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Oak Hills Authority struggling to get course out of the rough

NORWALK, Conn. – Norwalk residents are not yet flocking to the city’s municipal golf course, Oak Hills Park interim Executive Director Shelley Guyer said.

“If you look at resident adult rounds, they’re down,” Guyer said at last week’s meeting, as shown in the video above. “Non-resident rounds are down in May, as well. I think that’s more a function of the weather, but we still haven’t been able to recapture our residents. … That’s the area that I’m most concerned with going forward.”

The Oak Hills Park Authority borrowed $3.1 million from Norwalk years ago and has been struggling to make payments over recent years, as the number of people paying to use the course has dropped. It was granted a $150,000 loan from the city in March, as it did not have the money to pay its operating expenses through the winter.

The authority hopes to right its finances by allowing a private company to build a practice range on the course, although details of how that would work are being kept under wraps. Opponents say the demand for golf is down and suggest making Oak Hills an 9-hole course, which they say is a market trend.

In February, Guyer said the course was down 500 resident adult members from where it was five years ago. “That’s a big nut to try to recapture,” he said. “That’s one of the areas we’re going to focus hard on in our marketing efforts.”

There were 45,000 rounds of golf played at the course five years ago, he said; there are 35,000 rounds played now.

There was no finance report given at the last meeting, as Finance Committee Chairwoman Patricia Williams resigned recently. Guyer told Chairman Bob Virgulak  the park has enough money to make its $14,474  payment on the recent bridge loan, due July 1.

Guyer said he arranged a shotgun tournament early in June in conjunction with the Oak Hills Restaurant on the Green, which offered a continental breakfast and buffet lunch, he said. Advance registration was 122. The weather was iffy that Monday, but 101 people turned out; 87 were seniors.

“It was a big success,” he said. He added that the course needs to be marketed to seniors, and that he will hold a similar tournament in July.

Authority members say the greens are in much better condition this year. Guyer said the feedback he is getting is good. That includes an unsolicited comment from someone he met while working at a tournament at the H. Smith Richardson Golf Course in Fairfield.

“The buzz throughout Fairfield County about Oak Hills is nothing but positive,” he said.

Business in May was “pretty decent,” Guyer said.

“Rounds in June are probably about the same. Again, we’ve had days like a week ago last Friday (June 14), you couldn’t send the carts out because it was too wet. But Saturday and Sunday were great.”

Comments

32 responses to “Oak Hills Authority struggling to get course out of the rough”

  1. M. Murray’s

    Hope this range gets finished soon and we can all move on.

  2. LWitherspoon

    Why did the City borrow $3.1 million from Norwalk years ago? Who was responsible for that decision?

  3. LWitherspoon

    Pardon, what I meant to ask was why did the OHPA borrow $3.1 million from Norwalk years ago.

  4. Oldtimer

    To build the restaurant ?
    At the time, it was believed a nice restaurant would make money for the park. It was a nice place to eat, but, apparently did not generate the hoped for business . The building is still there and a restaurant more focused on casual dining is operating. Only the OHPA knows how much, if anything, it is contributing to the OHPA bottom line.

  5. I believe it was to build the restaurant, improve the cart paths and put in irrigation. That was under the Knopp administration, although the Moccia administration took over management shortly after the restaurant was built.

  6. Diane C2

    Some folks, including elected and appointed officials, are proponents of relieving OHPA of their debt. Another “loan” boondoggle, just like the $50 million for Maritime Aquarium, which apparently will never get paid back to us. That’s a lot of books, and paving, and police.

  7. Suzanne

    This long wet spring going into a wet summer cannot be helping but the numbers do appear surprisingly familiar as other recent reports. Mr. Guyer seemed to shake his hands in frustration at the idea of “getting a marketing plan” which, come on folks, should have happened sometime before the City of Norwalk had to cover operating expenses for the winter. No financial report? The more I read, the more I believe someone seems vested in letting the golf course fail. Perhaps the latest Authority appointee will help with feasibility and marketing but, as with Oldtimer’s refrain, a comprehensive, forensic audit by an outside party needs to examine the OHPA books and get the finances on track. The OHPA has furthered their lack of ability to manage by deleting anyone to manage oversight of the finances on even a cursory level.

