The Huntersville, N.C., club was abruptly shut down and locked up for nonpayment of taxes on July 2, in what the N.C. Department of Revenue is calling a “last resort” after judgments of $64,990 and $128,879 for the IRS went unpaid. Jeff Silverstein, owner of Carolina Trail Golf Partners, the club’s parent company, said the closure is a “misunderstanding,” and that “everything’s up to date.”
Birkdale Golf Club in Huntersville, N.C., was abruptly shut down and locked up for nonpayment of taxes on July 2, the Charlotte (N.C.) Observer reported.
Court records show Birkdale Golf Club hasn’t paid judgments of $64,990 to the N.C. Department of Revenue and $128,879 to the Internal Revenue Service, the Observer reported.
Tax liens and court filings show the club and its parent company have been in financial trouble for months. The course is being sued by lenders for unpaid debts and by the Birkdale Homeowners Association for allegedly letting the course fall into disrepair. The course’s parent company, Carolina Trail Golf Partners, paid workers more than $750,000 in back wages in January after the U.S. Department of Labor investigated its pay practices, the Observer reported.
Jeff Silverstein, owner of the Carolina Trail golf courses, said Birkdale Golf Club will reopen Wednesday. Silverstein said the company is current with its taxes and that Tuesday’s closure—which included locksmiths changing dozens of locks and police officers blocking the doors—was a misunderstanding, the Observer reported.
“There was a missed payment, and we’re wiring them the money,” Silverstein said in a phone interview. “Everything’s up to date. It’s not a problem.”
Trevor Johnson, a spokesman for the N.C. Department of Revenue, said the golf club was closed after a civil warrant was issued Tuesday morning. “The closure is a last resort,” he said.
Company officials have been in talks with the Department of Revenue about unpaid taxes for some time, Johnson said. The club will remain shut down, he said, until the taxes have been paid, the Observer reported.
The taxes the company owes the IRS have also been paid, Silverstein said. When asked about the federal liens, he said he has proof that he has paid off the taxes and that Mecklenburg County’s records are out of date, the Observer reported.
The company’s troubles also extend to local taxes. According to an email by Mecklenburg Assistant County Manager Dena Diorio to county officials, The Tradition, Highland Creek, Charlotte Golf Links, Skybrook and Birkdale courses owe a combined total of $54,895 in delinquent business property taxes, and Charlotte Golf Links and Skybrook owe a combined $137,714 in real estate taxes. The county has considered foreclosing on the courses, Diorio wrote. The owner has promised to pay all the taxes by Aug. 20. All of those courses are members of the Carolina Trail golf group, the Observer reported.
Golfer Rick Best thought it was a prank Tuesday afternoon when he saw the “no trespassing” sign on the door at the Birkdale clubhouse. Police officers turned him away, the Observer reported.
Best, who pays $1,100 a year for his membership, plays golf at the Arnold Palmer-designed course almost every other day, he said. He had a round scheduled with a few friends Tuesday and called them from the parking lot to tell them it wouldn’t be taking place, the Observer reported.
Mark Bodo said he put down $6,000 in cash to have his daughter’s wedding at the club this fall. The club offered him a $1,000 discount if he paid up front in cash, the Observer reported.
“If I would’ve known about this, I wouldn’t have done it,” Bodo said.
The Birkdale Golf Club faces other lawsuits alleging unpaid debts and poor property maintenance, and its parent company has faced scrutiny over unpaid wages, the Observer reported.
• Court records show the Birkdale club is being sued by PNC Equipment Finance to repossess $240,000 worth of maintenance equipment and monetary damages of $232,613. Another of Silverstein’s properties, Skybrook Golf Club in Huntersville, is being sued by PNC Equipment Finance for equipment worth $200,000 and damages of $158,681. The lawsuits were both filed last month in federal court in Charlotte and are pending, the Observer reported.
• The Birkdale Homeowners Association filed a legal action in Mecklenburg County Superior Court last month against Birkdale Golf Club for allegedly letting the property fall into disrepair. According to the complaint, the golf club had failed to maintain the siding and roof on the clubhouse and pavilion, a retaining wall and paint on the property.
Silverstein told the Observer that the conflict with the HOA has been resolved but did not provide specifics.
• In January, the U.S. Department of Labor announced that Carolina Trail Golf Partners had paid $758,465 worth of back wages to employees after an investigation at Charlotte-area golf clubs. Employees were being issued paychecks five to six weeks late, the Department of Labor said, and not being paid for overtime.
On Tuesday, two Birkdale Golf Club employees who asked not to be identified said there are still problems with receiving paychecks on time. Best, the golfer, said he hears complaints “all the time” from employees who receive bad paychecks, the Observer reported.
Silverstein denied those accusations, saying all employees are being paid on time. “They are totally up to date on payroll,” Silverstein said.
At Birkdale, members such as Bob Cooper wonder when the issues will be resolved, the Observer reported.
“This thing should have been the crown jewel of the area,” Cooper said. “It’s such a nice piece of property.”