Watertown City Council holds special meeting on golf course document

Published: Sep. 15, 2023 at 5:47 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - A special meeting of Watertown City Council centers on a newly discovered document concerning who got paid what in Watertown’s $3.4 million purchase of the golf course in Thompson Park.

Council went into executive session on Friday but emerged with Mayor Jeff Smith saying the reasons for going into executive session weren’t valid and revealed what they talked about.

The topic was a document that was accidentally given to the city by developer Mike Lundy’s lawyer.

It shows a December agreement between Lundy and then-Ives Hill Country Club owner P.J. Simao where Simao would be paid $1.7 million for putting a deed restriction on Ives Hill, making it a 9-hole course instead of an 18-hole course.

Official court documents from January show Simao was paid $850,000.

The document concerns the city’s attorney, Todd Bullard, and Mayor Smith too.

Smith doesn’t like that council is just finding out about the document and wants to know if it was executed. He says he can’t get an answer.

“The transcript from the supreme court case said $850,000 was for a deed restriction. The document given to the city says $1.7 million was for a deed restriction,” said Smith.

Meanwhile, Council Member Lisa Ruggiero isn’t concerned, saying she doesn’t believe the $1.7 million deal was done.

“It’s a draft. It’s not signed. It’s just a proposal. It’s not even executed - no signatures, no date,” she said.

A letter from Lundy’s lawyer to the city attorney said the document should stay confidential.

While not saying whether or not it was executed, any deal between Lundy and Simao is between 2 businessmen and doesn’t involve the city.