  8. LWitherspoon

    Oldtimer and the other staunch Democrats seem to enjoy calling for forensic audits. I have long suspected that this was a political tactic aimed at flinging mud at political opponents by implying criminal activity, especially considering the tone and content of Oldtimer’s other comments.
    .
    However I could not be certain because I did not know what a forensic audit was. I asked a family member who has been an accountant for more than 20 years and is also a certified fraud examiner. In other words, someone who knows what he’s talking about when it comes to forensic audits. He explained that forensic audits typically cost tens of thousands of dollars and are only done when a regular audit shows that money which should be there has disappeared with no explanation. In the case of a golf course an example would be if 35,000 rounds were played but funds were only received for 30,000 with no explanation as to why. I challenged him on that, asking how a regular audit would be able to tell if, for example, customers were paying cash which was being pocketed by employees who never recorded the customer. He explained that regular audits would also include an accountant’s opinion as to whether or not controls are in place allowing the auditor to verify whether or not the aforementioned condition could exist. A regular audit is much more than simply looking at a balance sheet, it also includes a review of the entire business and its control systems.
    .
    I hope this clarifies the appropriateness of a forensic audit for those whose minds are open enough to want clarification.

  9. Bryan Meek, CPA

    LW is correct mostly. But an operational audit is the most appropriate term here

    A regular audit as required by law, covers the financials and internal controls.

    An operational audit looks at the day to day business and makes recommendations for improvement. It does not necessarily look at the whole of the operation and is not required by law.

    A forensic audit, is only used in cases where there is criminal activity. Throwing the term around casually and ignorantly doesn’t help.

    Having played 100s of rounds over the years at the course, I can say first hand and firmly that the controls are very strong with respect to numbers of rounds played vs paid for even on a cash basis. The course has a proper segregation of duties. You pay cash or cc, get your receipt, and give it to a different person. Collusion is always a possibility, but typically there are controls there in terms of management structure, hiring policy, and general oversight by the board.

    The golf haters won’t take my word for it, but even the USGA has been openly talking about the impact of weather on Northeast golf courses recently. Some might want to inform themselves about factors we can’t control before throwing baseless accusations at a bunch of volunteers and honest, hardworking retirees that help run the course.

  10. Suzanne

    “While Forensic Accountants (“FAs”) usually do not provide opinions, the work performed and reports issued will often provide answers to the how, where, what, why and who. The FAs have and are continuing to evolve in terms of utilizing technology to assist in engagements to identify anomalies and inconsistencies. It is important to remember that it is not the Forensic Accountants that determine fraud, but instead the court.” (David Malamed, Forensic Accountant, Toronto Ontario.) This sounds like a reasonable basis for reviewing the OHPA books based on the increasing amount of monies being asked for by them to support the course in lieu of complying with the City Charter requirements that they be self-supporting. Forensic Audits are not necessarily due to “criminal activity” but, as explained in the very brief but verified descriptive online Wiki, are an evolving concept. This OHPA has not been in compliance, by the way, with so many requirements of the Charter – whether from mismanagement, in effectiveness or incompetence, it should be determined why as in “provide the answers to the how, what, where, why and who” as mentioned above of the OHPA’s expenditures. It is also mentioned in this short article that municipalities often have in-house units that provide this function. If Norwalk can give hundreds of thousands of dollars to a golf game, then they can sure as heck provide the tens of thousands to find out how, what, where, why and who is using those funds. Taxpayers are prevented from using this public park but they should be not prevented from knowing where their tax dollars are going for this exclusively golfing activity.

