Judge: Golf Course deal can happen

Published: Jan. 17, 2023 at 3:51 PM EST
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) -Supreme Court Justice James McClusky has ruled the City of Watertown’s purchase of the Watertown Golf Club can happen.

That ruling was determined on Tuesday, with the judge denying the request for a restraining order and granting the motion to dismiss the legal action.

In December, McClusky ordered the city, the three council members who voted in favor of the purchase, and the council itself to demonstrate why he should not grant an injunction to halt the purchase. They had until January 5th to provide those details.

The lawsuit contended that the $3.4 million deal was too expensive, and without an appraisal it should be considered a gift which violates the state constitution.

However, McClusky ruled the sale doesn’t represent an illegal activity and if a voter believes their representatives have paid too much for an item, they can get upset and if they believe they greatly overpaid they can vote them out of office.

“The city has a tremendous opportunity. They can do things with that course that I simply can’t, they own the land around it, they have opportunities to expand the course. You know, they can apply for recreation grants. There is a lot of things the city can do to take this golf course to the next level that a private owner simply couldn’t do,” said Watertown Golf Club Owner Mike Lundy.

“If the majority is so eager to dump out $3.4 million and give one of their friends more money than what they wanted, they’re going to do that and the voters will have to remember that if they are going to accept that direction,” said Watertown Mayor Jeff Smith.

“I think that now going forward, we need to make sure that this is a success and I hope that people understand why we felt the need to have control of the land,” said Council Member Lisa Ruggiero.

With this decision now in place, council members say the only thing left to do is a final closing on the deal.

We’ll be updating this story as we have more information.

You can find the official ruling by Supreme Court Justice James McClusky below.