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Golf Group Contemplates Lawsuit Against City

The abandon club house and property at Countryside.

by Valerie Garner

According to Scott Beasley, vice president of operations for the Florida based Meadowbrook Golf Group; “We have been screwed once again by the City.” Meadowbrook, as owners of Countryside Golf Course, sold the property to Roanoke City for $4.1 million in 2005. Meadowbrook operated the golf course until the city closed it in March of 2010.

Beasley said he had made an agreement with the City through Assistant Manager Brian Townsend and then Director of Economic Development Brian Brown in 2008 to have the clubhouse and pavilion painted. Beasley said he agreed to pay half if they would pay the other half.

“We paid our half but the City never paid their half. Now the city attorney is saying the statute of limitations has run out and the City is not responsible so we had to pay an additional $1,500,” said Beasley in an email.

He called it “unbelievable,” saying that, “We were not obligated to pay any part of the bill but out of good faith we did …then they come back and do this.” The Lakeland, Florida law firm of Peterson & Myers P.A. is considering a lawsuit on Meadowbrook’s behalf, explained Beasley.

Acting City Attorney Tim Spencer acknowledges being contacted by Meadowbrook’s CFO, Eric Burk, on May 22 regarding an invoice dated July 16, 2008 from Tim Young’s Painting.

Spencer provided a copy of communication between Meadowbrook and Assistant City Attorney Gary E. Tegenkamp.

Tegenkamp’s correspondence addressed to CFO Burk states: “There is no evidence to support a claim that the City agreed to pay 1/2 of the painting cost. In fact, such an allegation is contrary to the written agreement between the City and Meadowbrook Golf Group, Inc.”

In the communication, Tegenkamp says that Brian Townsend did not recall making any agreement or authorizing any City employee to make any commitment to pay any portion of the painting work. He said Meadowbrook had no written documentation other than “written notes on the invoice that were apparently made by someone at Meadowbrook.” He said Meadowbrook had no name of the City employee with whom they made the agreement.

Tegenkamp summarized the 2005 operational agreement with Meadowbrook that says Meadowbrook was “responsible for all repairs, expenses, and maintenance of the facility, including the clubhouse at Countryside. Furthermore, there was never any written amendment to the contract that changed Meadowbrook’s obligations to pay for items like the painting work.”

Tegenkamp wrote that, “Since Meadowbrook’s claim is based on an alleged verbal agreement that apparently occurred sometime in or around July 2008, the Virginia three year Statute of Limitations that covers verbal agreements in Virginia has expired.” He points to three sections in the operational agreement.

In a FOIA request of the agreement, section 5.3 states: “Manager shall not be responsible for any capital improvements to the Facility, unless Owner agrees to reimburse Manager for same prior to the undertaking of any capital improvements.” Section 5.10 refers to furnishings in the Facility and section 6.2 deals with wages and overhead.

Beginning November 1, 2007 certain maintenance requirements were incorporated at the beginning of a lease extension.

Former City Manager Darlene Burcham and council agreed that, “In response to neighborhood concerns regarding maintenance of the facility, staff [is] finalizing with Meadowbrook their commitment to adhering to their Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) used at their other facilities.”

That agreement is unclear but it was understood at the time that it referred only to the golf course greens and fairways.

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