  11. LWitherspoon

    @Bryan Meek
    Thank you for adding your expert opinion on this as someone who is an accounting professional.
    .
    I’m not understanding why you say an operational audit is the most appropriate term here. What is the difference between an operational audit and a regular audit? If a regular audit covers internal controls, would you only proceed to a forensic audit when a regular audit found missing funds or deficiencies in control?

  12. Debora

    Arguing about the nature of an audit somewhat misses the point. The OHPA assured the common council at a public meeting only scant months ago that it had sufficient funds to operate through the winter, only to come back and request a loan that the city felt it had no choice to provide.

    The problem with relying on any audit, forensic, operational or otherwise, is that it happens only periodically (in the case of operational or routine audit reviews) or after the fact (forensic or specially-retained audits). In public companies, routine audits are done quarterly. It’s unclear from the public record, but it seems like OHPA is only being audited annually, and it would seem that that is not often enough.

    OHPA’s inconsistent delivery of financial reporting to it’s own operating team should be a red flag to anyone responsible for finances.

    I found it notable that the OHPA is operating with a part-time temp as bookkeeper. It would seem that the first personnel hire to be concerned with, (given the need to be more resilient in managing its cash flow to respond to these “outside forces” that caused a sudden problem with operating funds through the slow season,) would be a full-time bookkeeper to get the financial reporting back on track.

    It’s unfortunate that simply asking reasonable questions about the finances of the OHPA is being portrayed as scurrilous accusations and some kind of partisan political ploy. Many folks, who have had their attention called to the OHPA’s finances by the very public and controversial actions they are taking, are honestly concerned about whether there is fire behind this smoke. That doesn’t mean there is, but what is wrong with asking the questions?

  13. Bryan Meek, CPA

    Lwitherspoon. An operational audit is purely optional. Companies routinely have auditors come in and test a few areas to see where they could be doing things better. Regular or financial audits cover internal controls and all the financials. Forensic audits can be done whenever, but they are usually done when criminal activity appears present and it is very specific to the problem area. It could generate itself as the result of an operational audit or a financial audit but it is always from the appearance of criminal activity. For example, when examining the cash accounts for a company you discover what looks like check kiting based on various bank statements. Then you do a forensic audit. Not many people would be put off here by use of the term a forensic audit, but words do have meanings and they are basically confusing crimes for what I think they are leveling at which is incompetence. Both insulting, but one has a bit higher threshold wouldn’t you agree?

  14. Bryan Meek, CPA

    Wikipedia references won’t earn you a degree from the worst school either, but then if you are prone to suggesting criminal activity exists without a shred of evidence and throwing words around you don’t understand then you probably don’t really care where you get your information from.
    (Editor’s note: Mr. Meek is correct in his assertion about Wikipedia. There is no news organization of any repute that allows it to be used as a source. Here are two other online sources that might help:

  15. http://www.investinganswers.com/financial-dictionary/financial-statement-analysis/forensic-auditing-3159
  16. and

  17. http://www.ehow.com/about_5070210_forensic-audit_.html
  • EveT

    Let’s return to the video of Guyer waving his hands helplessly when he refers to “some kind of marketing plan…” Hello! How long has OHPA been running the golf course? Why don’t they already have a marketing plan? For that matter, why isn’t the restaurant running any ads in town? So much could be done to attract more clientele, and isn’t being done.

    Also, why did Finance Committee Chairwoman Patricia Williams resign? When and by what process will they get a new Finance Committee Chair?

