AVCC escrow still in limbo (May 17, 2011)

APPLE VALLEY • The Apple Valley Town Council is at loggerheads, with a 2-2 vote on closing escrow on the Apple Valley Country Club and paying off a $1.4 million debt on the club.

More than $1.42 million is owed to Desert Community Bank for the property. Town staff recommended the Council approve selling 709 acre-feet of water rights tied to the country club back to itself to clear the debt and help reduce the property’s deficit.

Mayor Scott Nassif and Councilman Curt Emick were in favor of moving forward while Mayor Pro Tem Barb Stanton and Councilman Rick Roelle objected. Councilwoman Ginger Coleman had to recuse herself from the discussion since she owns property along the golf course.

Asked whether he’d support finalizing the purchase if it hadn’t been a $3 million drain on the general fund since Apple Valley opted to take over the property in 2008, Roelle replied, Heck yes.

Nassif said, I get the feeling if there was a break-even and this thing was making money I still wouldn’t even get the vote.

A few residents spoke out against the town’s purchase of the struggling, once-private country club.

It just sounds like you’re taking a page from Victorville’s playbook, resident Lawrence McCarthy told the Council, referring to trouble Apple Valley’s neighboring city is facing due to extensive interfund loans.

Nassif emphasized that if the town doesn’t close escrow, it loses the $3 million already invested into the project plus water rights estimated at another $3 million or so.

Roelle, who has repeatedly spoken against the buyout, said the town didn’t do its due diligence before voting to pluck the property from bankruptcy some two and a half years ago — but that it’s not too late.

Source: Brooke Edwards, Apple Valley Review, applevalley-review.com/node/188