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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Press Releases

August 11, 2014, Contact: Press Office (518) 474-4015

DiNapoli: Monroe County Failed to Monitor Contractor Operating Golf Courses, Costing Taxpayers

Monroe County officials failed to properly manage or enforce the county’s contract with Tindale Inc. for the operation of the county’s three golf courses, allowing the vendor to retain nearly $250,000 that should have been spent on improving the courses even as the operator drifted toward insolvency, according to an audit released today by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.

“Monroe County’s failure to oversee this contract has cost county taxpayers a bundle and left the courses in poor repair,”DiNapoli said. “Had county officials properly monitored Tindale’s financial position throughout the contract term, they would have been aware of its growing financial difficulties earlier and could have addressed the courses’sub-par conditions sooner.”

Beginning in 1997, Monroe County contracted with Tindale to operate, maintain and manage the Durand Eastman, Genesee Valley and Churchville golf courses and to remit revenues to the county based on percentage calculations.

The contract was later extended through December 31, 2017, but was amended to require Tindale to contribute $300,000 for a substantial clubhouse project at one course, and to make $100,000 in other capital improvements annually. In June and July 2013, Tindale was unable to make the required monthly payments in full to the county. During the audit, the county gave notice that it would terminate the contract at the end of 2014.

DiNapoli’s auditors found that county officials failed to properly manage or enforce the contract despite ongoing complaints about the condition of the courses, and relied on limited internal audits to monitor operations without taking any action to address the problems found.

DiNapoli’s review of Tindale’s audited financial statements identified indications of insolvency years ago, including Tindale’s reliance on a $150,000 line of credit and negative retained earnings of $269,802 as of December 31, 2012. 

Because of the lack of oversight, Tindale did not perform or pay for a number of required contractual duties, as well as expenditures it promised to make, and kept funds totaling more than $246,000 that should have been spent on the golf courses. For example, Tindale’s capital expenditures listed for 2012 showed that $58,660 out of the $100,000 required annual investment was actually spent for non-capital purchases or routine maintenance.

As a result, the county will need to invest additional funds into the golf courses that should have been covered by Tindale. During a walkthrough of the golf courses, auditors observed various benches, gazebos and pathways that were in disrepair, a partially submerged golf cart in a course pond, and downed trees.

Monroe County also failed to enforce the contractual provision requiring daily deposits of golf-fee revenues into a county bank account and a daily report reconciling revenues and activities for each golf course. Instead, Tindale remitted payments to the county each month with a summary report. As a result, county officials cannot be sure that all moneys collected were properly recorded and deposited, or that Tindale’s calculations of payments due to the county were based on a verified amount actually collected.

In addition, county officials failed to enforce contractual requirements related to staffing levels and qualifications. Tindale assigned one superintendent to oversee all three courses instead of a superintendent for each course, without formal county approval, and provided no staff listing or verification that a PGA or LPGA professional was assigned to each course.

Auditors found the combined lack of expenditures on facility improvement, maintenance and staffing contributed to the visible deterioration of both the grounds and clubhouses. Auditors also noted the county did not ensure Tindale completed its contractually required marketing activities or determine their effectiveness.

DiNapoli recommended county officials take several actions which should be applied to the current and future course operators, including:

  • Actively monitor the contract, be familiar with all provisions, and establish procedures to enforce and periodically review the contract and assess operator performance;
  • Exercise the county’s rights to inspect and audit detailed daily cash receipts and revenue records;
  • Ensure that the operator provides the required financial reports in a timely manner;
  • Require the operator to deliver a miscellaneous indemnity bond or an irrevocable, unconditional letter of credit for $250,000 as security for the full and faithful performance of the terms for the remainder of the contract;
  • Require the operator to make daily deposits of 25 percent of each day’s golf fee revenue into a county-designated bank account and to provide reconciliations of daily deposits to daily revenue reports;
  • Require the operator to submit annual capital improvement plans for prior approval and final reports of improvements actually made, with supporting documentation, to determine and address any shortfalls in capital improvements that were contractually due to the county;
  • Implement procedures to ensure all contractual maintenance work was adequately completed for each year; and
  • Obtain and maintain sufficient documentation to ensure that adequate staffing levels are maintained by the operator and that qualified employees are on staff in accordance with contract requirements.

County officials generally disagreed with the audit’s findings, but indicated they have implemented corrective action by terminating the operating contract. For a copy of the report visit: http://www.osc.state.ny.us/localgov/audits/counties/2014/monroe.pdf

For access to state and local government spending and more than 50,000 state contracts, visit http://www.openbooknewyork.com/. The easy-to-use website was created by Comptroller DiNapoli to promote openness in government and provide taxpayers with better access to the financial workings of government.

 

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