  • Suzanne

    The gentleman quoted from the Wikipedia article, however, was verified as a legitimate source. Mr. Meek, you are quick to believe that I am suggesting criminal activity when in fact I clearly stated that what is needed from the OHPA re: their expenditures and accounting is the how, what, where, who and why of their activities. I assure you that just like L. Witherspoon has a “friend” who explained forensic auditing to her, I have a brother who was a Senior Partner for Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC)who has been a consultant to the SEC as well as countless other firms in his retirement particularly about the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and remains active in his profession on other matters. I am not “blowing smoke” lightly out of a prurient desire to “nail” anybody nor am I accusing anyone of criminal activity. I am asking, and please be clear on this, for accountability and transparency in the use of monies consistently being doled out for an activity not available to all in Norwalk and, yet, receives our tax dollars for support in spite of the Charter requirement that the golf course be self-supporting. This has nothing, as you have accused others in the past, with golf hating either – I happen to love the game, played it often in the past and enjoy watching it either on the fairways live or on television. I love its history and golf course design and the evolution of that design. I am simply asking, as a citizen, for accountability. If that puts you in a twist, then it does and you can be upset about that. This town, however, still exists within a democracy and asking these questions is an important part of constituency participation and responsibility.

  • Bryan Meek, CPA

    Suzanne, it is ok. I understand what you are driving at. You might even be correct about the need for an ‘operational’ audit. I don’t mean to split hairs, but the reality is when you ask for a forensic audit your are implying it is needed due to criminal activity even if you don’t mean to. Look, not to date myself, but I remember the exact day Price Waterhouse bought Coopers and Lybrand and I am in no means an expert on all areas of accounting, but you are plain wrong here.
    Still the golf course is struggling from a lack of good weather and full service facilities (namely the driving range) and this has no basis in accounting but rather experience of almost two decades playing there. Personally I would like to see a driving range on 16&17 and cut two holes out of the land we have left up there, but that is a baseless opinion other than my own idea on it.

  • Suzanne

    I would say your opinion is no less valuable than anyone else’s. I had a landscape architect up there walking the course with me to see about another location than the OHPA preferred woods. I have many colleagues in the field but this one has actually designed and constructed golf courses and ranges and is an avid golfer. His opinion, based on looking at the survey maps available via Public Works was that there was no place to really place a range, especially based upon access except for maybe the first hole but, then, where do you place the alternative first? I really think professional management is needed and that this Authority just doesn’t know how to run this Course successfully. The reason I say this is the record of the Course’s success during other downturns in the economy. It was able to stay viable based on fees, based on the Charter requirements. The sustained economic downtown we are experiencing now does not, also, seem to be affecting like courses so deleteriously, i.e., not Stamford, which I think is a very different scenario, but the Course in Ridgefield and the Courses in Fairfield. I have to believe that, given that other economic periods have not so adversely affected the Course and that other Courses are not experiencing the same crisis, it must come down to management. If it is management, it has to come down to dollars and cents.

  • LWitherspoon

    @Bryan Meek
    Thank you for the further explanation.
    .
    @Debora and Suzanne
    Regarding Debora’s statement that “It’s unfortunate that simply asking reasonable questions about the finances of the OHPA is being portrayed as scurrilous accusations and some kind of partisan political ploy.”
    .
    I wholeheartedly support asking reasonable questions about the finances of the OHPA. I myself don’t know anything about the OHPA budget or finances and would love to know more. What I specifically objected to were the demands by the usual partisan crowd for a forensic audit, as though they have reasonable grounds to believe that criminal activity has occurred.
    .
    I have heard from two experienced accountants now that there are no grounds for a forensic audit unless a regular audit identifies a deficiency in control and/or missing money.
    .
    I trust those opinions more than I trust a paragraph from Wikipedia which speaks more to the definition of a forensic audit than to the appropriate circumstances for performing one.
    .
    If I am wrong, perhaps someone could show an example of any public entity performing a forensic audit in a situation where no funds were missing and no deficiency in control was identified. Suzanne, what does your brother at PwC say about this?
    .
    It’s worth noting that this same tactic of demanding a forensic audit was also employed when the $4 million shortfall appeared in the BoE budget. As a matter of fact there was great fanfare and a Council resolution calling for a forensic audit. In my view this was a sleazy maneuver designed to throw mud for political gain. It would be akin to demanding a forensic audit of the finances of Councilpersons who prioritize the wishes of municipal unions over the best interests of ordinary taxpayers, to make sure that they aren’t being bribed to do so.

