Posted by Mitchell Kobernick
For those that still hold the position that we voted for the golf course deal, so it is settled and we should not be fighting it, let me share something with you. When we started the fight to get out of FGUA, I was told by the former head of Pasco utilities, “Why are you fighting FGUA, you voted for it.” Yes the community voted for it, so how is that working out?
First of all, Diane’s personal audit of the ballots determined that the vote did not pass, even though the county claims it did. That will be settled in court.
And the similarities between the FGUA deal and the golf course deal are very striking. When we were asked to vote for FGUA, we were told that if we did not vote for it immediately, Lindrick was going to raise rates. And we were not given time to think about it, it had to happen right away! We all know how that turned out. The golf course deal was being sold to us the same way. We were told that if we did not vote for the county to buy it right away, a developer was going to buy it and they could build a multi-family project there. This is the same sense of urgency, we were not given time to think about it, they needed an answer right away. We tried to find out if the developer’s offer was real, but were never able to get any documentation on that offer, not even the name of the developer. All we got was a letter from a broker stating that a developer had made an offer. This brokerage company is owned by one of the lienholders on the golf course, the same lienholders that will be paid only if the golf course sells. Is it also just a coincidence that the price the county wants to pay just so happens to appear to be high enough to ensure these lienholders are paid in full?
So what ever happened to that developer? We were told that the owner of the golf course, out of the goodness of their heart, was willing to forgo that developer’s offer and allow the county to buy the golf course instead. So once the lawsuit was filed and the county’s attempt to purchase it was blocked, why did the owner not just go back to the developer and take their offer? The lawsuit only challenged the MSBU that was going to make all of us pay for the county’s purchase; it never prevented the owner from selling to anyone else. We were told that the developer decided to seek other projects and was no longer interested.
It is also instructive to note that several homeowners that had voted Yes for the golf course deal became so incensed once the facts came out, that they joined in the creation of Gulf Harbors United to get these facts out to the community.
The tactics used by those in favor of the golf course deal are very reminiscent of the tactics used to convince us to vote for FGUA. The difference is that now there was someone who stood up to say, NOT AGAIN.