Gables Country Club have collapsed because the Commission did not accept the scheme (including an outdoor restaurant facility) for the facility.  The taxpayers are left holding the ball, the bills and the debt.

In a move to primarily defend property values among owners near the club (among them the Mayor and his frequent archenemy President of the Coral Gables PAC, Vincent Damian) the President of Liberty Entertainment Groups (as reported in cggazette.com) has abandoned negotiations.

When told about Di Donato’s decision , Finance Director Don Nelson said it would have a “huge” – presumably extremely adverse effect on city finances. Another official said that the impact might be equivalent to “a bureaucratic atomic bomb.” In the last six years, Coral Gables has invested in and borrowed about $10 million for the club, adding greatly to city debt. It is paying annually large amounts in interest; despite that investment the building appears externally and internally in shambles. The city is currently financing a very costly petroleum decontamination, must replace a leaking roof and do major repairs of the swimming pool.

This will give the city manager another good reason to justify keeping millage rates up, instead of reducing spending on salaries and capital projects.

About Stephen E. McGaughey
International consultant in economic development programs and projects

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