Watertown mayor encourages legal action against golf club purchase

Watertown city council
Published: Dec. 20, 2022 at 5:46 AM EST
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - Watertown’s mayor is encouraging residents to pursue legal action over the city’s purchase of the Watertown Golf Club.

Several residents addressed the city council Monday night about plans to purchase the golf club. It came after many residents showed up to last Monday’s special meeting but were denied a chance to voice their opinions.

A couple dozen people attended that meeting and more than 600 watched live online as council members voted 3 to 2 to purchase the club.

Council members Lisa Ruggiero, Patrick Hickey, and Cliff Olney voted for the $3.4 million purchase.

Those 3 also voted to deny public comment before they voted for the purchase.

Mayor Jeff Smith planned to allow public input but because it was not a regular council meeting was overruled by a majority vote.

A smaller crowd showed up this week to speak against the purchase.

Residents have been vocal in opposing both the price tag and what many see as a lack of transparency during the negotiation process.

“No one that I know personally enjoys questioning someone’s ethics or motivations,” city resident Scott Garrabrant said. “Most people want to believe the best about their fellow man. Unfortunately, far too many have been left to wonder if something improper is taking place purchasing this course. We’ve been assured that we simply haven’t been provided all the facts. Yet when given opportunities the community receives nothing more than double talk, and recollections about how we are now able to complete Mr. Thompson’s goal of over a century ago.”

It was at the end of the meeting that the mayor suggested residents pursue legal options.

City officials plan to close on the deal with golf club owner Mike Lundy by the end of the year.