Leading Off (12/21/2009)

1. Do you like golf? How about alcohol? Are you a good manager? Do you appreciate rubbing shoulders with city officials? Would you like to own stuff with them? If you’ve answered yes to any of those questions, you should talk to Ronny Glanton about how to become him. He’s one of the owners of Sherrill Park Municipal Golf Club, friend to many City Council folks, golf pro, and president of Ronny Glanton Inc., which is responsible for alcohol sales at the club. Critics say there’s a lot of funny business going on at that place. I say, there’s nothing funny about earning $300K. Or maybe there is. Ask Glanton. 

2. Who knew Rockwall County was such a hotbed for political discourse? Okay, maybe a lot of people know that. The DMN says it has some of the “most ardent Tea Party patriots” in the area. (What does that mean, exactly? They listen the hardest to Glenn Beck? But I digress.) Local businessman Ken Sterling has his own way of furthering the conversation about what’s going on in Washington–he’s now offering a Nobel Peace Prize free with any oil change. Auto center manager Cliff Payne  has the best quote of the day: “People over 35 notice it more than younger people. I think they understand it better.”

3. Sometimes you’re at a moral crossroads. You don’t know if you should open a golf club with some of your pals from City Council and fudge the rules on selling booze. Maybe you want to get an oil change at a certain place–the price is really, really good–but you’re not old enough to really appreciate the political satire happening in the establishment. Life is hard. You know who can help? WFAA Channel 8’s John McCaa. It makes me happy.

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Comments

  • AS

    RE: Donny Glanton and the liquor sales.

    There are only two ways to get licensed as a private club – by applying as an individual (liability warning) or as a non-profit.

    The city should have “remitted” to the non-profit the alcohol sales which may be used to pay for alcohol purchases, gross receipts taxes (if they have a mixed beverage license), and then most of the balance can be returned to the city to reimburse it for management (labor) and overhead (rent, liability insurance, etc). By holding on to the revenues, the city had oversight and control of these monies, but the TABC says “no” so now they have to adjust to make these accounting transfers back and forth every (week, month, year) to satisfy a bookkeeping requirement.

    I fail to see the “big issue”, other than they (like all private club permit holders) are ridiculously required to obtain background information (name, address, license number) on guests (who by the way then turn around and give the same unknown server their credit card to pay their bill). And like almost every permit holder, they had an employee who (forgot, too lazy, bad training) didn’t ask.

    Alcohol sales are an amenity at almost every golf course. Do these relatively minor problems tip the balance on pulling this revenue and amenity from the golf course?

  • Is this thing on?

    Oh, and…Glanton’s take on the golf course was more like $1.1M to $1.5M. Of course, the reporter would know that if the financials were readily available.

  • Nathan Morgan

    Is that not the way it goes in these “different times”. The good guy comes in second place.

    As for “trusting”, the public expectation of acceptable behavior from its employees diminishes with every unanswered question, false statement, and misleading comment. Countless instances of dishonesty have occurred over the years. There are lots of well-intentioned people in prison. Ignoring the law is no excuse.

    Honest people do not go to the lengths we have witnessed. The City Manager has built quite an empire over the years. The intoxicating drug of gradualism has crippled the City Council as critical oversight and control were transferred to the purview of the City staff. And, citizens have been lulled into complacency with half-measures and half-truths to address the cancer that has been tested, diagnosed, and confirmed present in the culture of Richardson government.

    Whether it is hiring a PR firm to spin STARTech, Sherrill Park Golf Course, the top-heavy and bloated City staff, or counter the effects of truth told in the blogs, the net result is the same. It wouldn’t be necessary if there was nothing seriously wrong here.

    Public employees and elected officials need to be reminded that they are in service to the public, not the government. And “accountability” is not a theory, it’s a practice.

  • Thanks for shedding some much needed light on the corruption in Richardson, Laura.

    There’s a site containing links to a ton of the news coverage for Richardson Mayor Gary Slagel and his questionable dealings, it’s not mine, but it’s worth checking out if you’re a Richardson resident:

    http://www.garyslagel.info/

    very enlightening.

  • NotherRichardsonResident

    To; Is This Ting On?

    The City furnished revenue numbers for Ronny Glanton, Inc. (the entity that runs the golf course) only in FY 06/07. Those figures showed Glanton paid himself $335,000 plus personal expenses of approximately $118,000 for a $453,000 total. He took in approximately $1.3 MM in that year. For example, that year cart revenue was $678,474. Glanton’s contract with the City of Richardson GIVES him 90%; he gives the city 10 or 10%, or $67,847. The the City of Richardson contract also gave him 100% of the driving range revenue- almost unprecedented in golf course management.

    Those were the last figures the city released. They have refused to ask Glanton for his company’s financials,(although they can, according his contract) or the financials of Sherrill Park Municipal Golf Course, Inc. the non-profit Glanton formed to hold the liquor license for the course and is prominently mentioned in the DMN story. The City Manager says “he chooses not to audit” Mr. Glanton’s financials. Several City Council persons in Richardson are also on record as saying Mr. Glanton is doing a fine job, and the contract is a good one.

    How would they know this 23 year old contract is fair to the City with no outside audit?

    The question is whether that 23 year old contract gives the operator too much of the course earned revenue, and is fair to the city. A 2005 National Golf Foundation Report for the City of Houston said, “Back in the 1980’s, the head pros retained lucrative pieces of the golf operation, to the point where they were clearly taking too much money out of the operation.”

    A quote from the article in PARKS AND RECREATION MAGAZINE entitled “Driving the Green: How Your Community’s Golf Course Can Be More Profitable” said, “Do(es) the contractor hold the rights to lucrative concessions such as cart rentals, the driving range, or pro shop merchandise? Often times the concessions offered to the golf professional (contractor) are above and beyond what is normally included in a typical compensation package.”

    The course is scheduled to lose more than $90,000 this fiscal year 08/09, and more than $80,000 in FY 09/10. The greens At Sherrill Park #1 need a complete redo at a cost of at least $100,000. The City mentioned nothing of this in their August study of Sherrill Park.

    Long term personal relationships trumping due diligence and prudent business practice?
    In Richardson, that appears to be “par for the course.”

  • WhineWhine

    All these people whine all the time in Richardson. Constant whining. http://www.cornews.info for more.

    If its corruption then what elected official got the money? What city employee? Its just political infighting and crap the TABC pulls. Seriously? A golf course and some beer money?

  • Wild Bill Fan

    @ WhineWhine- “some beer money”? Last time I checked it was $500K a year in beer money going through Sherrill Park.

    I just love the spin. LOVE IT.

    $500K here, $1M there, over 20 years…pretty soon we’re talkng some real money.

  • AnonymousToo

    WhineWhine – As you would find the need to refer us to a website, I will to. Check out http://www.garyslagel.info.

  • What is the truth

    Have you ever noticed on these blogs there is always a reference to Nathan Morgan as noted by “WhineWhine” and that lame website. It has nothing to do with the issues or anything to do with city government operations.

    But the world in Richardson is waking up! And others are making requests to understand to how our city operates. And they have questions and new insights and the story grows. Read the documents and you will see who got the money, Mr Whinewhine. They might find out one day how much money you got! Maybe they already know!

  • amanda

    This really isn’t about a golf course and beer. It’s about transparency.

  • Bobby Corno

    Transparencies are so lame – use PowerPoint, my friends!