Founder & Editor
On May 2nd at 10:00AM, the City of Coral Gables took possession of the Coral Gables Country Club, as agreed to in the Commission approved settlement agreement with Coral Grand, LLC.
Sources who were present said the process was “seamless and amicable.”
Shortly after the transfer, a sign went up at the Club stating that the club was “under new ownership.” The proper term should have been “under new management,” as the City has always been and remains its owner. The sign added that the Country Club would be closed for the entire month of May.
Gables Insider reached out to City Hall at the time of the transfer and did not receive a response from the City until after 6:00PM. The response was a copy of a letter sent by City Manager Peter Iglesias to 348 neighbors of the club.
Letter From Iglesias To Residents
The letter reads, ” As a neighbor of the Coral Gables Golf and Country Club, I believe it is important to give you an update regarding the facility. Today the city began operating this iconic and historic property and we are currently conducting a complete building assessment to determine repair and maintenance needs. Our goal is to reopen as soon as possible. Following our assessment, termite tenting will take place which will have a slight impact on the current roofing project. Additional repairs and improvements including pool and landscaping are also planned which will enhance and beautify the facility. We are also pleased to announce that the current leased fitness equipment will be maintained until the new state-of-the-art Technogym equipment arrives. We are working with current fitness instructors to provide temporary access to the War Memorial Youth Center fitness center so that they may be able to continue to serve clients. Two open houses are planned for later this month, we look forward to welcoming you. Please visit www.coralgables.com/CoralGablesGolfandCountryClub to review membership opportunities. Should you need additional information please reach out to [email protected].”
Lies And Rumors
For weeks, there have been rumors circulating at City Hall that City Manager Peter Iglesias was looking to revive the negotiations for an outside operator for the Coral Gables Country Club. Iglesias had been laying the groundwork by reiterating the numbers from a proposal by Barreto Holdings, claiming it would cost the City $5 million to get the Country Club operational.
However, the reality seems to be far from Iglesias’ lies to residents and the Commission. In fact, sources inform Gables Insider that the only thing the City will be doing to “fix” the Club is a routine termite tenting, after which the Club will be ready to reopen its doors to the public.
The City was able to keep all furniture and gym equipment, so that no closure of the athletic club or the rental spaces will be necessary.
Iglesias’ New Secret Deal
This evening, Gables Insider was able to confirm that the Manager has been in secret negotiations with Barreto Holdings, for the second time this year.
Following community uproar when Barreto Holding’s plans for the club were first made public by Gables Insider, the Commission made it clear to residents that the Club would be managed and operated by the City’s Community Recreation Department.
As you will recall, Barreto Holding’s initial proposal called for the development of a steakhouse, exclusive memberships with a $12,000 initiation charge and $950 per month fee, and a minimum 15 months closure for construction. (Click here to see Barreto Holding’s initial proposal).
Residents’ opinions were taken into account by the Commission, who informed the Manager and promised residents that the Club would remain as it is today, affordable to all, with no restaurant and without a closure.
In fact, residents were led to believe that recent litigation against Coral Grand, LLC was done with the purpose of limiting the closure of the Club and ensuring continuity and a smooth transition. The accusations made by the City in its legal motions against Coral Grand, LLC, at Iglesias’ behest, were never corroborated. Actually, the City paid Coral Grand, LLC a settlement of $295,000 avoiding an evidentiary hearing that would have required the City provide evidence to corroborate Iglesias’ accusations.
Now, Iglesias, as reported last week has made it a point to go against the desires of residents and the Commission. From the forceful push for the controversial Mobility Hub, to the dismissive behavior towards members of the Commission during Commission meetings, to his backroom deal for Burger Bob’s without Commission knowledge, Iglesias has been testing the resolve of his bosses on the City Commission every step of the way.
He has decided to defy the desires of the Commission and of residents once again, while pursuing his own plan to bring an outside vendor to run the Club.
The question remains, will the Commission continue to allow for Iglesias to deceive them and residents of the City? Prior Commissions threatened action against City Managers due to similar issues, which brought the resignations of Iglesias’ two immediate predecessors.
Gables Insider has learned that the Country Club management will be discussed at the May 10th City Commission meeting.
Gables Insider reached out to Rodney Barreto for comment, but he could not be reached prior to publication. After this article was published, Barreto replied to Gables Insider stating that his “attorney requested a meeting” in order to discuss “a variety of things. We do a lot of business in the Gables and are looking to do more.”