Kakouris Resigns As Country Club Director, City Appoints Mitchell Zuriarrain As New Director

Ariel Fernandez

Founder & Editor
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Less than five months after taking the role of Director of the Coral Gables Country Club, Candy Kakouris has resigned.

Kakouris had been appointed at the end of July, transitioning from her management role at The Club at the Biltmore Hotel.

In her resignation letter dated December 2nd, Kakouris stated that “it does not appear that I am an appropriate fit for the job for which I was recruited, and I do not see a path toward fulfilling the vision we first shared.”

The City has taken the opportunity to promote from within, promoting Administrative Operation Supervisor, Mitchell Zuriarrain to the role of Division Director for the Coral Gables Golf & Country Club.

Zuriarrain has long been a dedicated talent in the Community Recreation Department. He has spearheaded numerous projects successfully and done so with humility and little recognition.

In April of 2022, he was recognized by the City Commission as Coral Gables’ Employee of the Month for the month of February.

In a statement to Gables Insider, City of Coral Gables Communications Director Martha Pantin stated, “Candy Kakouris resigned her position and Mitchell Zuriarrain, a longtime member of the Community Recreation Department was appointed Division Director for the Coral Gables Golf & Country Club. He most recently served as Administrative Operations Supervisor for the department.”


18 thoughts on “Kakouris Resigns As Country Club Director, City Appoints Mitchell Zuriarrain As New Director

  1. This whole thing started when the club was set on fire and the board at the time just didn’t know what they were doing and destroyed the place with a larger bar and if I remember no kitchen. Then they decided to catering was the best option bringing in food for different events. It’s a same the hey day of this club was iconic my late parents wedding reception was held there, my debutante party was there and I grew up in the club. I wish the best for the club and its future endeavors.

  2. If he brings a good reputable Basque fellow country man as Chef the place may succeed

  3. I worked at the CG Country Club back when I was in high school and a chap named Mr Grasse was the general manager (boy did we pull pranks on him!). I bused and waited tables and took orders from the head chef who was an old Cuban with inside knowledge on how to make the best prime rib anywhere in Miami. As a lifelong resident of CG, born and raised, I’ve seen the changes. The club membership back then was completely different than today, mostly old fogeys and such with their appended younger family members, and it reflected a social cohesion that is no longer possible in the City Beautiful due to massive social and demographic changes. The City can try and keep this club going, but I think it will continue to fail even if operated by expensive pros. I say the property be repurposed for something else befitting and benefiting the community. Maybe a community center for the elder? A museum? A Golf Center? I don’t know. All I know is the days of country clubs are almost gone, unless you have a cohort of moneyed people willing to pay top dollar for private ownership. And for that, you have Riviera.

  4. Good luck Mitch! He will do a fine job doing exactly as told- he has experience in doing that (not a knock, just reality). It doesn’t mean he will be supported when things go off the rails….and they will because city hall will dictate how to do the job and stay silent when it fails. All the best Mitch. You are a class act and dedicated employee. You deserve the opportunity for professional growth and advancement.

  5. I wish the best of luck to Mitchel Zuriarrain and regret it did not work for Candy Kakouris.

    When Candy was recruited for the Coral Gables Golf and Country Club, she was the Director of The Club at the Biltmore Hotel, and was excellent. She had a wonderful rapport with the members. She was very excited with the new position, had the experience, and many ideas to improve the Country Club. It is a shame it did not work out!

  6. Maybe the idea is to run the club to the ground, tear it down and sell it to the developers so they can do what they do best, build another monstrosity with multiple floors, minimal parking at outrageous prices, with of course, a couple of high-end restaurants with $40.00 pasta and $125.00 steaks.
    Just saying…..

  7. Years ago I worked as a market analyst and membership consultant for country clubs and resorts around the country. Private, semi-private, resort and city-owned clubs are not the same. The members and other constituents have different needs, and how the entity is designed and run needs to reflect this, as long as it’s clear what the goal is. I’m unsure if the City has requested help from experienced consultants to provide sound guidance, but it seems as if some professional – and external – help is needed. I’ll share the expert’s name and contact information with some of our elected officials, as my old boss could definitely help. And as a member, I’d love to see this institution thrive!

  8. Bobby the correct spelling is mishandled not miss handled or were you biased against the “miss” who resigned?

    No one can better describe what the future of the club should be than Mr. Burr!

  9. Id give the city a year to operate the club and determine they can run it profitably. Otherwise they need to look at outsourcing it to an established property manager with experience in entertainment and community activities.

  10. Mr Burr said it perfectly… CG city hall needs a real concrete plan! let professionals run the venue and not play politics with our city assets. The people are not ignorant, we can see how things are being miss handled in the city beautiful.

  11. As a member i find this to be concerning. I haven’t seen yet much of the social gatherings that were promised while seeing the club still struggle with the upkeep. I wish the best of luck to the new director.

  12. That project is a money pit, With no end in sight remodel both places that’s the country club and golf course and let professionals Run it , the city needs to stay out of it

  13. The larger question remains… what is the vision for the next era of this edifice and this centerpiece of social life in Coral Gables?

    There was a time when the city’s country club was an essential element in the fabric of the Gables lifestyle. It later devolved into a mere shadow of its once illustrious charm, simply catering to events, soulless, transactional, benefiting a private operator, without concern for local civic groups and the proud traditions of the past.

    Let’s reconsider and reimagine the very best scenario for the grand dame of social interaction among the families of Coral Gables. How do we attract this next generation of young adults with facilities and programming expertly considered for a successful future? Not an easy answer, but one that must be engaged and carefully considered.

    It’s not just a building, a property, an asset. It has potential, once again, to serve a higher purpose as a critical element in a brighter future for residents.

    Let’s ensure this rough-hewn diamond in the Crown Jewels of our little city shines brightly once again, adds value and luster to our living standard, and properly reflects the intentions and purpose for which it was originally designed and intended.

  14. Government should govern and not attempt to govern a club. The attempt to micro manage the club Thru government doesn’t work. Go back to hiring a professional management company for best results.

  15. City Hall should stick to its only job: managing a local government.
    Private enterprise manages a county club.
    Government and private enterprise are worlds apart.
    City Hall is wasting taxpayers’ money by going into another world and trying to manage a country club.
    City Hall will fail.

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