TOAV considers backing out of AVCC purchase (September 23, 2009)

APPLE VALLEY • After a lengthy discussion behind closed doors Tuesday night, the Town Council unanimously voted to look at options for possibly backing out of its pending purchase of the Apple Valley Country Club.

No decision has been made, Mayor Pro Tem Scott Nassif said, but the decision has been made to look at possible exit strategies … And we feel that discussion should be a public discussion.

Nassif said town staff will be bringing a report back to the council at an upcoming meeting, looking at a number of options for the future of the club during open session.

Do we go ahead and close escrow? Do we turn it back over to the country club? And what would be the ramifications of doing that? Nassif said. … Would the (High Desert Community) Foundation run the country club? Would the bank foreclose and they would have to run the country club? These are all the things we need to find out.

In the meantime, town officials said the country club will continue its daily operations and will honor special event commitments while the ownership issue is worked out.

The council’s vote to reconsider its purchase came a day after a San Bernardino Superior Court judge ruled against dropping the High Desert Community Foundation’s counter-suit against the town over rights to water the course’s fairways.

The nonprofit foundation holds a $3 million deed to the water rights, which had been separated from the land deed and passed down since the country club opened 60 years ago.

The Town Council — which voted to purchase the struggling club in November on the condition that the water rights were clear — then filed suit against High Desert Community Foundation claiming the rights belonged to the country club.

The foundation filed a counter-claim against the town and country club in April, suing to hold onto the asset reflected in its deed.

Judge Gilbert Ochoa on Monday overruled the town and country club’s request to throw out the counter-suit, setting a trial date for the case in December 2010.

We’re confident that we could prevail in court, Mayor Rick Roelle said. But a year and three months away, and in the meantime we’re maintaining (the course) with public dollars?

The town has been paying roughly $40,000 per month to operate the country club since November, plus $75,000 on emergency well repairs, with the course now open to the public for the first time in its lengthy history.

With more pricey improvements needed in the near future, Roelle said it makes no sense to him for the town to continue fronting these costs when it doesn’t even own the facility.

Is that something the citizens want us to do? the mayor asked. We want public input because it’s public money.


The bottom line is we may have no choice but to let the course go and let the sands blow where they may, Roelle said.

Source: Brooke Edwards, Daily Press