    .
    Either way, I agree that the OHPA finances should be as transparent as possible. I don’t have an opinion as to whether greater transparency is needed than presently exists since, again, I have not studied the issue in detail.

  • Oldtimer

    I readily admit I know very little about golf or managing a golf course. I do know a little about selecting people to manage my money and I was shocked to find the chairman of the OHPA is a person with a criminal record like Virgulak’s. If the business of running a municipal golf has taken a turn. Toward losing money after many years of success, I think it is only natural to take a very close look at the books. When the idea of a forensic audit was raised and so many voices immediately claimed such an audit would cost many thousands and was therefore not feasible, that raised a lot of suspicions. The forensic audit that led to numerous arrest, including Virgulak, at the 2nd district was done by a couple of police detectives and did not cost many thousands. They looked for , and found, anamolies in spending patterns and investigated those. That evidence quickly led to criminal charges after they discovered certain purchases had multiplied over previous years for no apparent reason. I don’t recall what triggered the investigation at first, probably a whistle-blower. Those people that are suggesting a political motive in suggesting a better look at the books are the same people that were quick to claim such an audit would be too costly to be effective. They are wrong. I have not heard any explanation for why the OHPA is in financial trouble, and I would not give another dime of taxpayer money until all the facts are revealed.

  • LWitherspoon

    @oldtimer
    .
    As has been explained on this thread, “A better look at the books” and a forensic audit are two different things entirely.
    .
    I believe that you and your fellow partisans at the DTC actually know that forensic audits are not appropriate unless a regular audit finds missing funds or deficiencies in control. Certainly Matt Miklave should be smart enough to know better. But you love this sleazy tactic because 1) the term “forensic” implies crime to people whose knowledge of the subject comes from TV and 2) when more responsible individuals explain what a forensic really is, and why it isn’t appropriate, you can ignore these basic truths and respond that anyone opposed to a forensic audit must be in favor of hiding something. It’s a lot easier to slime your political enemies when you pretend to not understand what a forensic audit is.
    .
    I should add that during the controversy surrounding the $4 million shortfall at the BoE, the most partisan Democrats on council along with oldtimer called for a forensic audit of the entire BoE. Such an audit would have cost tens of thousands of dollars. Now oldtimer is at it again, calling for a forensic audit of the OHPA, even though nobody has presented evidence of wrongdoing. If you add together the cost of these two audits, you’ve probably exceeded the starting salary of a school teacher. It is disappointing to see people who claim to support education seeking to spend taxpayer dollars on wholly inappropriate accounting services for their own political gain. If successful in their quest, they would have enriched a few accountants while depriving the schools of badly needed resources. What then?
    .

    I challenge you to prove me wrong with a professional accountant’s opinion stating that the first course of action when a business is making less money should be to engage in a forensic audit. Particularly when there is no whistleblower, and regular audits have not found any missing funds or deficiencies in control.
    .
    You employ these sleazy tactics to imply wrongdoing and cover-ups without actually proving anything or showing the smallest shred of evidence. I have to say that it’s a bit creepy to see a former police officer behaving this way. Ultimately your use of this tactic debases you more than it debases your political enemies.

  • Suzanne

    L Witherspoon, How do we know no funds are missing or any anomalies are occurring in the OHPA finances since the most they have admitted to by way of auditing the books is a “standard review”? This means that whoever is looking at the data is verifying that standardized accountancy procedures are being followed. To my knowledge, that means it would be hard to detect where the funds are really going or what funds are being taken in, etc. At the last OHPA public meeting, there was no financial report. This has been skipped in the past with the excuse that, more or less, there was no one to produce one or no one was available or, somehow, it was not necessary. I don’t care what you call it or what is implied: the OHPA is continually taking payments from the City of Norwalk, not repaying on time and, we, the taxpayers, are having to foot the bill for an entity that is private, to golfers only. Yet, by Charter it is a public park. WE HAVE A RIGHT TO KNOW HOW OUR MONEY IS BEING SPENT IN DETAIL!!!! This is not partisan or smarmy. This is a constituent, along with others, asking for accountability from a failing entity. Who knows? If someone who knew what they were doing reviewed the books carefully (not just income and expenses but the who, where, what, why, etc.), the OHPA might be helped in managing their limited funds more carefully and this would be of assistance to everyone: the golfer, the OHPA and the constituent.

