Killearn Country Club Members Provide Alternative Approach To Closing North Course

Killearn Country Club Members Provide Alternative Approach To Closing North Course

Tallahassee Reports has learned that a group of Killearn Country Club members have put together a detailed plan to purchase the club from the current owner, Barton Tuck.

The legal wrangling over the direction of the Killearn Country Club began when Mr. Tuck decided that he needed to close the north nine holes of the 27 hole golf course to keep the course financially viable.

His plan, as detailed in meetings with members, is to sell part of the nine holes to a developer and use the proceeds to improve the club.

However, unique language in the deed restrictions associated with the club property, require that if any part of the 27 hole golf course is closed, club members have the right to purchase the club.

In September Mr. Tuck acknowledged that the member purchase language had been triggered and a group of members have come forward to purchase the club.

Not surprisingly, Mr Tuck and the group seeking to purchase the club interpret the covenant restrictions in different ways and this is where the legal system enters the fray.

As the legal process proceeds, the group of members interested in purchasing the club have released documents that provide details about how they plan to move forward with the purchase.

The group interested in buying the club is led by Patrick Murray. Mr. Murray has been a member of the club for about 10 years and has served on the Advisory Board for approximately five years. He owns a home on the fifth hole of the North course.

In a printed bio that he presented recently to a group of club members, he wrote “I’ve managed large organizations, much larger than Killearn Country Club (annual budgets over $50 million). I know how business must manage, income, expenses, balance sheets, customers, product quality and reinvestment in order to survive.”

Pat Murray, Killearn Country Club Member

Mr. Murray told TR that their plan is to purchase the county club with cash, establish a covenant to protect the 27 hole facility, and then interview and hire a golf club management company.

Mr. Murray said the group does not want to operate the country club. Their goal is to protect homeowners and preserve a 27 hole golf course.

The group plans to recruit a management company that will  provide an operation plan to take over day-to-day management and fund the needed improvements of the club facilities.

The group provided TR architectural drawings of a new three story club house facility that will house golf carts, the pro-shop, locker rooms, an exercise room and a dining facility.

Listed below are renderings of the club house which would be located where the golf-cart barn currently resides. Click on drawings for enhanced view.KCCI_level 2KCCI_level 3KCCI_elevation

The front of the proposed club house, shown above, would have a porch on the second and third floor that would face the 18th hole.

Where does the process go from here?

Given the competing interpretations of the covenant restriction language, nothing will be settled until the court provides direction and that could take months.

However, recent meetings indicate the Mr. Tuck is moving forward with his own legal interpretation. TR will have more on the legal process in the near future.

18 Responses to "Killearn Country Club Members Provide Alternative Approach To Closing North Course"

  1. I absolutely agree with Mr. Rockwood! No one ever demands answers about Barton Tuck’s details and plans for KCC.
    I too am a long time member of KCC, I received a letter titled “Supplemental update from Panel”. The letter doesn’t make any sense. Who would make a decision to buy any property until the price has been established, according to the covenant. So far only the first appraisal has been received, I read it and once you get through all the boiler plate it seems to have a few problems and many disclaimers. Common sense demands that we wait until a second appraisal is completed and then the final “fair market value” is set. Only then do we know value which will be binding on all parties. Then the the members who wish to purchase have the information needed to base a decision on.
    As a member, I want to hear from both Mr Tuck and the group who wants to purchase the club. Why didn’t I know that there was a meeting for the members where Mr Murray presented “The Plan”. Did KCC management refuse to tell me about that meeting? Why wouldn’t they want me to hear all options for the club. Did the “panel” know about the meeting, I thought they were supposed to keep the members abreast of ALL updates and activities regarding the purchase option for the club, and if they did, why wasn’t it mentioned in the “Supplemental update”? I for one would like to hear Mr. Murray’s plan, if he would be willing to present it again, I want to see and hear his plan! Please stop the deception and rumors, let’s just see all of our options, and see and hear his plan.

