"Looks like a Private Club, Quacks like a Private Club…………."

The Liquor License issued to the Golf Club at Cypress Head is for a Private Golf Course!!

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At a time when the Golf Course is begging for over $1.5 million dollars in taxpayer (public) money we now find that even the State of Florida’s Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco thinks the course is PRIVATE.  Yep, just read the liquor license.  Cypress Head’s license has the designation 11CG for a private club, not the 11CG PC for a public club.  I’m sure it looked like a private club to any ABT inspectors that came by–what with the gated community, limited access plan of Cypress Head.

We’ve had private meetings between the mayor, the manager and Kemper Sports Management to discuss spending $1.5 million in public money.  We’ve had private contracts with the mayor’s construction buddy for golf course repairs using close to $50,000 in public money.  KSM, a private management firm wants us to spend over $200,000 in public money to pay their salaries while the course is closed!  It’s time our City Council started looking out for the public good and put off the golf course renovations until all the private wheeling and dealing can be sorted out.

The Golf Course is, unfortunately, like so many other things at the City……………the closer we look the more “mistakes” we find.

golf mistakes“It’s not too late………..YET!”

36 thoughts on “"Looks like a Private Club, Quacks like a Private Club…………."

  • December 22, 2014 at 5:16 pm
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    $200,000 to pay KSM salaries while the course is closed? I say lets hire Bill Murray as a consultant. Instead of blowing up those pesky gophers he could blow up the whole damn course and be done with it.
    Private liquor license means private club as far as I’m concerned. Let’s stop giving our taxpayers the shaft.

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  • December 22, 2014 at 6:58 pm
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    How does this keep happening? Take a good look at Drainage ponds and they all fall apart. Take good look at the golf course and it all falls a part. Secret deals. Missing money. Money for nothing.
    Chief Ford, time was Ij lhought you were a good cop. Stiltner too. You boys are better than this.

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    • December 22, 2014 at 7:59 pm
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      I am disappointed in councilman Ford’s lack of concern for the rest of the City on this one.

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      • December 24, 2014 at 12:18 am
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        hank to wondering why.: councilman Ford ran a tough race against wonder woman. To get votes he may have had to promise things to the cypress head residents. This is the way things sometimes go in politics. Nevertheless Ford is redeemable for other issues.I like to think, lose a particular issue battle, to win the total war. The war I am thinking about is the Green/Burnette vs the citizens of Port Orange.I am hoping the three musketeers will dazzle us with their footwork and swordsmanship. All for one, One for all!

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  • December 22, 2014 at 7:53 pm
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    I’m not sure what all the issues might be around Cypress Head needing to obtain a liquor license since they have been serving liquor ever since I started coming here in the mid 2000’s but please take the time to look on the Port Orange web site and you’ll see that Cypress Head is a PUBLIC course and has been for over 20 years.

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    • December 23, 2014 at 9:19 am
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      hank to newbie: the main issue is more money needed from tax payers to maintain a golf course which does make a profit and is not expected to in the future.

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        • December 23, 2014 at 6:48 pm
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          Nor does it “break even”
          The food and beverage part is a huge loser

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          • December 24, 2014 at 12:06 am
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            I have found golfers to be cheap, with the exception of my two sons. I don’t think I have ever seen golfers eating at the clubhouse. Drinking yes. Two beers $3.25. You can’t beat that at Holligans!

  • December 22, 2014 at 9:24 pm
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    Nice find Mike. Simply Unbelievable! We have entrusted a board consisting of a Council member, the City Attorney, the City Manager, and the Finance Department to navigate our “public” golf course. Are the residents now facing fines or revocation of the liquor license? Perhaps they can legally serve alcohol for donations. That’s what the place runs on anyhow. Taxpayer donations. Maybe the residents who benefit from increased property values and the right to ridie golf carts around the neighborhood could make us an offer on it and keep the liquor license legitimate. We would save money if we simply gave it to them.

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    • December 23, 2014 at 9:28 am
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      the propaganda issued is that the golf course needs to suck up more citizens’ tax money in order that the real estate value in Cypress head homes do not go lower. but for three homes in port orange which were in danger of foreclosure,the owners being over 62 yrs. old who had lived in their homes in Port Orange for over 20 years, the citizens on Port Orange having voted to financially help those elders, the city council voted no to approving the proposition. IMAGINE THAT. and compare that to what is trying being done for residents of Cypress Head. The real issue is buying votes from all the reiskidents in cypress head as opposed to 3 wanting seniors whom the city does not care about, as well as setting up profits for the bank which will loan the construction money to the city, and the working money to a construction outfit.
      Seems like old times in Port Orange. — hank

