Thursday, March 8, 2018

Guest View: Mike Zinkin ~ Troon enters the Circle of Deceit

In yesterday’s article, “Oro Valley Government Lies to the Citizens” we offered numerous instances in which the Town Staff lied to the citizens in order to paint a rosy picture of what would happen if the Town purchased the El Conquistador Country Club with the intent to turn it into a Community Center for Oro Valley residents. Today’s article discusses how Troon also lied in order to seal the deal.

During the December 17, 2014 Town Council discussion on the El Conquistador purchase, it was a given that Troon would hold the management contract for golf, tennis, food and beverage. The purchase agreement with HSL Properties mandated that Troon must be the management company. Troon became part of the "pitch" that perpetuated the lies that Town Staff was giving the Council.

Here’s what Troon told the Council
Troon told the Council that their projections showed that in FY 2015/16, the Town would incur a $1,169,842 loss. In reality we lost $2,567,385. (Troon’s projection was off by $1,397,543).

Troon also stated that in FY 2016/17, we would lose $637,517. In reality, we lost $2,512,938. (Troon’s projection was off by $1,875,421).

Troon further stated that in In FY 2017/18, we were only going to lose $151,120. As of December 2017, we have already lost $1,257,785. (Troon’s projection is already off by $1,106,665).

Additionally, Troon stated that in FY 2018/19, the Town was going to MAKE $217,049. Keep in mind these numbers do not include the needed capital improvements we discussed yesterday because those improvements are the Town’s responsibility, not Troon's.

So far, Troon's projections have been off by over $4.3 million.

[Below is the slide showing Troon’s projections from 2015 through 2019. Click to enlarge.]

During the first year of Troon's contract with the Town, they admitted their error in the projections and offered to reimburse the Town for their last 3 months of management fees ($36,000) which the Town gladly accepted. This has not happened again. Troon continues to misrepresent the truth, and, more important, they continue to get praised by the Council. With this trail of untruths, how does Troon keep their job?

To sum up the last two postings:
• In order to please the Council majority, Staff lied to present a rosy picture of the HSL purchase.
• Staff did not even budget their own projections for capital outlay.
• Troon, in concert with Staff, made outrageous projections about golf revenues.

More lies on the horizon?
The current Town Manager, Mary Jacobs, has now inherited this mess. Her idea is to continue 36 holes of golf despite millions in losses and to incur a debt service to make up for all the previous lies. She has never considered discontinuing golf or at least reducing it to an 18-hole course in order to stop the bleeding. Remember, the Town Manager works for the Council majority and it’s in her best interest to tell them what they want to hear. So…will she also lie in order to keep her job?

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Mike Zinkin has a Bachelor’s degree in history and government from the University of Arizona and a Master’s degree in Social and Philosophical Foundations of Education from California State University, Northridge. He was a commissioned ensign in the United States Navy Reserve in 1969. He worked as an Air Traffic Controller for 30 years. He and his wife moved to Oro Valley after retiring in 1998. Mike served on the Oro Valley Development Review Board from 2005-2009, the Board of Adjustment from 2011-2012, and the Town Council from 2012-2016. During his time on council, he was named as one of 23 Leadership Fellows for the National League of Cities University, he was a member of the National League of Cities Steering Committee for Community and Economic Development, and a member of the Arizona League of Cities Budget and Economic Development Committee.