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SeaCliff Club Members Sue to Block Sale by Chevron

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Members of the SeaCliff Country Club filed a class action lawsuit Tuesday asking that the planned sale of the club by Chevron Corp. be stopped so that they can buy it.

In October, Chevron announced it would sell a large portion of its real estate holdings, including the Holly SeaCliff housing development and country club in Huntington Beach to a Wall Street firm and an Orange County builder.

The suit, filed in Orange County Superior Court, claims that SeaCliff club members were promised the first right to buy the club if Chevron ever decided to sell. The suit charges that Chevron began negotiating last year to sell the property to a real estate fund controlled by Morgan Stanley & Co. and developer Christopher Gibbs without ever asking club members.

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A Chevron spokeswoman Tuesday declined to comment on the suit.

“The object of the suit is to give members the right to buy the club,” said Gary Mobley, attorney for the club members. “That’s what they were promised in their memberships and these memberships were used to sell homes in the surrounding developments.”

The suit asks for $2 million in damages from Huntington Beach Co., a Chevron subsidiary and Chevron Land & Development Co.

The club, with nearly 500 members and a one-time initiation fee of $25,000, has tennis facilities and a golf course. A public facility until 1984, SeaCliff is the only private country club and golf course in Huntington Beach and is used mostly by people who live in adjacent exclusive developments.

Although the Chevron land sale is not yet completed, if it closes, it would be one of the largest in recent California history. The 18,000 acres being sold include 2,000 acres in the master-planned community of Coto de Caza in Orange County and the 85-acre Torrey Pines Science Park in La Jolla.


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