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  • December 23, 2014 at 4:04 am
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    FYI Port Orange.
    Please see letter below to Margaret Roberts, City Attorney. These issues now under so much scrutiny must be fully vetted before council moves forward with any taxpayer expenditures for the Cypress Head Golf Course. Chief Bob Ford, PhD and Scott Stiltner (former POPD Lieutenant), both honorable gentlemen with strong forensic backgrounds, surely want to insist that these issues be laid to rest before proceeding with any taxpayer funded work on the CHGC. Too many questions remain unanswered.
    Cypress Head Golf Course Dec 19
    From:
    Janice Cornelius
    To: Margaret Roberts
    Cc: David Harden M.B. Gilreath – MBG
    Dear Ms. Roberts,
    As you may be aware, there as been an inquiry into whether the Cypress Head Golf Course is entitled to a tax exemption. While we know the property is owned by the city, Mr. Gilreath, has asked me to contact you regarding any agreements the city may have with third party entity’s in the running of the golf course or any of it’s facilities (restaurant, pro shop, etc.).
    Once an inquiry is made, we are obligated to follow up and review the circumstance of the complaint. Thank you in advance for your cooperation in reference to this matter.
    Sincerely,
    Jan Cornelius, C.F.E.
    Chief Deputy Property Appraiser

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  • December 23, 2014 at 5:54 am
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    Councilmen, why would the City of Port Orange pay $200,000 for another companies payroll? How many employees are they paying and how much an hour? I don’t understand why we are keeping Kemper any way, they have been wasting our money for years and keep giving poor excuses as to why they are not making any profit. Please let’s figure out ways to make money, not keep giving it away. It is not fair to the citizens and employees that have helped build our city. Our water and sewer rates will increase so much that a lot of us won’t be able to afford to live here anymore. Please use the cities money like it was your personal money and quit giving it away.

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    • December 23, 2014 at 9:32 am
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      to RD> ….. use the cities money like it was your personal money,,,? I know what you mean, but ironically that is exactly the problem

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      • December 24, 2014 at 3:38 am
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        Sorry it did come out the wrong way, some of us are on vey limited funds and have to budget our home finances.

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  • December 23, 2014 at 8:41 am
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    I just don’t get it !!!! —
    Let me get this straight ; The City owns the liquor license at the county club and assumes all the legal liability exposure, while Kemper Sports reaps the benefits from profits on the sale of the alcohol. WTF !
    The City Attorney previously advised the city council that Florida law saves harmless the bartender and license holders from any liability that occurs from a bartender serving to many alcoholic drinks to a patron [maybe].
    ***** HOWEVER ****** the attorney failed to mention that if that same bartender serves a minor that subsequently gets involved in an accident, all bets are off. The bartender; the Golf Board and the City are all exposed to some serious legal liabilities in Florida courts. The members of the Board could lose their homes while the City may have to raise local taxes just to pay for the claims. . While Kemper Sports walks away whistling.
    In addition if the bartenders salary is being paid from a city owned account, then those bartenders could be considered city employees resulting in other liabilities. Is the City reviewing any of their resume’s ?
    I for one do not think the City should be involved in the sale of alcoholic beverages. Especially not with my tax money.

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    • December 24, 2014 at 3:43 am
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      Didn’t the Mayor say no to alcohol at city events?

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    • December 24, 2014 at 3:55 am
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      Does the city attorney work for the city or the mayor? She does not seem to watch out for the city much, only what the mayor wants!

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  • December 23, 2014 at 1:27 pm
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    I know a lot of dirt and have seen a lot of dirt watching the city upper management & City Council go through their daily routine of conducting city business. I can only say GOD HELP AMERICA if there are many more cities being run as poorly in every aspect as been witnessed these past two years by the taxpayers and public in general.
    It is my understanding that Kemper is a privately owned company contracted by the city to manage the golf course. That would mean that Kemper pays their employees salaries…correct:
    Then if Kemper is closing the golf course temporarily their employees should be temporarily laid off and then re-hired later if Kemper deems them good employees-correct? This happens frequently around town with restaurants.
    SO THE BIG QUESTION IS:WHY IS THE CITY GOING TO GIVE KEMPER $200,00 OF TAXPAYERS MONEY TO PAY SALARIES WHILE THE GOLF COURSE IS CLOSED????
    Can someone please explain this to me in language I can understand.

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    • December 23, 2014 at 11:50 pm
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      hank to knows all the dirt: perhaps it is called special interest politics, or you pay because I know about a lot of dirt, or someone special for some reason connected with kemper management, or perhaps the city is just showing brotherly compassion and love around Christmas time.

