Competing interests cited as reasons for application withdrawl.
An offer by the owners of Wild Quail Country Club to acquire Maple Dale Country Club is off the table after a major Maple Dale shareholder made clear his opposition to the deal.
Wild Quail owners Constantine Malmberg III, Mike Zimmerman and Ron Schafer tendered an offer to acquire Maple Dale, which was accepted by its nine-member board of directors Feb. 5. Under the contract, the club would have been sold to the Wild Quail owners who would in turn offer members all the amenities available at the two clubs. Additionally, a 120-unit senior citizen complex was to be built on the country club property to include dual club membership for residents.
A meeting of the 800 shareholders holding stake in the country club was scheduled for Feb. 26, but Malmberg and his partners withdrew their offer Feb. 18 after receiving a letter from the lawyer of Larry McAllister, a major shareholder in Maple Dale who holds 1,050 shares.
In the Feb. 13 letter from attorney R. Brandon Jones, he wrote, “Your group’s contract will likely rise or fall on which way he votes his 1,050 shares.”
Based on that assumption, the letter continued to say McAllister would forego his attempt to acquire the property under two conditions: Malmberg and his partners would pay him $210,000 for his yes vote and if the property is to be developed, a person or entity would be placed on a deed restriction giving them the opportunity to purchase future development rights for $50,000.
Malmberg declined to comment on the situation, except to say, “Larry McAllister is Maple Dale’s problem now.”
McAllister held a meeting Feb. 22 at Maple Dale to discuss future options for the country club and explain why he sent the letter to Malmberg.
“There were canyons, not just loopholes, in this contract for non-performance,” he said. “Language in the contract gave them the ability to tear down the clubhouse and close our pool and tennis facilities if Maple Dale Inc. was not financially successful based on paid memberships.”
McAllister presented shareholders with a list of six options that could be instituted to save on the club’s operating expenses. These included ending the full-service clubhouse as it stands today and operating it on a limited basis, or allowing an outside third-party to run it.
“If you don’t have volume, you can’t run a full-service clubhouse,” McAllister said.
He said the country club’s financial woes come largely from increased operating expenses combined with dwindling membership revenue, but he doesn’t believe it’s in dire straits. The mortgage is not in arrears though he believes the club may have some past due bills and taxes.
The board of directors will meet in the future to discuss financial options relating to the club.
Board President Ray Allen was disappointed by the series of events.
“We spent the last six months working on this,” he said. “We felt like if the Quail people came in, it would’ve been the best thing for Maple Dale.”
He would not reveal Maple Dale’s financial situation, only reiterated that declining country club memberships are a national trend and the club lost membership when the state-backed Garrison’s Lake golf course reopened in the fall of 2008. Also, he said in these difficult financial times people don’t have the discretionary money to spend on things like country club memberships.
At a Dover City Council meeting earlier this month, McAllister presented a plan to put housing units along the front of the Maple Dale property. While that continues to be a viable option, he said his opposition to the Wild Quail proposal had nothing to do with a battle over development rights.
“It was the worst contract I’ve read in my real-estate career … but one of the best contracts for the buyer,” he said.
Email Melissa K. Steele at email@example.com.