Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Golf pro gets $108,000 settlement from city

Posted By on Wed, Apr 8, 2015 at 4:59 PM

A contractor working at a city golf course went from owing the city $25,000 to being paid $108,000.

Last month, we reported on how the State Auditor’s Office uncovered lax management of cash at Riverfront Park and at the city’s golf courses. A management letter to city officials concerning the audit stated that one contractor, Gary Lindeblad, failed to make remittances to the parks department and owed $25,000 under the terms of his contract for managing Indian Canyon Golf Course, which has seen fewer visitors compared to the other three city-owned golf courses over the years due to its state of disrepair.

Lindeblad disputed the conclusion of the audit and, instead convinced the Spokane Parks Board that the city owes him money. During its March meeting, the parks board went into executive session (where no record of discussions is made public) to consider a settlement with Lindeblad. When the board emerged, they voted 9-2 to approve the settlement, with Park Board President Chris Wright and Mike Allen, city council’s liaison to the board, voting against.

Wright wouldn’t comment on the settlement. Allen tells the Inlander that he’s only voted against the advice of the city attorney twice before, and says there were parts of the settlement that needed further explaining, before declining to comment further.

Documents obtained through a public records request shed more light in the situation. According to the settlement, Lindeblad submitted a settlement in November of last year to Leroy Eadie, director of parks, that compared data between Indian Canyon and Down River golf courses, both owned by the city, showing that Indian Canyon had significantly fewer rounds played, with less revenue from carts and range fees.

“This percentage decrease was allegedly due to the intentional, reckless and/or negligent maintenance and/or repair of Indian Canyon Golf Course,” reads the settlement, which goes on to state that Lindeblad lost profits because of his contract.

A handwritten three-page note from Lindeblad concluded, based on differences of range and cart fees between Downriver Golf Course and Indian Golf course, that the city owed him $190,637.

“This figure does not include the giant losses I suffered in both pro-shop sales, and, especially the restaurant,” reads the note from Lindebald, which states he would have also gotten a bonus from green fees.

The settlement is based on this amount but subtracted $88,205.45 Lindeblad owed to the city for a final pay out of $107,729.05. Under the terms of the settlement, which includes a gag order for both parties, Lindeblad has released the city from legal liability.

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