High bidder eyes country club upgrades

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A Brookhaven native currently has the high bid for the purchaseof the Brookhaven Country Club.

Jeff Wilson, 42, the former owner of Wilson Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge,confirmed Tuesday he is the holder of the present high bid of$621,000 for the property, which includes an 18-hole golf course,tennis courts, swimming pool and clubhouse.

However, competing bids may be made until June 15, said JosephJ. Luzinski, an associate with Development Specialists of Miami.Any competing bid would need to start at $646,000 and include termsthat are at least equal to those of Wilson’s bid.

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Because the property is part of a class-action lawsuitsettlement brought against former owner Bernie Ebbers by investorswho lost billions of dollars when WorldCom collapsed in 2002,Development Specialists is attempting to secure the highestreimbursement possible. Each new high bid opens a new time periodfor investors to top the previous bid.

Wilson said barring a competing bid he would be ready to closeon the property soon after the bid is approved June 19.

“I am moving forward now like I own it and preparing as best Ican. I’ll be ready,” he said. “My goal is to continue to operate itas a country club and maybe use some new ideas to freshen it up abit. I don’t intend to tear up any greens or subdivide it.”

Wilson said he would like to see the club return to the glorydays that he remembers as a child.

“When I was younger, as a kid, I went out there every day duringthe summer in my swimming trunks with golf clubs and a racket,” hesaid. “I would be there all day. I don’t see anyone doing thatanymore. I don’t see the activity there I used to.”

One of his projects, Wilson said, would be to see what could bedone to increase membership at the club.

“I know lately they’ve had some dropouts because of theuncertainty of what’s going to happen,” he said. “I want to getcreative on some membership packages so that it fits people’sschedules better.”

Wilson said he has several ideas on what he would like to doimprove the club facilities, but declined to elaborate on them. Hesaid he could be outbid, but the main reason he didn’t want toreveal them is because they are only ideas at the moment and therehas been no research into their feasibility.

However, he said that while the golf course needs a littleattention, the clubhouse “looks pretty bad” and would likely be thefirst area for improvements.

“They just redid the tennis courts. They’re nice,” he said.