COSTA MESA : City Sues Former Concession Operator
The standoff between city officials and the former concession stand operator of the Costa Mesa Golf and Country Club heated up this week when the city took legal steps to have Harry S. Green Inc. evicted from the golf course.
In two separate actions, the city first asked a court for permission to evict the company.
It also filed another suit in Orange County Superior Court, which claims that Green is trespassing and seeks damages.
“The purpose of the lawsuits is to evict him from the property,” said attorney Thomas Malcolm, who is handling the action for the city.
Earlier this week, Green’s son, Tim, refused to turn in the keys to the clubhouse and refreshment stands until the city settled an earlier dispute over their expired contract.
They lost their 23-year-old contract to run the concession business in June when the city turned over operations of the course to Mesa Verde Partners, a private company.
Tim Green claims that the city owes the business money and will not budge until it is settled. When asked if he would go to jail over the issue, Green replied that he would.
Malcolm said that his tactic will not work. “He has refused to vacate until we reach a settlement with him,” he said. “We are unwilling to even to discuss it with him. He is in violation of the law.”
The disputed money involves a claim that the company submitted to the city earlier this year for $1.25 million.
They also agreed to drop a lawsuit that Tim Green had filed against the city, as part of the negotiations.
The council rejected the offer last month.
Officials said Green is using the standoff to “exert leverage” in the negotiations to help him win more money.
The lawsuit by the city asks for damages for each day that Green stays at the golf course beyond his contract, which expired Aug. 31. Malcolm said the city is seeking up to $30,000 a day after Sept. 1.
“He is depriving the city of revenue,” Malcolm said.
The standoff comes months after the city, looking for ways to beef up its ailing coffers, decided to privatize the two courses.
Green was one of 10 other companies vying for a piece or complete operation of the course.
The company lost out to Mesa Verde Partners, a local company that runs several courses around Southern California.