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WARREN Golf course operator asks officials to pay up



Published: Mon, February 18, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The law director said he didn't realize a bill for a fund-raiser had not been paid.

By PEGGY SINKOVICH

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

WARREN -- The man who has been operating Avalon South Golf Course for the city says he hopes officials who owe him money pay him before he leaves his post.

Tony Joy was notified Feb. 7 that he is being removed as course manager. His last day is Friday.

Joy says Greg Hicks, city law director, owes him $2,000 for a fund-raiser he had at the facility in 1999 and Dave Robison, director of engineering, owes him $400 for a golf outing last year.

"I'm not pointing fingers at anyone, but I would like to be paid," Joy said.

Response: Hicks said he didn't realize the fund-raiser bill hadn't been paid.

"The first I heard that it wasn't paid was when I was contacted by The Vindicator," Hicks said. "I went back and found a receipt that was marked paid. I don't know who marked it. I then went and tried to find a canceled check, but I couldn't find one."

Hicks said he doesn't know if he gave a check to Joy and the check was misplaced.

"I don't know what happened, but I am sorry for any problems this may have caused. I wish Tony would have brought this to my attention before this."

Hicks said he has sent another check to Joy.

Robison could not be reached.

Questioning: Joy said the FBI has asked him about political golf outings at the city-owned course and about circumstances surrounding construction of a clubhouse. The 1995 project was not bid out. Robison, however, gave a letter to city council at the time saying bids would be sought.

Hicks said Joy was never obligated to seek competitive bids.

He added, however, that he's confused by the nature of Robison's involvement.

Joy has said he had nothing to do with awarding the clubhouse contract, that it was the city administration.

Dan Sferra, a state representative who was Warren's mayor at the time, disputes that.

Many of the decisions regarding Avalon and Joy's lease agreement to run it were handled by the Sferra administration.

Officials have said a state audit from 2000 includes findings for recovery against Avalon. Results of that audit have not yet been released publicly.

Joy has had ongoing financial problems at the golf course.

sinkovich@vindy.com




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