“Golf course company in lawsuit: Sanford lied 90 years ago”

by Walter Olson on September 22, 2011

“The city of Sanford [Florida] is in court — again — because the private company that manages its Mayfair Country Club golf course wants out of its 20-year contract, accusing the city of a 90-year-old lie. Maece Taylor Inc., which rescued and revived the course four years ago after the city had a falling-out with its previous operator, says its deal with the city is invalid because city officials lied about who designed the course in the 1920s.” [Orlando Sentinel]

{ 10 comments }

1 Michael Burke 09.22.11 at 12:15 pm

If a state actor makes a false representation in a contract, what should the aggrieved party do?

If we want to have a grown-up society, we should embrace the proposition of making governments pay for their mischief. No immunities / no free passes from the judiciary. Ever.

2 Richard A Harrison 09.22.11 at 3:51 pm

Lease signed in 2007. Do the words “due diligence” ring a bell here? Geez.

3 William Nuesslein 09.23.11 at 5:56 am

The course was actually designed by Edgar Degas. See
http://overlawyered.com/2011/09/treading-with-care-in-art-authentication/ below.

4 Patrick 09.23.11 at 6:10 am

If we want to have a grown-up society, we should embrace the proposition of making governments pay for their mischief.

Governments never “pay for their mischief”. Taxpaying citizens who usually have no connection to the misconduct pay damage awards against municipalities. A grown-up would consider this before abolishing all forms of governmental immunity.

5 E-Bell 09.23.11 at 8:35 am

What difference does it make? I’m not a golfer, so maybe I don’t get it. Do golfers make their decision on where to play based on who designed the course?

I used to work in Sanford; I don’t see very many people traveling there for a golf outing, regardless. I would think that there are a lot more high-profile golf destinations out there, but what do I know?

6 Ron Miller 09.23.11 at 8:51 am

Well right, Patrick. Then the taxpayers ostensibly hold the public officials accountable when they and there minions cause mistakes. That is the system we have – taxpayers are ultimately the government. But really, who should pay for the loss? The injured party or the taxpayers? (I’m not talking about this case, just generally.)

7 No Name Guy 09.23.11 at 11:27 am

Is the fact of who, or who didn’t, design the course 90 years ago material to the deal / contract?

Nope. Nothing in the linked story indicates that this fact was a material point that induced the company in question to enter into the deal with the City.

The company wants out of the deal since they’re losing their shirts on it. They made a bad business decision and are looking to wiggle off the hook. Sorry guys – you made a deal. Suck it up.

8 gitarcarver 09.23.11 at 1:55 pm

I agree that the company should have performed its own search and due diligence into who designed the course.

That being said, it does matter to golfers who designed a course just as it matters who painted a portrait. Playing a golf course designed by a legend is akin to saying “here is my Rembrandt…”

How that matters to the bottom line is a golf course has only a limited amount of rounds of golf to allocate. A course by a famous designer will allow the management company to charge more per round, just as a Picasso sells for more than a painting by me.

9 Patrick 09.23.11 at 5:30 pm

Ron, that was aimed at the comment it quoted. You would consider the question without calling those who hold different views a society of children.

When I don’t represent governments, I view tort awards against them indulgently. And 42 1983 is my favorite federal statute.

10 Ron Miller 09.23.11 at 8:36 pm

Patrick, I don’t disagree with you. It is not really my preferred choice of words. But, hey, it is a comment section. Ya gotta tolerate a little hyperbole.

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