Archives: Current Issues 2009


The City of San Diego and Fairbanks Country Club have not been able to resolve their disagreement over the Club’s alleged delinquent rental payments, and are going to mediation on November 4. 

The Country Club, which has a 60-year lease with the City for approximately 400 acres of public property, has refused to make rent payments allegedly due under the terms of their lease agreement with the City, since 2005.  That agreement, referred to as a sweetheart deal in an investigative report by the San Diego Union, allowed them to build and operate a private golf course and club house on 400 acres of public property rent free until memberships exceeded $25 million. 

According to the City Auditor, that occurred in 2003 and the Club is refusing to pay the required percentage of membership sales.  The rent will increase next year to also include a percentage of food receipts, beverage receipts and other revenues resulting in an estimated annual rent of over 1 million dollars a year according to the 2005 Union report.

The Friends began questioning the City’s lack of action regarding the delinquent payments several years ago.  After getting no response from either the Director of City Planning and Investment or the Mayor, we presented our concern before the City’s Natural Resources and Culture Committee in June.  They asked City staff to investigate and report back to them. 

At their July meeting a representative from the Department of Real Estate Assets reported they were in negotiations with the Club and expected the issue to be resolved.  At the September 9, 2009 meeting James Barwick, Director of Real Estate Assets, reported that their respective attorneys were going to mediation and had been assigned a professional mediator.  Later Mr. Barwick confirmed that the parties were using the Retired Judges Mediation Center, a full service San Diego County based civil mediation firm with offices in Del Mar.

Mediation, according to the Center, “is a confidential setting in which parties to a dispute, working with a professional mediator, settle their dispute privately.  Successful mediation allows the parties to avoid the trauma and extraordinary costs of litigation.”

As of December 2006, the Club was in arrears for almost $170,000.  A new Audit will be completed at the end of this year. The Friends thank the Natural Resources Committee: City Council members Donna Frye, Chair; Sherri Lightner, Carl DeMaio and Marti Emerald for getting staff to investigate and pursue the issue.