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  • December 23, 2014 at 1:36 pm
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    This is another in an endless line of examples that clearly show that public/private partnerships just don’t work! I bet that 99% of the city’s tax paying residents have never played a single round of golf. Why should the majority of tax payers have to subsidize the golf course and the employees of a private “for profit corporation”. This is just plain wrong. Instead, charge higher greens fees to the persons who actually use the course and by doing so, keep the cost “real”. If it gets to expensive, the course will fail. I’m just hearing about this business that the bar staff get paid from a City account. If that is true, the city has opened itself (the tax payers) up to some major liability and litigation. Further, is there some obscure law that says every city has to have a golf course? Almost all of them operate at a loss. I say close them all down and plant a big ass vegetable garden! Also, I want the city to start subsidizing kayaking, indoor rock wall climbing, kung fu lessons, singles tantric yoga, and sunday pub crawls. These are a few of the activities that I enjoy. I bet we could find just as many interested tax payers that would support these choices as those that go golfing. Council, get out of the golf business and into the business of running a city responsibly!

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    • December 23, 2014 at 11:53 pm
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      hank to fiddle de: the chamber of commerce makes good use of the golf course, holding tournaments and such. Those who do golf are special people. Just look at their demeanor at the cyrpess head golf course.

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  • December 23, 2014 at 2:24 pm
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    After reading this blog it sounds to me like there are a lot of very angry people out there opposed to this whole idea of giving Kemper $200,000. I have to agree 100% with all of them and thanks Mike Gardner for researching the liquor license problem too and all the legal ramifications involved.
    We know you councilmen read this blog so why do some of you obviously ignore the obvious? It is up to you people to make decisions that affect the well being of Port Orange Citizens not just the residents of Cypress Head.
    The interim-City Manager may well be a nice old man but ultimately he is only interested in putting in his time, collecting $3,000 a week to pad his retirement income to finish restoring his mansion and couldn’t give a fiddlers fart about what is happening in this city. He will be long gone and the city and it’s residents will still be here.
    WAKE UP AND DO THE RIGHT THING.

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    • December 23, 2014 at 11:58 pm
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      hank to mad scientist. the city manager does what the city council wants him to do. I think he could care less about what should be done with the golf course. I don’t think anyone has asked him what he the city manager thinks about putting 1.5 million into the golf club so that real estate values will not plummet. The mayor by phone should tell the city manager the answer to the question about the golf course and then the city manager should at a city council meeting be asked the question and answer it as best as he can remember what the may has told him.
      I do not think this city manager would do that. He does not need Mayor Green for anything. The city manager is wisely going back to retirement with the money he has made and build his retirement home.

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  • December 23, 2014 at 2:34 pm
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    Fiddle Dee Dee . . . FYI the City is about to start subsidize kayaking. Have you see the Riverwalk plans with the state of the art kayak launch with custom wake break? Hope we have a lot of residents that kayak, because it’s not cheap to do what they are going to build. Also, the City subsidizes baseball, softball, basketball, tennis courts, nature trails, boat ramps, playgrounds, parks, pavilions, soccer fields, skateboard park, YMCA, Adult Activity center and much more. Are you suggesting that we should or should not be subsidizing all of those as well? Should we just be a City with no amenities and community programs? Why would anyone want to live in a place like that?

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    • December 23, 2014 at 6:25 pm
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      That’s fine if they want a City Owned and run Public Golf Course.
      Apparently the City of Daytona Beach has made it work for many years.
      The waters on this entire deal are too muddy. Private management company, clubhouse restaurant, liquor license, entrance via neighborhood subdivision. They need to clear the air and make some firm decisions. As it stands now it stinks throughout City Hall.
      This concerned citizen says flush it and wash your hands.

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    • December 24, 2014 at 12:01 am
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      hank to open minded: all the amenities you just wrote I think are being heavily used by the citizens. This is not the case at the golf course.

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  • December 24, 2014 at 9:02 am
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    Wait a minute folks, take a walk around the Golf Course and you decide if there is a need to refurbish the course. I took that walk yesterday. The course looks in pretty good shape to me. From my observations there was nothing obvious on the condition of the course that would have any negative effect on the value of surrounding homes. I would move there in a New York minute.
    The greens [were the flags are] and some of the Tees need some attention, but with a little TLC they could be fixed
    So this begs the question, who decided that the course needs more than $million dollar renovation and why?? The management claims that the number of players may decrease if millions are not spent. I say so what? From all indications the number of players will decrease over the next few years anyway.
    I suggest that we use those millions to mitigate some of the flooding problems in the city. And instead hire a competent crew of green-keepers that can recover the greens and re-sod the tees.
    So I say get off your ass and take a walk around YOUR course and get educated on the issue. I am sure none of the councilmen took the time to check condition of the course or the validity of the claims that it was somewhat rundown.

