Culture

Alameda wants a mulligan on lawsuit against operators of its prestigious Bay Area golf course


ALAMEDA, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 3: Corica Park Golf Course owners Umesh Patel and his wife Avani Patel walk along the golf course at Corica Park Golf Course in Alameda, Calif., on Monday, Oct. 3, 2022. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)

ALAMEDA — A legal battle that drove relationships at Alameda’s municipal greens into the rough may soon run its course.

Accusations of poor management, parochial retaliation and a “systematic campaign” to control the historic greens at Corica Park evolved last year into a pair of opposing lawsuits filed by Alameda officials and the business they enlisted to run it.

But an Alameda County Superior Court has tipped its hand that the city’s arguments aren’t up to par.

Corica Park is a city-owned, 333-acre golf facility, which was leased in 2012 to Greenway Golf Associates (GGA) to manage operations of the two 18-hole courses, 9-hole course, driving range and clubhouse on Bay Farm Island.

After GGA’s founders—George Kelley, Ken Campbell and Marc Logan—spearheaded a facelift of the greens in 2018, Golf Magazine dubbed Corica Park one of America’s best city-owned courses, calling it “golf’s version of Festivus: it’s the country club for the rest of us.”

But trouble began brewing after Umesh and Avani Patel acquired enough shares of GGA to become majority owners in April 2020.

In a March 21 letter, then-City Manager Eric Levitt and Amy Wooldridge, Alameda’s director of recreation and parks, accused GGA and Umesh Patel of violating their lease—active through at least 2053—by pausing construction of the North Course, and demanded the company provide a final schedule of the build-out.

The Patels said the delay wasn’t of their own volition.

ALAMEDA, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 3: Corica Park Golf Course owners Umesh Patel and his wife Avani Patel walk along the golf course at Corica Park Golf Course in Alameda, Calif., on Monday, Oct. 3, 2022. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group) 

Logan, who was Corica Park’s last founding shareholder and chief agronomist, first sued GGA earlier in March over disputes about management of the company’s finances. The Patels put him on administrative leave while the case headed for court, pausing his work redesigning the North Course during litigation.

Logan and the Patels were able to “amicably” settle in December, and a new design and construction team will resume the North Course’s re-design in 2023 since he is no longer a partner at Corica Park.

For now, that resolution appears to have left Alameda officials in the weeds with their own lawsuit, since it piggybacked off of claims within Logan’s complaints. Attorneys representing the city used that evidence to request a temporary restraining order allowing them to audit GGA’s books and the ability to terminate Corica Park’s lease agreement if construction to complete North Course renovations did not resume.

In November, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch found that Alameda officials erroneously used ongoing litigation between GGA’s shareholders as evidence that they defaulted on their lease, without any other findings to support the claim—wrongfully interfering with GGA’s operations in the process.

Additionally, the judge ruled that GGA has presented evidence that they did comply with their lease obligations. Unless Alameda can show otherwise, GGA is entitled to the “quiet and peaceful enjoyment of the Golf Complex without objection or interference from the city,” Roesch said.

Alameda amended its complain …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment

      

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