Two Saturdays ago, the Palm Springs-based Desert Sun ran a story about a once-great golf course fallen into disrepair:
It was one of the Coachella Valley's oldest courses, where famous golfers like former President Dwight Eisenhower and Rat Pack royalty Frank Sinatra once teed off against the spectacular views of Mount San Jacinto.
But several years ago the Palm Springs Country Club golf course shut down completely, amid plans by developers to replace the public 18-hole course with a new 450-home project. Those plans dissolved into financial troubles, and the property owner died. Residents in the separately owned gated community next door, Palm Springs Country Club, watched the course's water get shut off -- and the greens transform into a blighted, dusty tract of dunes, dying trees and a dilapidated clubhouse.
"It really used to be a beautiful place," Palm Springs Country Club resident Sal Cursincero said Tuesday, surveying what's left of the course and clubhouse. "I get sick every time I come down here. Look what they turned it into."
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On Friday, the paper ran a letter from one of the golf course's investors placing the blame for what's happened at the feet of Orange County State Assemblywoman Diane Harkey and her husband, Dan Harkey.
The course was bought up by Dan's Aliso Viejo-based Point Center Financial, which is currently in the midst of being sued by investors accusing it of being a ponzi scheme. We chronicled some of the mudslinging associated with the affair back in April. Now, there's mud being slung in the Desert Sun.
The investor's letter, below:
I sympathize with nearby residents about the decrepit condition of Palm Springs Country Club in the article by Marcel Honoré. It is a blight. I know, since I am one of the reluctant owners.
I and other investors in Point Center Financial have been fruitlessly trying to reason with owners Dan Harkey and his wife and officer in the company, Republican Assemblywoman Diane Harkey with no resolution. It is no wonder your reporter could not reach them for a comment.
The country club is typical of properties that once acquired, and hefty fees paid to PCF and the wealthy Harkeys, have been virtually abandoned.
No dividends have been paid to investors and our attempts at withdrawal of funds have been stonewalled. Often, taxes, fees, fines and upkeep have not been paid, much to our consternation.