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    • December 25, 2014 at 12:22 am
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      I think the councilmen, Kemper and some of us “bad citizens” should take the walk you did and find out what really needs to be done on the course, The club house will never make money so why put money into a lemon, it could be just a small bar. We would save a lot of money not paying for a chef. Council take the time to really look into to all these stupid expenses and really BIG MISTAKES the city has been making for years. You represent the citizens- not the special interest groups and the mayor who has too many shady contacts.

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  • December 24, 2014 at 11:13 am
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    My toilet seat just came loose. Did I call a plumber at a house call for about $60? NO, I got out the philips head screwdriver and fixed it myself in a jiffy. It was a minor repair.
    I like Wait a Minutes idea of hiring some competent green’s keepers to make the minor repairs that need to be done with a little TlC and a minimal amount of expense….not $1.5 million dollars.
    I think it is admirable that Wait a Minute took the time to actually walk the golf course and bring his observations to us. Perhaps others will do the same and then demand to know where all of this money requested by Kemper is going to be spent and on what.
    Something stinks about this whole situation.
    Ccc

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    • December 24, 2014 at 3:11 pm
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      to Mad Scientist. I don’t know how much money will be spent on the greens, but I wonder about the renovations of the club house. I don’t think you get a construction company to put a door on your house for less than $1000. My suspicious experience that if the work does not call for big money, no sense even doing it by a construction company. When I was up in new york and extended my home I noticed how easy it was for the construction guy to figure out what to charge. You get a clip board. Electrical heating in 4 rooms, $1000 each. Bathroom $1000 and then extra if you want a toilet, sink and shower. Front and back exit to the extension $1000 each. Finally the total was $30,000 for a small extension converting and using the in house garage that was already there. Hard job, construction work, is it not?

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  • December 24, 2014 at 2:33 pm
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    Again I suggest hiring Bill Murray as our greens keeper. He could not only do all the minor repairs but he could guard against anyone illegally watering the grass with their leaking lizard.

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    • December 25, 2014 at 5:42 pm
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      Kemper Sports Management is a large corporation. Why must the city pay for the salaries of the Cypress Head Kemper Sports Management, when the city pays for the renovations? Wow, what a deal Kemper Sports has with the city of Port Orange. I think Kemper Sports web site is at http://www.kempersports.com/

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  • December 25, 2014 at 7:33 pm
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    First of all, A Merry Christmas to you all! Know that while I don’t always agree with you all, I do appreciate and do think about what you post. Ultimately, your involvement, your insights will make for better decisions for Port Orange.
    All too long council has been spoon fed key information by the manager and staff. Very little alternative information has in the past been available to council. As one astute observer said, “if I control the information to a legislator, I have effectively controlled his vote.” Today, blogs such as this and voices such as yours are making a difference providing independent information, keep up the good work.
    I have been advised by the Assistant City Attorney that council members should avoid participating in the blog. I have reviewed his analysis, and frankly I disagree on his premises/conclusions.
    The Freedom of Information Act was not enacted to limit communication between an elected official and the public. What I will do however, to address his concerns is place a warning on any blog I author that port-orange council members should not respond to my post (to avoid initiating a discussion outside of a noticed meeting). I will also make a copy of my post and email it to my city email so there is a record of all posts that I make on the city website (in case the city needs to honor an FOIA request). All emails containing blog materials will be described by date, blog, and FOIA designation for search purposes.
    Best, Bob Ford

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  • December 26, 2014 at 9:04 am
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    As much of that ” spoon fed information ‘ is supplied in secret meetings with the Manager, And by your own logic regarding the value of independent citizen input will you likewise make the contents of those secret discussions known to your constituents so they may provide that valuable input on secret matters also ?
    I for one am more than a little concerned with the disastrous state of proceedings in the Finance department, the role of the City’s Audit firm in those proceeding relative to their independence, AND what has been said to Council in your private briefings with the Auditor and the Manager and his staff – NONE OF WHICH HAS BEEN DISCLOSED TO THE PUBLIC.
    DITTO for the communication you received from the Assistant City Attorney attempting to throttle your 1st Amendments rights to speak and blog, AND while you know what he communicated to you how do you know what he and the City Attorney and Manager may have has communicated to others most of whom we never hear from outside of Council.
    Have they been successfully muted OR DO WE JUST HAVE A SECRET COUNCIL ??

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