You don’t often hear of country clubs going into foreclosure, but in Michigan’s capital city, it has happened. The Country Club of Lansing is in some kind of mortgage trouble, although it’s hard to say what the nature of that trouble is because of the convoluted news accounts.
Still, tax forms show the club had $6 million in gross receipts in 2006 with 669 members, the most recent data available. Those forms also showed that the club paid nothing for occupancy. That same year, the club paid out $2.2 million in salaries and it claimed $11 million in land holdings. It made $3.1 million in membership dues. The club claimed only $95,000 in deferred compensation and $23,000 as a lease obligation. It doesn’t specify the nature of the lease. But how could an entity slide so quickly down hill? Are we to believe that it can’t meet its obligation on property that has most likely been paid off for years. Unless the club borrowed on the property and is for some reason not paying it back.
Where is the money? Are the feds going to look into this? We see that the country club in Bay City is also having trouble . But the Bay City club is being a bit more honest with the people about just what is owed and what its stance on the issue is. We see they are also dealing with National City bank, which is on the skids.
Here in Lansing, we have no information.
Last July, club manager Chris Freeman, who pulls in a salary of $150,000, gave an interview to a local tv station:
"A country club is obviously a luxury, and when things get tight it's quite often the first thing to go as far as the things that you don't want on your monthly payment.”
The Country Club of Lansing has seen a 4 percent decrease in their membership over the last 2 years and while their members have enough income to afford the membership they're still cutting back.
"I think even people that have relatively high incomes are tightening up weather they can afford it or not; we're seeing some tightening up," Freeman said.
What did he know at that point? And a 4% decrease would be only a 26 member loss from 2006.
This is a debacle that no doubt has all of the club’s board members chattering, and it’s a board with some major power on it. Doctors, lawyers and other well-to-do, mostly male key figures in the city’s power base. And not a word from one of them. Some big wigs dropped the money ball.
And with no newspaper to speak of in town, not a single reporter to ask them.
Country Club of Lansing