Back Room Negotiating, Perhaps

By:  Rob Harris

In late August, we brought to your attention the ongoing saga of McInnis Park Golf Center and its principal, Catherine Munson, both of which are institutions in California’s Marin County.  Ms. Munson and her co-investors have defaulted on the rent payments to Marin County, from whom they lease the land on which the golf center is situated. When we last reported on this dispute, Munson was seeking debt forgiveness and a rent abatement from the county, citing the economy, ongoing losses suffered by the investors, and lease terms that permit the county to retain the improvements when the lease term expires. The county was not bending to the investors’ requests. emphasizing that it had made previous rent concessions and that other prospective management companies were interested in taking over the operations.

Marin County continues not to blink. Last week, the county Board of Supervisors voted to retain Richard Thorman, a well-credentialed consultant, to proceed to find a new concessionaire. His assignment includes assembling a bid proposal, developing a list of interested operators, facilitating their review of the property, evaluation of proposals and drawing a new lease.

For her part, Ms. Munson was reported to be playing a conciliatory role, suggesting that “a good compromise has been reached” and endorsing Thorman’s selection as consultant.

Her comments are all the more interesting as the Board of Supervisors, at its meeting, went into executive session to discuss “potential litigation” regarding the failure of the lessee to make payments.

So, let’s speculate. Is there an agreement in the works, whereby Munson and her partners will forego judicial action that could delay or block the turnover of the property in exchange for forgiveness of the debt and/or payments? Or, are the investors merely keeping their powder dry, with litigation soon to be brought?

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