By Ellie (original comment here)
Alex hit the nail on the head in his recent posts: the crux of the matter is that we homeowners do not know what the golf courses are worth as we only have had biased information regarding costs and impacts of the golf course purchase or alternative options presented to us by speakers selected by the board.
There have been numerous requests by homeowners for more information, and an independent opinion, a financial analysis, and an appraisal. To no avail.
Homeowners have literally pleaded with the board for their opinions and concerns to be heard and considered. To no avail.
To be heard, we only have this website, but nobody wants to be sued – that is the reason for so many anonymous entries on this blog. THE ACT site is FOA sponsored and monitored. Only approved blog entries will be published, and they would hopefully not sue one of their own, but even there you’ll find posts without a name. It is sad that homeowners have become afraid of speaking their mind and of their neighbors.
However, the premise that the purchase of the golf course will only cost us $31/m and is perhaps a good deal is wrong. This is just the beginning to cover the purchase loan, reserve fund, and property tax.
With the purchase we homeowners will also have to finance the maintenance and capital investments, and fire mitigation for the 36 holes of the GC that we will never get to use while the golfers are using it. Should the FOA decide to downsize: we homeowners will pick up the cost for keeping the land dormant: initially $160000/yr. per 9 holes. This is a contingency clause in the current version of the LOI between the HOA and the FOA. This makes the HOA (we the homeowners) a part of the FOA’s business plan.
Homeowners have asked for information regarding the current financial status of the golf club and the club’s long-term business plan. Again to no avail.
Should the FOA decide to declare bankruptcy, we homeowners will be asked if we want to buy the rest of the assets: the club house and the surrounding 50 acres. The HOA cannot sell any of the golf course property for profit: so what to do with it? So you see: $31/m is a half-truth propagated by the FOA: it is the minimum we homeowners will have to pay and with absolutely no control over the land. The FOA makes the decisions – we get to pay, and future generations will pay.
And by the way: FOA investors absolutely are expecting to make money. Their own chairman and spokesperson, Gary Pestello, said so at the HOA Board meeting on November 4, 2014. Gretchen said that FOA investors will eventually want to get a return on their money. And with $3.3M for just 36 holes of golf course we are paying way more than what the FOA paid for the entire course (the 36 holes plus the club house). And we are paying way above market price as was said by Gary Smith, who recently resigned from the very committee advising the board about the golf club purchase. We will even pay the SAD debt of $760K through Sept. 2017 for the FOA.
Homeowners wanted to know details about the negotiation process and the purchase price. Again to no avail.
Yes, it might be irrelevant to know the motivation of the FOA to buy the golf club, but they did so of their own free will.
Each one of us should have the same right, and not be forced into owning a golf club by a simple majority vote.