Golf course has history of negligible owners

Editor:

The current golf course owner has done nothing but plan and maintain nothing.

Water rates were reduced to allow for a golf course. Golf course developers were ready to move forward.

Now he wants to donate a portion of the land and receive millions in tax breaks. If the city were to accept, the golf course developer is not interested.

The owner wants to keep the clubhouse, pool, tennis courts and driving range for his personal development and massive financial gain.

If the city were to accept, Mr. Josh Skarsgard would be relieved of maintenance of grounds and ponds, which could cost millions. There is the part where he admits he caused the drop in value of approximately 852 homes adjacent to the property because the course is in such deplorable and hazardous condition.

He then goes on to imply it is all the city’s fault. He explains how the city has an obligation to financially solve his problems.

We are lucky to have a mayor with some common sense.

The previous owner had zero experience except perhaps some golf and a few very bad vices. A major comment he made was basically, “Finally, I don’t have to throw everything out after three days.”

Then one day, he told me he would have 400 people in his dining room every night. There was no way to help that man: He was convinced he was a pro at this business and would take no advice.

Why would it be the city’s responsibility to teach him how to run that business, as one person recommended?

Before that, there was an investor who became the owner when his former partners backed out. This became a hobby for his children.

Again, no real experience running a country club. They specialized in hospitality for their friends and little concern for the expectation of the diminished membership.

Before him were the buyers thrilled to own a country club. Finally, a club they could call their own.

They didn’t have to pay dues, or actually anything. They had a blast as they diminished the 1,000-plus memberships to less than half that number.

Once again, no concept of profitable labor costs, water costs to maintain a golf course, food costs or even liquor costs.

Previously for 13 years, the owner was AMREP Southwest. Their initial concept was to build another nine holes and sell homes and lots, on a golf course, for a lot more money.

This ultimately became a toy for the project manager. Free everything for friends and staff with over 90 free memberships: free parties for politicians; free weddings and birthdays for personal friends; free everything, even entertainment outside the club — all expenses written off on an American Express account charged to the club.

AMREP built this country club as a selling perk to potential land- and homeowners. It was sold numerous times after it outlived its original intended use.

Bankruptcy became a part of life for this facility during its 50-year existence.

I hope this sheds some light on the current owner’s intentions.

Gary Johnson

Rio Rancho

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