  • Suzanne

    In fact, Bryan Meek, CPA, as an avid golfer familiar with some of the process might just be the right candidate to look at the books in depth. He certainly seems to have the experience and definitely the interest. Not to nominate anyone just as a suggestion because he seems to be an untapped knowledge base that Oak Hills Park could use.

  • Debora

    Mr. Meek,

    Will you stand for nomination to the OHPA when the next opening arises?

  • LWitherspoon

    @Suzanne
    Again, I am all in favor of financial transparency by the OHPA. My specific objection is the call for a forensic audit, which two accounting professionals have explained is not appropriate for this situation. Did you have any luck finding a professional accountant willing to state that it is?
    .
    Didn’t Mr. Meek state above that the OHPA is required by law to have an audit once per year? As I said above, I haven’t followed this issue closely, but if I wanted to learn more I would start by looking for the results of that audit. Have you? Certainly I wouldn’t suggest that there is serious financial mismanagement by the all-volunteer OHPA without seeing the audit first.
    .
    I am out of my comfort zone when discussing audits, but I do know from accounting professionals that regular audits generally include a lot more than income and expenses – control systems are also reviewed and there should be an auditor’s opinion as to whether or not best practices are being followed.

  • Suzanne

    L Witherspoon, what is at issue, I think, is where the taxpayer’s money is going when “loans” are given repeatedly to this OHPA which, by Charter, is supposed to be supporting itself through fees. When no financial reports are forthcoming at public meetings and there is no financial manager for a complicated enterprise which has shown little aptitude for managing their one responsibility, the Golf Course, I have to say to myself, where is the money going and why is the Course suffering so much when other like courses in the area are not? For everyone’s sake, including the OHPA’s, it is time for some accountability, that is, an audit that can explain the how, where, what, why and who, which is not covered by a standard audit but is more indepth. I am not sure why this idea seems anything less than straight forward to you because it seems like as a taxpayer, you would want to know this as well. In the meantime, the OHPA, instead of providing more information and more expertise, is providing less information and has no financial manager. This could be incompetence but certainly not a lack of awareness for the constituency’s desire and right to know this information. This has been an ongoing issue for quite some time.

  • cc-rider

    “Still the golf course is struggling from a lack of good weather and full service facilities (namely the driving range)”

    The bad weather excuse only goes so far as evidenced by resident rounds. The lack of a real plan on how to increase rounds is coming to roost. Doing to the same things every year and expecting miracles is catching up with OHPA.

    The entire pricing structure of Oak Hills is asinine. Can anyone explain in coherent, clear terms why as a resident of Norwalk that I have to join Oak Hills in order to get the lower resident rate? I grew up playing at a thriving muni golf course and all I needed was ID to get the town rate. I have played golf for over thirty years (eleven of them professionally) and have yet to play at Oak Hills since moving here.

  • Suzanne

    cc-rider, That is a good question! When I brought this up at a public OHPA meeting, that is, there should be no barriers to pay and play at Oak Hills in order to increase rounds, the Authority looked at me like I had three heads. I don’t get it – tradition, maybe? Everyone else is doing it? I think they need to think outside of their very limited box, remove the residency card requirement and just have a straight fee if you live here and a higher one if you don’t. Either way, I see the residency pass as a “barrier to entry” that Oak Hills definitely does not need. It also implies, to my mind, the “exclusive club” mentality that seems to reign at this public golf course. It needs to go. Especially if they want to make ends meet.

