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Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Hartford's two municipal golf courses, Keney Park and Goodwin park may be in jeopardy of opening or remaining open for the entire season based upon the default of the vendor MDM Golf of Wallingford.

In a report to the Internal Audit Commission last week, acting Corporation Counsel  L John van norden painted a somewhat bleak picture of the future with MDM as the city has declared them in default of their contract twice now.

Van Norden expressed concerns about the viability of MDM to live up to their end of the agreement and stated to the Commission that in his opinion "they don not have the financial where with all to do this" referring to MDM .

Concerns apparently began when the City received numerous complaints regarding the operation and management of the two courses. An audit was conducted by the City's Auditors and numerous problems were found. One of the larger problems was that numerous repairs and maintenance issues were required under the contract between MDM and the city.

In order to assure that those conditions were met, a letter of credit for several hundred thousand dollars was required by the City. Although MDM did initially provide the letter, it was allowed to lapse. When the city realized the letter had lapsed they requested a new letter of credit from MDM and that was never received.

According to Van Norden" we had some concerns about whether MDM had the financial where with all to do that (supply the letter)We were fairly convinced they couldn't, at that point we declared default again"

Ther is no indication of the amount that MDM is in default or the value of the improvements that have not taken place as required under their agreement with Hartford. According to Van N?orden , negotiations have apparently taken place and MDM was prepared to walk away from the leases The discussions were focused on not creating a lot of controversy in order to get MDM out , according to Van Norden.

Van Norden seemed somewhat critical of the entire process and claimed that much of the confusion occurred because "you had too many hands making the soup". He further stated that "my understanding of where this ultimately has to rest is with the supervision of the COO.

When asked about the process by Attorney Bruce Rubenstein, it seems that some basic practice's were not followed by the Office of the Corporation Counsel. Rubenstein questioned whether  a "hand off letter" was issued by the Corporation Counsel's Office to other City Departments involved to advise them of their responsibilities on the enforcement of the contract. Van Norden said no such notification was given after the contract was complete.

The hand-off letter to the finance Department would most likely have helped the letter of Credit from being allowed to expire if the Finance Department kept track of the dates.

In the meantime, although Van Norden hopes that MDM will be capable of opening and operating the courses, it seems questionable, A of today, the phone number for Keney park has a recording that" the number is not in service, the number has been disconnected", not a good sign


Par 3 said...

I rather play a round of Golf down Main Street than at the two City's lame excuses for golf courses. After a round at Keney you couldn't sell your clubs on e bay or even give them away to the boy's club.
Why don't hey sell the land to some state entity or non profit for a dollar so they can turn around and sell it for a hefty profit, or is that against the law just like the SAMA deal? .

Anonymous said...

MDM spread themselves to thin too fast and have not fulfilled their commitments to many courses they manage. Most are in a great state of disrepair relative to when they took over. Time to dump them in favor of a good long term operator.