Watertown golf club debate far from over, discussions on council get heated

Published: Jan. 18, 2023 at 5:40 PM EST
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - The judge may have made his decision, and the $3.4 million Watertown Golf Club is cleared to happen. But the debate is far from over.

Tuesday’s meeting may have been one of the most heated throughout the entire controversy.

At the meeting, Council member Cliff Olney again promised to expose disinformation, spread he says, by Mayor Jeff Smith and Council member Sarah Compo Pierce over the $3.4 million purchase.

It was the subject of a news release out last week, signed by Olney, and Council members Lisa Ruggiero and Pat Hickey.

Even before that, on January 3rd, Olney seemed eager to release facts at a January 3rd meeting, but litigation held him back.

“After we go through with the case, and we’re done, and the public understands what the determination of the judge will be, I will go there then. I will expose everything that has been done to deep six this deal, disingenuous stuff that’s been released and orders that never should have been. And you can count on it,” Olney said.

With the litigation over, and the judge’s decision in, Council member Compo Pierce was eager to hear what the three had to say.

“Can you share specifically what disinformation I spread?” Compo Pierce said.

After five seconds of silence, and a repeated request, Olney spoke up.

“I said I was letting it breathe tonight because we just got the decision,” he said.

Minutes later, Olney accused Compo Pierce and her supporters of spreading rumors that he and Ruggiero were getting a cut of the Golf Club deal.

“There was rumors being spread around that your team, your people, were suggesting that we were being corrupt,” Olney said.

And Council member Lisa Ruggiero, accused Smith of spreading lies on the radio, and soliciting a resident to file a lawsuit to stop the deal.

But Smith fired back.

“When asked tonight about what is the disinformation, what are the facts, we hear more diversion, later,” he said.

A closing date on the property has not been set.