Gateway Sun

Details have emerged in the sale of the Gateway Golf and Country Club.

According to sources, on January 11 the GGCC’s Board of Directors will recommend that the members accept an offer that was made by a group being led by the club’s former General Manager, Jimmy Lynn.

Several members have expressed concern about Lynn regaining control of the club – with some going so far as saying that it was Lynn’s decision-making that put the GGCC in its poor financial position in the first place. According to his LinkedIn profile, Lynn was the GM from 2010-2013.

While some of the club’s members may not be pleased with Lynn’s involvement in the purchase, the Gateway Sun has learned that Lynn’s group is offering an amount that far exceeds the next highest bid.

Based on what we’ve been told, Lynn’s group has offered between $1 million and $3 million in cash plus assumption of the club’s existing debt. The GGCC’s estimated debt is about $3.5 million, making the over-all offer $4.5-$6.5 million.

We attempted to confirm the information by calling multiple club officials, but the only person the Sun was able to reach was the current GM, John Costello.

Costello confirmed the January 11 date to notify the members, but would not confirm any of the financial details we asked him about. Costello seemed to suggest our information was inaccurate, but when we asked Costello point blank to tell us our information was wrong, he wouldn’t.

One person with knowledge of the situation told the Sun that the consensus in the golf club industry is that the Gateway Golf & Country Club is worth $4 million today. Therefore if the information about the offer is accurate, it would mean the club’s equity members are receiving a premium and could possibly even recoup some of their investment.

It is believed that members will have up to 30 days to respond to the offer once it’s officially announced.

break-line

It’s been awhile since I researched all this stuff, but looking over my notes the conclusion I reached at the time was that the club (once sold) would almost certainly no longer be a private club.

It will either be semi-private or possibly even a public club.

However, I did come across a few situations where a club was sold, went public, built up its membership base substantially until they had enough members who agreed to buy enough equity memberships to bring the club back private.

Whether that’s Lynn’s plan or not I don’t know. I must stress that I’ve never spoken to Jimmy Lynn before. I’m just saying that – in my own opinion – I’m convinced the GGCC will no longer be a fully private club once the sale is complete. Or at least not long after it.

As to people’s accusations that Lynn is responsible for the GGCC’s financial mess, I would point out that he’s been gone since 2013. New management would have had 3 or 4 years to right the ship and could not.

Besides, I’ve also heard plenty of accusations lobbed at current and former members of the GGCC Board of Directors. From the sounds of it, the place was dysfunctional for years and the problems at the GGCC were bigger than any one person could or should be blamed for.

In the end, a clean slate with all new ownership (and management) is the only thing that could possibly save the Gateway Golf & Country Club.

We should know sometime in February 2018 if the members agree to sell their club to Jimmy Lynn’s group.

About Jeff Kuntz

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Editor of the Gateway Sun and owner of restaurant delivery service Florida Food Runner.

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