Open Appeal to President Curt Karpel
Dear Mr. Karpel,
I have read your very inspiring message dated May 30th 2017 and thank you. I am in favor of many of the subject matter you have written about, hence I am writing this letter to obtain detailed information which I as well as every mandatory member hungers to know. It is my sincere desire that you accept my questions as well as my remarks within the same spirit as I accepted yours.
To begin with I read your apology; “I take full responsibility for presenting a plan that did not fulfill our expectations”. After the avowal you came to a halt without giving us any info as to what “full responsibility” entails?
In your next paragraph you referred to a detailed plan, “hole-by-hole”. That brings forth the question is there such a plan? If the answer is “yes” each mandatory member being asked to pay another $625 deserves the opportunity to see the plan before we vote. Are you willing to post the plan to the Delaire website? Speaking about a new assessment, we have not heard words as to the participation of the non-resident members? Do they get a free ride? Are we subsidizing them? They use the golf course. Shouldn’t they pay the same as we? That is what spending other people’s money all is about!
The next inquiry is, who is the landscape designer? Is there such a person? If “yes” a history of his accomplishments would be welcomed. The only reference I find as to a landscaper is that our golf course superintendent with the Greens committee will tackle the new project. “Been there, done that”. In the real world smart management never returns to the makers of a FIASCO. The words most often spoken are “YOU’RE FIRED”.
Missing in your May 30th letter is a proper coordination of the proposed expenditures as quoted and the explanation given in your August 1, 2016 message. In that note it states: “I am pleased to tell you the project is under budget with the sole exception of landscaping”. You then voiced that the cost of such landscaping will add $175,000 and will be added to the $75,000 in the project budget making it $250,000. (This was over and apart. Not part of the $4.4 million not to exceed project?) Previously we were informed that another $500,000 was needed due to the LWDD unexpected defoliate problem. (State or County programs are always publicized well in advance)The message continues that an additional $192,500 will be required for tree mitigation, surveys, moving cart paths, and relocating two greens. (Not included and over and apart from the $4.4 million not to exceed project?) Now $407,395 will be needed to correct the mistakes made that you claim you are taking full responsibility for. One such instance is removing major sections of the brown pine straw which replaced the grass in the roughs, now to be replaced with grass. This is a round robin of wasted precious money.
All of those mind boggling numbers add up to $1,349,000. How can any credence be given to your assertion that the total and final cost for this golf course project will be $4,982,393. At the 12/20/2016 Town Hall meeting the administration “talked the talk". 14 points were presented that the $4.4 million not to exceed program was a complete program. No mention made it would be "without Landscaping”.
Your letter of 5/30/17 gave no details about the $2million dollar budget for golf course maintenance that should have been saved during the construction of the 27 holes at one time? Neither that $2 million dollars, nor a portion was mentioned in the 2016 Financials, denoting it was spent. Our maintenance staff built the Woods course. Is that where the $2 million dollars was allocated? The contractor left in September before the Woods course was finished. Adding those dollars to the $1,349,000 leads to $3,349,000 a far cry from the $4.4 million. You reported “The final cost for this golf course project will be $4,982,359”. Doing the math it seems that it is closer to $8 million. Enlighten us, as after all the facts emerged, how was it possible to have $32,000 left over from the original golf renovation. Not having disclosed what taking full responsibility means, how significant is your text “There is no expectation or plan for future work to be done to our courses”. We heard that before, and here we are again with a new plan, and a new request for money without explaining the over investing of our assets.
My mentioning that we have destroyed the JOE LEE golf course ended up with Salzman sending forth a grievance against me for telling it as it is. Our Golf Course was destroyed; your May 30th letter corroborates such an observation. Is telling the truth a crime at Delaire?
The aftermath of the destruction of our golf course is not only relegated to our courses, it is an eradication of a previous valuable back yard view known as "golf course view”. The vistas are now so bad that selling with a “golf course view” is more difficult than selling a home with an “inside view”. You turned everything upside down with the experiment of defining fairways with brown pine straw. Who would believe that any reasonable person would buy into such a program?
Without a meticulous review by a “Professional” we must not allow the administration to make any further decisions regarding spending our precious dollars. Putting the same people in charge that got us into this mess is not in our best interest. Due to the “appearance” of our main attraction, we have sold only 5 houses in the past 6 months. The 4 in the hopper can’t be counted on until completed.
Continually spending with little prospect of new money coming into our “Capital Improvement Fund” due to the poor property sales is the first problem we must tackle and solve. We do need to improve the golf course to attract new equity members. That is the “catch 22”. To solve the problem we must shed the old and bring forth the new. Call it “Make Delaire Great Again”.
What does that require? A new feeling of “unity”. Mandatory members must be assured that their wishes are to be catered to as “clientele” at an “exclusive” facility, not as captives or taken for granted. That their vote is sacred, and cannot be “fiddled” with. A grievance system that prevents members' maltreatment, like them or not, meteing out a fair and level playing field. Ending the practice of cover-ups and getting back to transparency by deeds not words.
Governance that represents the owners of Delaire chosen for their talents not based on a popularity contest. Going back to a 15 member board to get a better member owners perspective. Putting a stop to “WE ARE THE BOARD AND CAN DO AS WE WISH”! We need a complete overhaul of our By-laws. A mandate for the people, by the people, that will attract new members and create an appealing environment. Harmonize with members to be a functioning component of the club, instead of just being absorbed. Not governing by intimidation or condoning ostracizing of members in any form which terrorizes the elderly. The days of bullying are over. Delaire is facing such a quandary due to abuse of power and selective enforcement allowed to be perpetrated to others by a blasé membership.
Golf Clubs are no longer the preferred life style of the rich and retired. Catering to all those that still have an interest in the fading “panache” are a must. To remain solvent we better adopt such ideas. NOW IS THE TIME!
Our latest fiscal report indicated a negative operating basis of $103,785 in the first 5 month of the year (using the $97,094 negative and deducting the last year surplus of $6,691 = $103,785). That loss in our operations with what is needed to keep us functioning is an omen of fiscal problems in the near future.
We need to “drain the swamp” it’s one of the ways of attracting new members. Substituting the name by-laws, (after making drastic changes of evenhandedness) and renaming them as “MEMBERS BILL OF RIGHTS" is just an example of what new renaming might accomplish. Those are some ideas; there must be many more that will save us now and in the future.
New ideas, new formats, will invigorate our members to support our needs with a new passion. We desperately have a need for a “REVIVAL”. More borrowing, spending and dipping into future funding “on the come” as you suggest, as well as constant invasion of our “Capital Improvement Fund”, is steering a course toward “Insolvency”.
Mr. President, I urge you to save our club, and our investment in our homes. ARE YOU UP TO THE TASK? IF NOT, BE BRAVE ENOUGH TO LET ANOTHER DO THE NEEDED JOB! That is the question for each board member now and into the future! THAT IS WHAT I CONSIDER TAKING FULL RESPONSIBILITY!