  • Oldtimer

    Lwitherspoon
    “you and your fellow partisans at the DTC” ? Now who is making smarmy political accusations ? I have absolutely no connection with the DTC and never have. I support their effort to unseat moccia, but I am not even a registered Democrat, although I have been. If you are going to be any good at being a water-carrier for the administration, please get your facts straight, at least the easy ones.

  • Suzanne

    I understand having to respond to accusations made erroneously, but the topic of this thread is about Oak Hills and their finances. Can we stick to that?

  • LWitherspoon

    @oldtimer
    .
    I find it interesting that anyone who dares disagree with you must be a water-carrier for this administration. I suppose that’s evidence of your “us vs. them” mentality which views politics as a game. Nice try, but any regular reader of these pages will know that I’ve been critical of this administration plenty of times – on taxes, on bike lanes, on Sam Scialabba’s smearing of Harry Rilling, and on the Notify Norwalk system, to name a few.
    .
    Thank you for admitting once again that you’re committed to unseating Mayor Moccia. This is not a surprise considering your hundreds of comments devoted to that effort. If you claim you’re not involved with the DTC, I will take you at your word, even if many of your past comments including the ones above have shown a rather blatant disregard for truth. Whatever the case, I remember quite clearly your past comments admitting that you have a strong preference for Democrats holding political power. That’s a shame, because neither party has all the answers and you’re doing a serious disservice to Norwalk and to yourself with your partisanship.
    .
    I remember when I first started reading your comments several years back, smearing your political enemies. I took them seriously until it became clear that you were acting out of a personal or partisan vendetta, or both. If you feel the need to play a game, wouldn’t an adult recreational league be a better outlet?
    .
    @suzanne
    I would love to get back to the subject of Oak Hills financials. Did you have any luck finding a professional accountant willing to state that a forensic audit is appropriate for a situation such as this, where no funds are missing and nobody has identified a deficiency in financial controls?
    .
    Didn’t Mr. Meek state above that the OHPA is required by law to have an audit once per year? As I said above, I haven’t followed this issue closely, but if I wanted to learn more I would start by looking for the results of the most recent audit, whenever that was. Have you?
    .
    You say that “no financial reports are forthcoming at public meetings.” Can you expand on that? There are plenty of Common Council meetings where no financial reports are forthcoming, but it doesn’t necessarily indicate a rudderless ship.

  • Suzanne

    Financial reports are generally given once per month at each OHPA Public Meeting as part of a standardized agenda. These have been skipped, I believe, or presented “on and off” since last November. I think it is time you do your own research into the OHPA’s issues and this is why: there have been numerous reports to indicate that the OHPA has borrowed money from the City of Norwalk outside the Charter requirements and have not paid the money back on time. There was a suggestion at one point by the Finance Committee for the City that the OHPA be forgiven the 3.1 million dollar loan they have repeatedly had difficulty repaying. If you review the articles in the Hour and here in Nancy on Norwalk, you will find a “rudderless ship” in the OHPA who have consistently been supported by the Mayor without regard for what is defined in the City Charter, a document that references City government and assets that are supposed to be of service to all of the citizens of Norwalk. I have defined what kind of audit I believe is necessary given the lack of transparency in earlier comments. What may be required as an audit standard is not adequate in this case: the ship is not rudderless, it is sinking and it is using taxpayer monies to do it. I am asking for accountability and the OHPA is afraid of that – attend any public meeting with the OHPA and you will understand what I am talking about. Again, this has nothing to do with golf, loving or hating it, but it does have to do with subsidizing a recreational activity, limited to a very few in what is supposed to be a public park and using taxpayer funds because of poor management. The last person to keep Oak Hills afloat honestly was Vincent Grillo who was forced out by this Authority. His letters are available online at the Hour as well as other comments recently made in this forum.

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