Golf course manager accused of contract breach

By Robin Fornoff

CMI PROJECTS EDITOR

rfornoff@cnjonline.com

Clovis City Commissioner Juan Garza thinks the operator of the city’s Colonial Park Golf Course violated terms of his lease by allowing UPS to use the clubhouse as a staging area to deliver packages on golf carts last month.

Other city officials, however, said Thursday they aren’t so sure.

Garza, who lives in Colonial Park, was the first to complain about young men in brown UPS suits zipping around his neighborhood on golf carts loaded down with packages, but with no lights or turn signals.

“It was around 4:30 or so and it’s kind of dark at that time,” said Garza. “My concern was safety.”

Garza said he reported it to City Manager Joe Thomas, who said he’d check it out. Garza said the next day he spotted another golf cart going door-to-door “so I followed him and I finally just asked him what he was doing.”

Garza said he was told UPS was leasing space in the old pro shop at the golf course clubhouse. He said he called Thomas again. Thomas said he dispatched Parks and Recreation Director Bill Bizzell and also contacted Police Chief Steve Sanders to find out what was going on.

Thomas said he had no clue what was happening and, “We were not notified in advance,” by anyone at the golf course. Thomas said it was later learned UPS had arranged to pay the golf course a small amount to store packages at the clubhouse and delivering the packages using carts supplied by UPS.

Sanders said his officers discovered UPS was using three of its own golf carts to make deliveries. None was equipped to be driven on the street, he said.

Sanders said carts can be driven on the street if they meet safety requirements specified by state law. Among the requirements, the carts must have a windshield and functional lights, he said.

Sanders said UPS was told it couldn’t continue unless the carts were properly equipped and the deliveries from the golf course ceased.

Real Golf LLC and its President Charlie Maciel run the course under a lease agreement with the city. Maciel declined comment, saying he had been instructed not to talk about the arrangement with UPS.

“I knew he was breaking the contract (lease) by doing that,” said Garza, noting he didn’t bring the issue up at the time because he was more concerned about safety issues. Asked if he planned to pursue it, Garza said it was Thomas’ responsibility to do that because, “I am not going to micro-manage. We have a city manager and it’s his job to take care of these things.”

A paragraph in the contract between the city and Real Golf LLC reads: “Golf Professional (Maciel) shall not sublet the Course or any operation or any portion of the Course…”

Thomas said he would have to defer any statements or conclusions to City Attorney David Richards although he did say of the language on subletting, “That’s pretty clear.”

Richards said he hadn’t had time to research the issue. He did note there may be definitions in the contract that define the course as the playing area proper and not the buildings.

UPS District Manager Jerwin Burke in Roswell was reported unavailable for comment until at least today.