City is way over par at Old Avalon

Last year, the City of Warren evicted the operator of Old Avalon Golf Course because he owed so much back rent.

If the city had allowed Old Avalon Golf LLC and its owner, John Kouvas, to keep operating the course without paying any rent, Warren taxpayers would be better off today.

That’s because the city has spent at least $65,000 maintaining the course that has been closed since the eviction. The city has failed to sell or lease Old Avalon.

Fail is the word that can be applied to many aspects of Warren’s golf course ownership.

Nearly a decade ago, Warren failed when city officials used the course to carry out political corruption. Indictments and imprisonment resulted.

Since 2006, Warren failed to enforce its own contract with the course operator, who by 2012 owed $320,000 in back rent.

Then, suddenly, in October, Warren Mayor Doug Franklin and Safety Service Director Enzo Cantalamessa decided it was time to evict. But they have since failed to improve the situation.

In fact, it’s worse. While Kouvas was skipping rent payments, he was handling routine maintenance and making hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of upgrades to the property. Kouvas said those upgrades meant he didn’t have to pay on the lease. He filed a lawsuit against the city.

Now Warren taxpayers have been paying for the routine upkeep and will be on the hook for expensive upgrades that Kouvas would have made this year. Taxpayers are also on the hook to defend the city against Kouvas’ lawsuit. On top of that, the city is paying $31,080 in property taxes; the course is in Howland.

Warren officials should not allow a breach of contract, therefore, eviction was appropriate. However, time is money. The biggest failure is in not securing a deal to either keep the course open or sell the property.