It is our opinion, after examining all of the details we are presenting below, with all of the supporting documentation, that Delaire members were purposely misled and the truth distorted. Some may choose to think that we were lied to. Others may think the key players are just poor historians. You decide.
Liars? Bumblers? - Or Both?
The Facts Behind the L-38 Canal Clearing
Art Newman, Steve Salzman, Ron Ellish and Curt Karpel all were involved in the renovation of the golf courses. Ellish was not deposed, so there is no written record of his position. What you will see in this article is an account of ineptitude that defies all logic. In sworn depositions, given under oath and penalty of perjury, all the deposed parties appear to have lied. We will supply you with incontrovertible evidence of the responses that go beyond mere forgetfulness or misstatements. Their negligence is now costing Delaire members hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Let’s briefly examine the qualifications of the 3 Delaire individuals who headed the renovation project.
Steve Salzman was the man who headed Delaire’s Do It Yourself renovation in 2002-2003. Ron Ellish has been a Certified General Contractor since 1982. Art Newman is also a Florida Certified General Contractor since 1989. Kipp Schulties and Southeastern Golf also hold Florida licenses commensurate with the work they do.
Our Delaire renovation leaders who were deposed state that the costly issues that involved the Lake Worth Drainage District and the clear cutting of our canals on the north and south boundaries of Delaire were unforeseeable. In his deposition, Salzman states, “We had the same situation when we did the course in 2002 and we moved the green but received permission from, I don't think it was the Lake Worth Drainage District, to utilize their easement.” Given that the canals are an integral part of our community’s flood control system; didn’t anyone think it might be wise to check with LWDD to see if there were permits required or any other compliance issues? Considering the "same situation" existed in Salzman's last Delaire renovation experience, why wouldn't you bounce this matter off of the LWDD?
It appears that LWDD was willing to compromise on the issue of the clear cutting. See this letter they sent to Delaire, offering the possibility of a solution that could have preserved much of the original plan and avoided the clear cutting. Why this didn't come to fruition we are not certain, but continue to investigate. We will keep you posted.
In Karpel’s deposition, he seems almost elated about how serendipitous we were to have LWDD discover our transgressions when they did. Karpel's letter of 8/1/16, which we have highlighted, implies that LWDD is somehow responsible for us incurring several hundred thousand dollars worth of additional costs. Read the letter.
It wasn’t too long ago when LWDD clear cut the E-4 canal that runs adjacent to Blue/Lakes #5 hole on the eastern boundary of the course. Also didn’t anyone happen to catch it when they clear cut the Bocaire side of the L-38 canal, immediately opposite the affected area? How can they say it was unforeseeable when we have actually witnessed it before. The evidence of LWDD's policy towards their canals has been staring us in the face on two boundaries of the course. It was absolutely foreseeable.
In their possession, Delaire, Schulties and Southeastern had a survey that clearly shows all the details of the LWDD Rights of Way, Utility Easements, Drainage Easements and boundaries. See excerpts from the survey that was prepared originally in 2009 and updated in 2011. It is the same survey that was submitted to Delray Beach for a Site Plan Review in April, 2016, a couple of weeks after construction was underway. Delaire applied for no building or construction permits, though Delray Beach regulations show they are required for most elements of the renovation. How can these two Certified General Contractors, DIY Renovator Salzman, Schulties, a course designer with more than 40 projects under his belt and Southeastern Golf, a certified course builder since 1988 overlook clearly marked encroachments on the LWDD Right of Way? How can they start a project of this scope without applying for permits in Delray Beach? In Florida, if you are surrounded on three sides by water, wouldn't it be prudent to check with the water authority to determine compliance issues? How can they say they did not know and this was totally unforeseeable? In our opinion, their failures in this area are unconscionable. Who is responsible? Karpel, Newman and Salzman should all resign from the board. If the architect or contractor was contractually obligated to do a site analysis or assure compliance with building regulations, then we should seek recompense from them.
Under no circumstances, should the guys who screwed this project up be allowed to have oversight over any more renovation or enhancement activity.