  2. Regarding Jeremy Cohen’s questions (which he could have asked at the 10/2 member meeting hosted by Pat Murray if he had only attended), has he asked Mr. Tuck to provide answers to the same questions? Is his public questioning simply “grand-standing”? Now that membership has dropped below 400 (or so it would seem since the announcement that Mr. Tuck’s panel of 3 had been elected with 196 ballots in favor; 196 would be a majority of 392 members), what is Mr. Tuck going to do to stem the exodus of members, such as long-time member Howard Moody above? This club is in deep trouble due exclusively to Mr. Tuck, and to believe that Mr. Tuck is going to save it is laughable. And the panel of 3 best be very careful in how it conducts itself. The restrictive covenant and member purchase option “run with the land”, so any member has a right to purchase should he/she so choose. The panel could entangle itself in serious legal problems should they mis-step. The best action that Mr. Tuck’s panel of 3 could take would be to resign in favor of Pat Murray’s panel of 3.

  3. Let’s get the truth out at Killearn

    Mr. Cohen, on October 1, I attended a meeting, open to all Killearn Members conducted by Mr. Murray.
    Present for that meeting were about 30 members, including Tico Gimbel and Gino Betta, two members of the clubs “panel of 3”.
    At that meeting Mr. Murray presented the comprehensive plan his group was following to execute the Member Purchase option and save the Club and protect property values for all of Killearn Estates. The plan he outlined was indeed comprehensive. He included a high level time line, somewhat dependent on future court rulings. He included the biggest challenges his group faces and the critical success factors. He even showed rough architectural drawings of the proposed new clubhouse. He answered every question the attendees posed.
    At the conclusion of the meeting I witnessed both Gino Betta and Tico Gimbel approach Mr. Murray and thank him for the presentation. I also witnessed Mr. Murray offer both a copy of all the materials used for the presentation, “The Plan”. Unfortunately, I don’t think either took a copy, maybe they really were not interested in the facts.
    Mr. Cohen, if you were really interested in information regarding their plans I would have expected you to attend that meeting. Maybe now you should ask Mr. Gimbel and Mr. Betta to explain the plan. I also recommend you ask Mr. Tuck those same questions.
    I understand that Mr. Murray has offered to give the same presentation to the Club Membership again. Why is he being refused access to the membership. I can understand his reluctance to just send out a copy of his plan given the widespread number of bad rumors and mis-truths being spread. If you really want information, insist the Club allow Mr. Murray to meet with members and interested parties face to face.

  4. Sounds to me like Jeremy is ready to take his candy and go home if things don’t go his way. Rather than do that Jeremy, why don’t you and the “panel” opt to sit down with the “man with a plan” and discuss the matter with him? Unfortunately, I suspect that you have long ago shut your mind to any rational thought in regard to the fate of KCC.

  5. After months of litigation, articles, press releases, and e-mails, we now have a ‘man with a plan’. However, can a ‘man with a plan’ really be prepared to buy a golf course when he cannot provide specific written responses to the following questions:
    1. Under your plan, who are the member buyers with a plan on buying the golf course?
    2. Under your plan, what is the ownership structure of the buyers planning on buying the golf course? Specifically, who are the principals, who are the financiers, and who are the silent partners? Specifically, what are the percentages of their ownership under your plan? Specifically, what are their financial contributions under your plan?
    3. Under your plan, who specifically will run the daily operations of the golf course?
    4. Under your plan, who specifically will finance the daily operations of the golf course?
    5. Under your plan, who specifically will be responsible for staffing the golf course operations?
    6. Under your plan, who specifically has the financial resources and vendor relationships with all the vendors required to run a golf course such as (a) the turf chemical companies, (b) the golf cart companies, (c) the mower and equipment companies, (d) the irrigation companies?
    7. Under your plan, provide specific details regarding (a) what facilities will be built, (b) how soon will facilities be built, (c) who is your architect, (d) who is your contractor, and (e) who will finance all the new construction?
    8. Under your plan, how many current Killearn members do you believe that there are now?
    9. Under your plan, how many current Killearn CC members will stay if your buyers take over?
    10. Under your plan, how many current Killearn CC members will leave?
    11. Under your plan, how many current Killearn CC members will individually join elsewhere?
    12. Under your plan, how many current Killearn CC golf groups will make a group deal and join another golf course?
    13. Under your plan, how will you replace revenues generated from current Killearn CC members with a median age over 65 who will either (a) stop playing golf anymore, (b) drop their entire membership, or (c) reduce their golf membership level to a less costly membership level?
    14. Under your plan, how much will the monthly dues be, how long will those dues remain at that level, and how often will members be assessed for other expenses?

