Work to prepare the municipal golf course for winter must begin soon.
By DENISE DICK
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- The city and the operator of its municipal golf course will meet with an arbitrator within 30 days to determine who will take steps to winterize the course.
"A golf course isn't like your front lawn," said Greg Hicks, city law director, after a pretrial hearing Friday morning in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court. "There's a lot of work that has to be done in making sure the course will be in good condition."
Tony Joy, who has operated the city-owned Avalon South golf course since 1989, filed a lawsuit against the city contending breach of contract when it tried to evict him earlier this year.
Joy is to provide the city with the procedure he follows to prepare the course for the winter. The city then will have a few days to have other golf course professionals review that before going before an arbitrator.
Here's the issue
Hicks said the issue before the arbitrator is whether Joy will do the winterization work or the city will have someone else do it. Arbitration also will hammer out how Joy would recover those costs if he does the winterization work and then is ousted as its operator. Those are the only issues to be determined in arbitration.
"Our concern is protecting the asset," said Hicks.
That's also a concern for Joy.
"We have many concerns, but one of them is protecting the asset," said Atty. Richard Schwartz, who represents Joy.
Both Hicks and Schwartz said the process to winterize must begin soon.
When the city tried to evict Joy from the Howland course, it cited unpaid rental fees, failure to pay a bank loan and failure to maintain liability insurance.
In his suit against the city, Joy countered that officials told him he would be credited for improvements he made to the facility and that in 1988 the city's safety-service director told him he would not have to pay taxes.
Joy has agreed to put his monthly rent deposits in an escrow account until the suit is settled. Under the agreement with the city, Joy has to pay a percentage of revenue from green fees, food, alcohol, golf cart rental and other items into the escrow account.
The case is before Judge Andrew Logan.