Councilman Eric Noble praised OS Golf Course owner Curt Zander for his work over 20-plus years. Noble said he hoped the recent audit of the golf course, brought about after complaints from citizens, leads to an end of “the narrative”…which he didn’t specify. Noble did not note that, 10 minutes before he spoke and likely as the direct result of an audit that confirmed Zander’s lack of financial reporting to the city he leases the golf course from, Zander made his first financial presentation in … years. Zander will now be under the microscope to provide precisely the monthly documents that his lease, originally signed in 2005, requires.
Please allow me to preface this by disclosing that while I have known Mr. Zander for years I have no more than a passing acquaintance with him and I do not golf. That said, perhaps the appearance of Mr. Zander will end(or not) the endless back and forth discussion about past golf course happenings but I hope a discussion about the “rest of the story” gains some traction, the potential for helping avoid these type of things in the future is there. That discussion would be about the nature of contracts. While one party to the golf contract has been getting the hell beat out of him, what about the other side? The allegations of misdeeds have been pointed one way, at Zander, and have turned up some relatively small problems given the long term nature of the contractual relationship but we have seen little about the contractual failures of the other party, namely the city of O.S. Both parties have entered into essentially 2 types of contracts, a lease contract and extensions to several public works contracts and each has specific responsibilities within that contract. The city has employed at least 2 and elected 1 supposedly professional and qualified person and for all the years of the supposed contractual problems the entire city team missed them all? One mayor with a law degree, one experienced finance director, and one supposedly professional public works director with an engineering degree, and all are charged with contract administration of two relatively small contracts and they missed every one of the crimes committed by the other party?? For years?? One would think that we hire from the Ted Mack Employment Agency. Or perhaps Mr Zander was told not to bother with certain things and that they would be taken care of administratively. We will probably never know. However it worked, both parties shared some responsibility for the shortcomings and it has always seemed to me like witnessing a lopsided beating. When does the city take its’ rightful turn in the penalty box? The solution is really pretty simple.(1) If the citizens do not like the terms of any contract the city is anticipating then make your concerns known to the city council before the contract is authorized; doing it afterwards may be more fun but it is less effective.(2) If any citizen believes that during the tenure of any contract either party is in default then make the mayor and council aware of those specific concerns. Again, after the fact just doesn’t get it! I know that to be aware of all that is going on takes a lot of time and effort but such is the price of good gov’t. Like teenagers, the less you watch a gov’t the more it tends to run amuck. My thanks to all who take the time to participate in both the process of governing and also the process of keeping tabs on it. And to a press that provides an outlet for discussion. Pray for the people of Ukraine!!!!!
Mr. Jordan, thank you for your comments. Your are correct. The issues raised with the auditor were focused on the city of Ocean Shores and not on Curt Zander, lessee of the Ocean Shores Golf Course. As an Ocean Shores council member from 2018-2021, adhering to my fiduciary responsibilities to the taxpayers, I questioned the late Mayor Dingler in regards to the lease agreement with the Ocean Shores Golf Course. One of the issues I raised was the fact that Mr. Zander had not provided financial information that was required under the terms of the lease agreement. Her response to my email sent in November of 2018 was as follows: “We do not receive such reports and have not required them ever that I know of. Since we have no ability to change the rate without a renegotiation, they are unnecessary.” The only recourse I had was to bring it to the state auditor’s attention during the annual audit. Though the auditor did not find it an issue at that time, after a contentious election campaign during which I lost my bid for re-election, perhaps in part to my questioning of the golf course lease, several citizens contacted the auditor hotline and also asked them to, once again review the issue. This time, at the conclusion of the 2022 audit, the team issued recommendations and a management letter that the city responded to. My understanding is that our new mayor took action by informing Mr. Zander of the requirement to provide the information as required under the lease agreement and to report to council.