  6. This looks like an office building at Southwood–equally as bad as what is there now. And no comment at all from this group about what will become of the pool?

  7. Members received a letter from the club today along with a ballot providing two options: “I vote for the Members to purchase the Property.” or “I vote that the Members reject the purchase of the Property”. This is in the form of a “Member Directive to Panel”. The panel consists of three people who volunteered and were the only three people that I am aware of who were willing to be on the panel. They are Gino Betta, Mile Illers and Tico Gimbel.

    Memebers must make their wishes clear to the panel.

  8. Seems to me that the 3 member panel has some obligation to look at Murray’s plan and articulate the proposal to the members. After all, I am sure they would not in any way want to look to be partial in their thinking. Most certainly, one would think that the panel would want the members to have all available information on the issue.

    What do you say, panel?

  9. Yeah! Members for 15 years and live on hole # 4 on the north course. We purchased our home after seeing it for sale playing golf and have loved the home and the club. After 15 years we have dropped our membership for health reasons and the lack of maintenance of the club and course.
    The design is fabulous compared to the senior care facility and trailer park club house Mr Tuck is noted for!!! Please members vote to restore our club!

  10. Mr Tuck and Mr Manuasa can talk all they want…the only legally binding documents that I know of that involve Tuck and his ownership or is it now a partnership, is his purchase agreement with J.T. Williams which as Mr Williams stated in an editorial piece, has very specific language as to the covenants “that allow willing members of the club to purchase the golf course at a reduced price if future owners(Tuck) ever threatened to dismantle the original design”. The other is that Judge Hankinson imposed an injuction preventing the closure of the the north course and that the “poll” taken of members may have no legal effect.
    So that raises the question as to why Tuck will not abide by legally binding documents he signed in 1987 that are very clear as to covenants etc..again, he and his attorney have an obligation to follow the rule of law, not attempt to manipulate it.
    And as to why KCC will not publicize the alternate plan….they don’t want it to happen.

  11. So glad to see something tangible in regard to an alternate plan to Mr.Tuck’s promises. It is hard to believe how Mr. Tuck is trying to railroad the members with his personal interpretation of the Covenants and holding the members hostage with his threats of closing the course. Thought I only know Mr. Murray a short time, I have found him bright, capable, and to be a man of his word. Why isn’t the KCC publicizing information about this alternate plan and only providing information about Tuck’s? I find that very strange.

  12. I’m amazed that most club members still naively believe that Mr. Tuck’s interests are aligned with that of the club members. Mr. Tuck’s past actions suggest otherwise. Who is responsible for allowing KCC to deteriorate to its current disgraceful condition? The answer is Mr. Tuck. He lined his own pockets in the process, but now that the club’s profitability has evaporated (or so he says; he still refuses to share financial data), he now returns as the white knight who will save the club? Highly doubtful. And how can those same naive members ignore Mr. Tuck’s clandestine attempt to build an Alzheimer’s unit next to KCC’s swimming pool? Mr. Tuck tried to keep this secret, but it was “discovered” during the legal proceedings, undoubtedly much to his chagrin. Is this what an owner who cared about the club, its members, and the community would do? I think not. As always, the best indicator of future performance is past performance. Mr. Tuck has been an terrible owner. The time has come for Mr. Tuck to sell the entire club to the members and retreat to S.C.

  13. How about some better architecture? If you’re going to update the place…add some inspiration to the place. I know some great designers!

  14. In most cases the captain always goes down with the ship….in this case the captain is destroying the good ship KILLEARN AT ALL COSTS!! I believe that this matter can be resolved for the benefit of all concerned and Mr Tuck should head back to South Carolina and live happily ever after!!

  15. Members have ignored this option for a year now except for a few that have been working hard to salvage this Country Club. This is not just for maintaining property values along the north course. The whole 27 holes is at stake, especially if monies raised by sale of land does not equal the needed amount for improvements. Please members, take the time to consider this with your eyes wide open. It is going to take a long time for zoning and permit changes and some improvements were needed long ago.

  16. Hopefully, the members will seriously consider this option rather than blindly move forward with a vote to waive a purchase. However, it appears that most have already made up their minds based solely on the owner’s promises. One would hope the panel would also be interested in looking further into the purchase option that Murray’s group is proffering. I fear that is not at all their intention, but we will see if such is the case.

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